I just received mail from two of my favorite people. The first was a postcard announcing Lindsay's marriage to Alex (yay!!!) with the most adorable pictures of the two of them I've ever seen. The second was a letter from Maighdlin. If you have never received a letter from her, you should wish that you had. In it she writes about paying attention to what is being revealed "about Him, others, you, your calling, and His perfect plan for your life." What an important reminder for me-for all of us, really. As I am sure you have, I have been so busy with what's become my daily regimen--learning new material, acquiring knowledge, ruminating over specific ideas with other people, among other things--that I have scarce taken time to step back and truly contemplate life's bigger questions...
I remember Dr. Ury talking during the last fall revival about how as Christians, Jesus is our Reality. I had never heard this preached before but I took a liking to the precept. It seemed profound to me, but I was too "busy" to reflect on the implications of this statement. Reality, as it relates to philosophy, is defined as existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions. Thus, if Jesus is true reality, and if this definition really encompasses the nature of reality, then the Godhead does exist as absolute, self-sufficient, and not subject to human decisions or conventions. Does this hit anyone else like it does me? What mainly impresses on my mind is that if I really believed this to be true, there would be no place in my heart for insipid notions of self-sufficiency, subjective conclusions, or truth outside of God. The fact is that whether I believe God to be true or not, He is.
Application: Ugly as it may be, I have always had strong tendencies to want to control all things pertaining to me, from my present circumstances to my future. This desire contradicted what I knew in my head to be true about God: He died so that I might gain life where it was lost, that I might find freedom through Him, and in Him, a perfect plan purposed for my good. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 5:1; Jeremiah 29:11). For as long as I have had a personal relationship with God, there has been this dichotomous tension, almost as if I am wrestling God Himself for control over my life. What if Jesus became my overriding reality? What if I fully believed Him and His word to be true? I do not believe I would fight Him anymore for control because I would know in my heart that He really does have a future prepared for me, better than any I could plan myself.
What is it about God that you do not believe to be true? And how does it affect the way you live your life?
Once I acknowledge God as Reality, it becomes easier for me to accept my position and to shed any pretense I have before Him and others. Along with being busy has come the feeling of being thrown into this semester and into circumstances. Unbeknownst to me, it would prove the best time of my life! I have been thrown into this community of 43 students and 10 staff members. And as all of us were sort of forced into this close-knit community, we've had no other choice but to treat it as such. On the subject of community, we read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together. To my surprise, it's amazing what being in real community can do for you and others! (Who knew?!) As Proverbs 27:17 says, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." It has been a blessing. I will share more about community in an upcoming post.
As I said, seeing Him more accurately and acting with others as His body has given me proper (though far from perfect) perspective on my role in all of this. It amazes me that at points in time, I have valued myself more than others. Note: This is foolish. All that results from this is a skewed, self-absorbed mentality. Rather, you and I need other people to help us learn more about ourselves. In fact, I find that I learn most about myself when I realize I have just judged or disliked someone's personality, disposition, etc. I mean, what kind of pride must lie someone deep inside that would surface when I meet people with whom I automatically write off for no good reason? Ashamedly, I have identified this attitude in myself a few times, living in such close community. And thank God for grace. For helping me to understand. My heart needs to change; not them.
To address the last part of Maighdlin's letter, I am in the midst of things I've yet to sort through regarding my calling. Many questions pertaining to all of our futures have arisen through conversation and class, such as: What has He gifted you with? What are your natural abilities? What do you have a heart for? Does your career necessarily need to be your ministry? Would not the church function more properly if we as Christians took secular jobs and spent time after work doing the work of the church? Should not every area of our lives reflect our primary calling, which is to glorify God? As I said, many questions...much to sort through. But to bring it back around to the reality of Jesus:
"And why do you worry...? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" -Matthew 6:28-30
And the fact remains that whether I believe God to be true or not, He is.