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Monday, January 15, 2007

(Wo)man Cannot Live by Strokes Alone

Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr

“The important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little. If this machine gave you the truth immediately, you would not recognize it,” Ursula K. LeGuin

There's an odd sense of loneliness in living life human. Even when the facts are contradictory- being part of a community, family, and being engaged in meaningful relationships. At the end of the day, its you that you go to bed with, wrestle thoughts with, search for meaning with. And at the end of this life, You alone meet with your maker to have some one on one time talking through the twists and turns you and He navigated during the whole "human body" part of this life.

Society is full of tips on how to boost our self-confidence and feelings of significance. Every January is as predictable as the one which preceded it- lose that weight, and store that stuff. At Wal-Mart yesterday, I found myself titling each center aisle as we passed them; "lose that weight", "brush those teeth", "clean your ears", "organize your stuff", "buy chocolate- (Valentine's is just around the corner)".

In the New Testament, Paul tells us to "forget about self-confidence.... Cultivate God-confidence". I like the sounds of that, and I've been meditating on it for some time now. I'm thinking that in order to develope that type of confidence, a gal has to spend some time getting to know the heart of God. Its hard to love someone with your heart and soul and mind if you're pretty confused about who they are. So, I've begun by assuming that God is good. There's plenty of evidence to the contrary. I am not always rescued from pain and ugliness, nor are millions of people who live in real suffering and lack. I won't pretend to have any answers for any of that, but like a stubborn child, I will insist that God is good.

I love the analogy Paul uses about people being parts of a body, with "all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.... think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. You are Christ's body-- that's who you are! Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything."

Once I fully and actually believe this truth, and learn to listen more clearly to the small, still voice of God, I anticipate that my craving for human validation will decrease. Self-confidence will be replaced by something more permanent, something with roots. Longer strides will be taken, less time spent checking over my shoulder for others shaking their heads in disapproval, or nodding affirmatively. No holding back due to doubt or fear.

Then I'll have a clearer picture of what it means to "Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it- because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you."

*thanks to ME for those quotes

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you."

I needed to hear that today...

shelley said...

Nicely put my friend!

Ruth said...

today shiloh and i gave her grandparents (my parents) PEDICURES compliments of my homemade "spa". :) that was the gift i was given to give. and it was grrrrrrreat.

Rosa said...

I miss you Joyce. Love Rosa....

lettuce said...

I like the LeGuin quote (one of my favourite writers) - though there needs to be finding as well as seeking.

And your final words are a gift to me.

Joyce said...

letty- I meant to say so in my post, but by then I was banging my fist on the pulpit, and I forgot. I also had a vague sense of discomfort with the idea of not finding, but I just liked the idea of searching diligently.

it's a gong show... said...

You are a wise woman Joyce...enjoyed this post a lot.

B

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration, Joyce.x

Anonymous said...

Joyce,
I have copied and forwarded your post to one of the pastors at our church (that would be my dh).
It is perfect timing- he was given the topic of self-esteem and he needs to "meditate" (sometimes he has another term for this) about this for Sunday morning. He's a might frustrated. Watch out, he might call you in to speak! I'd like that though.
-H

Anonymous said...

God confidence...love that!!!
es

Anonymous said...

I came to say thank you for your words on my blog, I am leaving with words echoing my hearts desire.

So thank you and thank you.

- krina