Monday, March 2, 2009
I read something today that made my heart stop:
I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, full hands or empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
How beautiful. I really am enjoying The Message translation.
I looked up some of the greek definitions for this scripture- what the message translates as "makes me who I am" is the word 'endunamoo' which is a present tense verb meaning to strengthen and become.
I love that it is present tense, that finding ourselves in Christ is not something we do once, or that is done for us, but a thing that Christ is continually doing in us.
I have always taken this verse to be encouragement when going through hard times- that times maybe shouldn't be as hard as we allow them to be. It is easy for myself, or Christians, to say that God is the most important thing in my/our lives. But that is pretty quickly disproved. It is easy, natural even, to find our identity in transient things like jobs, friends, lovers, self image, etc. And when we bottom out, it is a realization that our identity is not at all in God. If it were, those things would not affect us nearly as much.
It's kind of like the idea of faith. We've all heard the phrase "such and such is really making me question my faith" or "my faith is being shaken right now". Very interesting phrases. Because, really, if your faith is being shaken, it just means that you are learning that you don't actually have any. That instead of having faith in God, we have had faith in the things he's given us. Faith is something that you only feel when it shouldn't be there. The greek word for faith is 'pistis' which means to believe in the inherent goodness of a thing. If you believe in God after rape, or death, or the loss of something extremely important to you- then you know you have faith. If you only have faith in God when things are great, that's not faith at all, it's just acknowledgement. So when your 'faith is shaken' it's actually an incredible opportunity to ask God for a real faith.
When reading this in the Message- I realized that it's not just for hard times, but for good as well. I think I have clutched onto times of joy, or joyous things- but maybe those should not have had as great an affect on me. I love this idea of going through life perfectly calm and level, because God is something dependable, his Spirit something to trust in always. So we can have hard things but we aren't ruined by them, we have great things, but we aren't distracted by them, either.
I think it can be easy for me to read this verse and feel guilty for how untrue it is in my life- but there is a lot of hope in growth. God is fully aware how absolutely contrary this verse is to actual life. Even more, I think he's proud of us in the process of it becoming true. So many things come natural to us- talent, bitterness, love, depression. We allow a lot of things to just sort of overcome us. And these are the things that make us who we are. We get dumped and bitterness pervades our soul. We lose a job, and anxiety follows us around every other work place. The names people called us become constant companions. We are always being shaped by the world around us. It makes me think of Peter being tossed around by the waves. I am realizing more and more how physical the teachings of Christ are. We literally have to force and fight and pound against ourselves and things in our life. We have to forcibly move worry from our minds, idols from our hearts, gossip and slander from our mouths. In Hebrews it talks about Christ being an anchor for the soul. I have felt this! There have been moments recently where I've been rocked by pure emotion. And out of that emotion I have wanted to change, or hide, or become something that wouldn't be rocked again. But when I've gone to Christ in prayer, I've literally felt calmed and centered. That I only want Christ to make me who I am, and I have to fight to give him that power.
Friends, say a prayer for me, please. I have a huuuuuuuge test for work on Wed that I am studying like mad for, and then I am speaking at the element, and have very limited time to prepare for it. But I'm really excited to be talking about God and science. I'll post some thoughts on it here later on.
Love you guys.
oh, also. The thing that made me laugh a lot today- I was sitting in class with my friend Tam, discussing Westgate (my work) romance and intrigue.
Me: I like indie/hippy boys. None of them work at Westgate.
Tam: *not looking up from his iphone* None of them work, period.