The Dignity of Disclosure
What a cool concept.
I love hearing stories about someone’s take on something. That’s why I love to read your blogs. I know what you do most of the day. I see you. It’s pretty much the same most days for all of us. But I don’t know what you see, perceive, hear or come to understand during that day. That’s why I so love to hear from you directly. I could guess – I know many of your personalities and presuppositions pretty well. I might be right. But the fun is that you guys surprise me in what you see, hear and write.
And I believe that it is so important that you hear yourself – what comes out of you. I think God likes the newness and the surprise. But I think He encourages us to talk to Him so that we can hear ourselves as well. Part of the disclosure issue is for us. I’m not sure that we can grow to much without processing our thoughts and perceptions. The first step in that is to pay attention. I cannot tell you how much better all of us pay attention to life now.
We have missed a great deal of wonder and joy and living…just bumbling along. No more!
Ideas, mindsets that color all that we encounter and perceive. We all have them. Our minds are all tooled by our by experience and the language capabilities we possess, whether those be verbal or analytical. There is no such thing as an unbiaseded opinion.
I have to allow God to show me any and all my presuppositions that are set against God’s mind and heart, against His reality.
I’ve gotten so much better at telling God how I feel – not just intellectually delineating the particular sentiment, but “going there” with God. Knowing how I feel and feeling it full on are two different things, two different processes. The first matters because feelings mask themselves as known things. Sometimes God is working on a new hard place in my heart and when He presses on it, I feel pain – pain that is similar to something that I have felt before…but it is not always the same. Anger and contempt are not the same. One is a reaction and another is a planned posture. One is global, the other very specific. God is after specifics – they are rooted in a selfish attitude and deception and usually fear. Sometimes to get to the specific thing – that root – we have to start at the general place of anger. Talking to God about the anger, the thoughts that accompany it – the fears that surge under it – can get us to a place of tenderness that can hear His diagnosis – “It’s right here.” The lie, specific, must be exposed and neutralized or overcome with truth. Without such processes in vulnerability, the root remains. Everyone knows what happens when you cut a weed and you don’t dislodge the root from the ground – the above ground plant comes back, right away, and the root keeps on taking ground unseen.
The very best times I have ever had in God, have been in this sometimes scary process of vulnerability. It is an awesome thing for someone, in this case God, to see your very worse, and still want to be there with you. We can do that for one another only when we know who someone is truly made to be – when we can see that beyond the ugliness of the process. God can do that so very well – because HE unlike us, always sees us as we really are to be. No, I don’t think He is unable to see where we are in the present, but like the parent of the terrible two year old, He can see past.
Dignity of Causality
Obviously, God has limited Himself in regard to our wills. We are still president in regard to our lives…and this world.
“The heavens are the LOrds. The earth He has given to the sons of man.” Psalm 115:16
This makes me tremble in many ways…It convicts my heart that God is not planning or going to bail us out. We have a call, a work to do. I believe that our doing it is more important than any other thing. We have to grow up into who we were created to be as humans. Ephesians says we, the Body, are to grow up into Christ, until we reach maturity in the faith. So…maybe it’s the process that grows us, not our presence in the “heavens” that God is focused upon. We are eternal in Him, so He has time and so do we. I don’t think God is in a hurry. Perhaps, He would rather achieved the goal of maturity of the Body. Just a thought.
Going home always puts me in a tailspin. God shows me things when I am there that I need to have here. God shows me things when I am there that need to stay there. Sometimes discerning which is which is hard. The miasma of such is upon me. I gained some things…some insight, some understanding…but that increase has not produced more clarity. I am groping to take it all in and be stretched without the skewing. The encounters with people, specific people who are also symbol to me, validated this new program of exercise and strength training. I hear God calling, “Come, come this way.” But it is a way not openly acknowledged in my present environs…though not entirely unknown, it seems unexplored and unfamiliar to many. But this way of perceiving, this angle of sight is necessary to who I am to be – to God’s dream for me. I am so trying to find ear for this holy thing and the others concurrently…I often begin to despise what is already gained…in expectation of the next season. I have to be careful…I sense my Athenian nature arising in me…so I heed Paul’s warning about loving the new for its own sake and I will remember that the wise man brings forth out of his treasure old and new.
God, please help me miss nothing and lose nothing.
In my thirty-third year, Molly and something else unplanned and unexpected began to stir in me. I hid the pregnancy a while…My parents were so worried about us having three kiddos already. I know that they thought it was not prudent nor practical. But just like Molly, who seemed to be product of divine breath, songs, lyric and literary works were stirred to life in me. All those inhalations in Mrs. Barton’s were finally being released. I taught myself guitar that year. I had to; I needed chord progressions to offer musicians as a base. Musicals and plays and all these wonderful and so inconvenient, holy things began rushing out…I couldn’t hold it back anymore. The baby was coming, regardless of my efforts to hide or cloak such. For about a year I wrote, by myself, and with collaborators of skill far beyond mine, for friends, for ministry projects, and for fun.
And then a storm struck and all was chaos for far too long…and I could not write… I could barely read…I was back to just trying to breathe as much as I could…
The summer of my tenth grade year Megan Thompson encouraged me to go to Student Council Camp with her at Berry College. I was up to go most anywhere with Megan, so I went. It was a God set-up all the way. I remember the feeling when my foot first hit the ground at Berry. Everything seemed to shimmer, like a lake disturbed. The place, the very grounds seemed alive. There was this motion, this other realmness. I looked around silently for agreement. Had I lost it? Some people seemed totally unaware of it…others betrayed a slight acknowledgement in their eyes and smile.
We did all kinds of team building stuff the first day, it was really fun. I loved the people on my team and our leaders. My roommate was a sweet girl from a county not too far from ours. I liked her. As we lay down to sleep she got her Bible out to read and asked if it was okay for her to keep her lamp on a minute or two. I had started reading through the Bible myself, no one required it, it just seemed a good idea to me. So, I got my own Bible out and started where I had left off. It was somewhere in John. When I began to read, this time, the words leapt off the page at me. It was alive, too. My heart raced…I looked to my roommate quietly reading. She was totally unaware of the earthquake within me. I read on until she reached for her light. Then I made myself close the Bible and try to sleep.
The next night we all had vespers at this old stone chapel. As we were about to enter the air, wind surged..it was if God was pressing, nearly shoving me forward.
The following night Cathy, a friend I’ll write more about later, sang…and shared…and then and things became clearer…And who these people were, so many at least, became clear. The leaders were pretty much all believers…incredible ones for their age. And so many of them were headed to UGA, to my town for the next four years. We became friends that summer and began to write one another…I even went down to visit them at St. Simons Island and to see all that God was doing there to prepare a generation of leaders in his Church, catholic.
Megan and I remained friends throughout high school. She didn’t push me along with God. There were people in place to do that for me now…people she introduced me to at Berry. She watched and loved me and continued to light the way for others to come near. She went off somewhere to college and then off again, I imagine, to serve someone else.