December 21, 2011
I’ve noticed that I appreciate the intricacies of the seasons more and more as I get older. I think of glimpses like this as little presents from God tucked here and there to take my breath away--and also my attention away from things that are hard.
He does that other ways too. A few weeks ago I was reading Emmett Fox’s Sermon on the Mount. I got a hold of a chewy chunk-o-Scripture (Matthew 25 ~ the parable of the talents). The idea that “whoever has will be given more, even more than he needs, and whoever has not, even what he has will be taken away” gave me pause. It’s really just about the law of reciprocity…that what you give out is what you get more of.
It almost doesn’t seem fair, does it? You’re going through a hard time that drags on and on, and you get weary. You forget how to love in the midst of your struggle. Pretty soon, you’ve got even more hard times. The sparkler in this wisdom is that it's actually far better than fair—it’s a gift. It’s a little revolving door that can turn your direction around on a dime if you know how to go through it.
You choose whether you are a “person who has” or a “person who has not” through your gratitude and abundance thinking, or through your bitter, fearful, scarcity-thinking. It’s a matter of knowing, like the talent-holders in the parable of the talents, that your God is someone who can grow a tree without planting a seed--and then turn it into a rainbow. And oh, how this powerful, artsy God loves us!
The seasons are out of our hands, but what if we are not as bound to our own rhythms as we are to nature’s? What if, as our seasons change, we refuse to wait for the brutal tearing and messy sloughing of shedding skin, learning our lessons inch by inch? Why couldn’t we simply step out of 2011 before its threadbare places burst apart, and press toward our new beginning that starts now, not in 2012?
Fox says that “pausing in the current of the material to remember what we know to be true about God” is the essence of prayer. I checked that against my own prayer life, which seemed—lately—a little more like whining and worrying than pausing in the current of the material. The current had, in fact, washed me away. The idea of pausing made me pause some more, gradually lifting my head and turning my thoughts to what do I know to be true about God?
The answer beckons me to take off the coat of this year that I no longer need and leave it behind without a backward glance. To run naked into this new season of mine, having no pretenses that I'm armed and ready, or dressed to kill. There is no false image foolery to give me strength. I'm worn out and used up from a 12-month bad dream. I'm poured out. I'm undone.
Which means I'm ready for the kind of extraordinary things that happen when we let the real us show and operate from the only strength we truly have--His.
The real you may feel a little broken and bleeding, beat up and sore, exhausted and hopeless, or ashamed and afraid. The sparkler: those are just currents. Pause in them and remember what you know to be true about God. Then bravely step out of the current, letting it sweep on down to the sea, taking that old skin of yours with it.
Now you’re ready to look up, too.
Enjoy this short, very cute encouragement to look up from American Airlines. It's a timely reminder far more significant than literal air travel! Just hit the Play Now button when you get there.