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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Kicking against the goads

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. Acts 26:14 There are some verses in Scripture, which need no further explaining. This is one of them. I have no idea what a goad actually is, but I have every confidence that I have met one and kicked it.

Yesterday, I woke up 45 minutes late because my alarm radio was mistakenly turned too low to hear.

When the house emerged later from its own cocooned sleep, I found Andrew in wet pajamas and soaked bed sheets.

As I sat down, after the morning drop-off, to format and finish two birthday photo albums (for Audrey, who turns eleven next week, and for the twins, who turned four in January), the computer slowed to an interminable crawl while it transferred pictures from one photo library to another.

Dared to a showdown, I sorted seasonal clothes and organized legos. For every corner I tidied, the twins worked their devilish destruction elsewhere.

The afternoon was spent with laundry baskets, and for dinner, I served fish and brussel sprouts. The rolls I had meant as a consolation prized, I burned.

And when I return home this morning for the solitary hour I have to myself before picking the twins up from school, I am greeted by a puzzle strewn across the living room flour and other miscellaneous debris over which I hope not to trip. My desk is littered with dirty dishes and unsorted mail.

It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

Today, I remind myself that it’s not a perfect life I mean to live, but a surrendered one. Holiness grows in interruptions and chaos and mess, at every occasion when life stubbornly refuses to comply my demands.  Every goad is grace, every obstacle the good and necessary reminder I am not in charge.  It is my invitation to give up believing that I’ve got anything covered. When you’ve kicked the goads unsuccessfully, it’s time to try getting on your knees.

It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

I don’t write here only on days when I the winds of inspiration blow. I suppose it’s best that way: we all need reminded that God is not looking for the people who manage life well without Him. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17. Goads make me feel helpless, and I know that’s ultimately the best thing of all.

It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

I am Jesus.