Sunday, November 1, 2009

A different art...

Much of our culture succeeds too often in molding its inhabitants into masterful Artisans of Trying.

Trying/striving in this worldly sense only succeeds in allowing us to:
-hide what we perceive to be flaws
-mask our insecurities only to give ourselves a false sense of worth
-outdo others' perceptions of who we are
-outdo our perceptions of ourselves
-one up the people around us
-smack on band-aids over wounds that need the exposure to heal

The danger in this type of living isn't so much the desire to be something or someone else; rather, it's the lack of understanding and conviction in who we already are--who we are made in and through Christ's love and redemption: new creations, justified, adopted sons and daughters of the King, heirs. 

Trying and striving are incredibly tiresome and draining. I liken this to what I wrote many blogs back--it's that tension that you feel in your gut when you can't be yourself around people. It's debilitating. There's no freedom there, and everything seems to be done in vain.

The shocking thing in the midst of all of this is how this manifests itself in the subtleties of my life. It's not at all blatant, others don't always notice it, and it's deeply personal. In fact, I often don't see this junk until it starts oozing in other places of my life.

I hate how I feel when I'm in the trying/striving mode; it's the result of many things, I'm sure. I perhaps am feeling off, not good enough or undervalued. It's in the very moments when I take my eyes off of Love and onto myself. My eyes then look through a faulty filter rather than the filter of the Perfect Lamb given on my behalf. How quickly my eyes shift! Someone mentioned this the other day in a conversation--it's like taking your eyes off one of those Magic Eye pictures. If you look away for even a split second, you lose the ability to decipher or see the image you're supposed to see. It doesn't take long to lose focus. Staring and being still enough to look intently upon that image--upon Him--requires discipline. 

Sometimes I feel as though my life is lived out in a fog of ADD, and I just want to be sedated. Therein lies the danger--masking an issue rather than countering it with something far more potent. I want to continue to learn a very different art--the art of being still.

Being still lends itself to:
-an awareness of our surroundings (esp. the needs of those around us)
-an environment where we can fight the lies that come about in chaos and hurried lives
-an understanding of our present state (maybe even the ability to cry out, "I need You!")
-the ability to reverently come before Him in a posture of worship
-appropriate perception of the greatness of God as we're not walking before him, but waiting on Him
-feeling what we need to feel, so that healing can come into those places of pain
-feeling what we need to feel, so that thanksgiving can be offered unto Him who is worthy
-knowing that HE is GOD

It's when we know that He is God that we live in a greater, fuller understanding of who we are. There--we find freedom to be who we are. There--we can worship. There--we can see Him.

There are moments when being still seems second nature and other times I suck at it big time. God knows I can't do it by myself--I've tried and that's when I see that I suck at it :). In my need and in my acknowledgment of it, there His strength facilitates room in my heart to simply be.

May we be inclined to lives of steadfastness and stillness--in times of suffering, joy and everything else that's in between so that we can see Him because He's worthy of our attention.

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