Sunday, October 20, 2013

Untangling a Fabricated Life





I cracked open A Million Little Ways a week ago on my back deck with a cup of coffee.
I ended up adding my bible, a journal, and computer to the mix. I looked up Greek words and lingered long enough to contemplate actual answers to Emily's probing questions. I answered some and scribbled yet more questions of my own. 

I read the first 2 chapters and journaled five pages.  

This is what I don't want to sneak past me from those pages: 

God is pleased to have the fullness of his glory dwell in Christ (Colossians 1:19) and just as pleased to have Christ dwell in us (Colossians 1:27). 

As Christians and God's artwork that bear his image (Genesis 1:27),we have been tasked long ago—like Garden of Eden long ago (Genesis 1:28)—to do good works.

That good work is not my to do list or generated from any other outward, earthly source. (That's going to be a huge paradigm shift. Huge.)

Instead, that good work is this: to reflect his glory, his identity from the core of who we are in everything we do, in the way only we can—through all the intricate, artful facets he created uniquely in each of us.

I knew about reflecting his glory already. But because I thought I already was doing that through my task-oriented living, this old thing that I've long known is now fresh and ripe with scary possibilities and unknowns.

But I've been "do" oriented for so long I've lost track of the "be" orientation. Reflecting his glory from my core instead of from my to do list requires knowing who I am way deep inside.

Here's the rub: It's been so long, I'm not sure I know who she is anymore.

I've been editing who I am for public consumption for some time. It's a joint venture that began when my mom dropped me off at the birthday party when I was four and reminded me to say please and thank you. It continued in 7th grade when I adapted what I did, wore, and said to my predictions of how ill- or well-received I would be by my peers. The self-editing matured in college into honing my image to what I deemed to be the perfect combination of  "blend in" and "cool unique contribution." I've tweaked into my 40s.

How do you untangle that decades-in-the-making fabrication?    

It's risky, will take courage and faith. It's going to take work, too, because old habits and vantage points don't change all by themselves.

But it will be beautiful and freeing and a work of art all its own that makes God renown in my corner of the earth.

It's going to require listening more to the Holy Spirit within me than I listen to my screaming to do list or surface desire to fit in.  

Do I know how to do that? No. Will it change what my days look like? Maybe a little.

But probably not much because I still have all those daily responsibilities that aren't going away. I will always have a to do list. I just don't want it defining me and driving me anymore.

What needs to change is who is carrying out all these daily details. Another thing that must change is what anchors me as I do the same ol' things I always do. The reason why I do them will be different. The how I do them will probably change too, even if the what, where, and when remain the same. The adjustment is small and nuanced, but has great potential to radically change my sense of purpose and my attitude as I approach each day.

A good place to start is to remember we are God's artwork, and, therefore, our daily output should be artwork as well. And that will only happen if it comes from who we are and not what we do.    

 

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