Monthly Archives: December 2009

>Gifts

>It is always very difficult to think of good gifts to give my parents because they already get for themselves everything they need throughout the year. (They do the same for me and my brother, so our Christmases tend to be on the simple side.)

Don’t I do the same thing? Maybe it’s “hard” for God to give me good gifts because I am so hellbent on getting everything for myself. How did I get to be so bad at letting others, God most of all, take care of me? [Answer to that is another post entirely…] I think that’s why it’s important to be poor in spirit, to more easily allow room for God’s generosity…and I think that’s one of the many lessons God has waiting for me in missions…

Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Advertisements

>Believing, Seeing, Thinking

>Apparently God will not let me get away with not posting for another month, because in the space of about an hour I read not only what I’m going to write about below, but also this from My Utmost For His Highest: “If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to reexpress some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else.” Well, that’s clear enough for me!

In Habits of the Mind, James Sire quotes Miguel de Unamuno:

“…if there exists in a man faith in God joined to a life of purity and moral elevation, it is not so much the believing in God that makes him good, as the being good, thanks to God, that makes him believe in Him. Goodness is the best source of spiritual clear-sightedness.” (emphasis mine)

I love this! After all, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8) This is not advocating a legalistic, self-driven view of salvation, but a simple and powerful reminder that God’s holiness simply cannot be seen by unholy eyes! I have heard before that believing is seeing, but now I understand that doesn’t mean we have to delude ourselves through faith into seeing what isn’t there, but rather that faith is the only way we can see what is there.

The goodness Unamuno speaks of is not mere action, but also thought and emotion. All of these have to be turned in a good direction if I am to see clearly. I can usually (though not always) keep my actions under control, but I struggle a lot to discipline my mind for Christ. How many times have my sinful thoughts and attitudes forced God to turn away, and yet I blame Him for being distant! And of course it’s not my goodness that summons God to me, but enables me to see more of His glory than I would otherwise.

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is Philippians 4:6-7, but I see now that verse 8 needs to be my focus for the next however-long-it-takes-for-me-to-get-this:

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I don’t know if that made any sense whatsoever. But I thought it was cool and worth sharing (unlike most of my thoughts), and it’s certainly nice to be intellectually excited again.

>fear of bliss

>I seem to have developed the unfortunate habit of only posting once a month. (Actually, it’s just a manifestation of an existing habit of withdrawing from the world when I’m having a hard time.) I am recovering from a not insignificant meltdown precipitated by my long-standing and profound fear of…joy.

Just when I was closer than ever to the teacher and missionary God has called me to be, I had an involuntary Jonah reflex, but instead of hating the people I’m supposed to minister to, I turned on myself as a way of subconsciously running from God. It’s very strange because it’s not like I even wanted to, and in fact I would be having a perfectly good day, then suddenly I am warring against my own body with unprecedented violence. I finally scared myself straight last week, but I’m afraid that will only last so long…

I’m sad because I still don’t trust God enough to give me good things in abundance. I’m sad that I am still, at some level, tensed up waiting for the next shoe to drop. I’m sad that even though I’ve forgiven the person for leaving, I haven’t quite forgiven God for letting him go, and that fear of loss still clouds my vision. And I hate that I’ve given the enemy this weapon to use against me when I’m so close to being free.

“Sometimes I feel it’s all just too big to be true
I sabotage myself for fear of what my bigness could do”
-Alanis Morissette, “Fear of Bliss”

But I do have hope that this will pass. I don’t know how or when, but I do know that God doesn’t want this for me, and maybe I can come to want better for myself.

[edit] I also realized that even though I don’t trust God nearly as well as I’d like to, I do trust Him enough so that my doubt doesn’t scare me quite so much as it used to. It’s comforting to think that, despite it all, I am still on my way to keeping God in His proper place and me in mine. [/edit]