The Beginning of the Cycle

History tends to repeat itself. At least that’s how the saying goes. I have seen this in politics, family decisions and behaviors and even in “new” innovations. I think it’s true. We may not do exactly what has been done before, but it is usually something similar. It’s cyclical and different aspects of our lives have cycles to them.

I was talking with a good friend, Brenda, a few years ago and was lamenting about how in my walk with Christ, it seems that things I thought were done and forgiven continue to keep coming back up in my life. A struggle with this or a temptation to that. I was frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t ever get ahead. I was frustrated because it seemed like once I had victory over it, at some point it would come back. She asked more and more questions, simply allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me in my moment of frustration. For whatever reason, the picture of an onion is what came to my mind.

An onion (I wish there was something better than an onion). Like peeling an onion, God desires to continually uncover the depths of our fallen nature. In revealing them to us, we have a choice, either lean into God more or stop and stay at this level of dysfunction. If we do stop, it is usually because it’s either too hard to go any deeper or we’re too scared of the unknown of going deeper. Or both. However, in removing these layers and by moving inward, we are not only seeing the depths of our sin, we are also seeing the depths of God’s love, grace, mercy and holiness. Learning more about ourselves allows us in turn to learn more about God. Becoming more intimate with ourselves, allows us to become more intimate with Him.

When we have a community of people that is open and honest with each other about God removing their layers, we can also have intimacy with each other. But often times we’re too guarded, afraid of what others may think or say.  Intimacy with God requires intimacy with ourselves. I’ve met several people over the years who aren’t comfortable in their own skin and are afraid to go deep in the recesses of their hearts. Freedom comes when we dare to go to the darkest places and walk through the pain. Those dark recesses are no different than the seemingly open valleys of the shadow of death David writes about in Psalms. God will be present with us there as well as in those darkest places in our hearts.

Will you allow Him to shed light on them?

be blessed today

Roots

I used to have this great desire to work my way up the ladder. I can attribute much of that (not all) to an inward desire to be significant. Though I’m still trying to figure out why that desire is there, because it is still there, it doesn’t rear it’s head up as often as it used to. To be looked at as important, clever, needed, valued…all desires of mine that need to be met. But I looked for those needs to be met in working my way up the ladder, even though those ladders are as rickety and worn as they are.

I was trying to find roots. Something I could sink my teeth into, grab a hold of, cling onto when all else fell apart. Working your way up the ladder is ok if that is what God is leading you to. But when you are working your way up as a way of looking for security, significance or importance, then I would question whether that ladder will ever provide that for you.

Roots are needed by all of us, but what are we rooting ourselves is the tricky part. Henri Nouwen writes that it would be better if we were “rooted without being ‘settled with title, salary and prestige.'” He continues in his letter,”The solution-I think-is not in moving to another outer place but to another inner place,” (Love Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life; Convergent, 2016).

I wrote in my last post about the “now whats” that we ask ourselves when we are in an unforeseen transition. In my past, I was always looking towards the “now what.” The “next thing,” “bigger opportunity” or “next step” that was coming down the line. Maybe it wasn’t a physical move but it was a shift of focus. These things aren’t bad in and of themselves, at least mine weren’t. But where my folly came was pinning that desire for significance, value, worth, importance on something other than what God has already given me. It may not be something that I can hang on my wall, show on a budget sheet or print on a business card. But it is something far greater than a rickety ladder made by man. It’s moving to a different inward place. Hopefully, you can start moving that way today.

be blessed today

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.public-domain-photos.com