You might have noticed that it’s been a good long while since I last posted. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I’m going to halt my incessant need to apologize and be honest: I needed this break, and I’m not going to be sorry about taking it. Truthfully I’m probably speaking to myself right now more than you, because you are probably much more forgiving of my not blogging than I am of myself.
Either way it has been a good month for me – one filled with lots of reflection and purposefully less doing.
I read this article today on Relevant Magazine’s website titled “The Question We Should Never Let Make or Break Us,”
and it spurred me back to a courage I had temporarily lost, or maybe never even had. The article centers on the issue of how we let our jobs or what we do
define who we are. This is incredibly common in our culture, and it is contrary to the radical idea of letting who we are
simply be a definition in itself.
The writer, Rachel Dymski, said this:
“I find myself fighting the battle, with others and within myself, to be something. We all do. But I’m learning that the way to this being is not by constant, distracted doing. And so, one by one, I let go of these trophies of doing, and find my heart is lighter than it was when I gripped to them so tightly. My worth, it seems, was completely independent of these trophies all along.”
My whole life has been filled with this kind of identity, where my trophies of doing defined who I was. First, I was a dancer, because for thirteen years that’s what I did day in and day out. Next, I was a leader in our student government, doing all I could to be someone who made a difference. Then, I was a college student, who was thus defined by what I did in terms of study: English and Communications major. Now, I have faced all of these things, and have still found my identity incomplete. Why?
It seems that none of those things will ever accurately define me, as no occupation or hobby can fully define anyone. But when I grew up in the mindset that one had to do things to be anybody, who would I be if I was simply sitting still? This puts me in the camp of those who aim to earn God’s love or salvation by doing good acts and service, whether we are aware of it or not. Sure I knew that faith alone was enough, but I don’t think I truly believed that in my heart as I constantly required myself to do things in order to be worth anything. In that lies the difference between knowing something, and believing it.
There is a lot of pride in that place, at least there is for me. I constantly run for God and chase Him down, so I couldn’t possibly think of sitting still or doing nothing. I do as much as possible because I want to be a good Christian and deserve the love of God. Certainly God wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t do anything. Yet then I stumbled across the verses in Romans 5:6-8 that say:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This caught me off guard, because although I can read it and say “Oh that’s nice,” I don’t fully believe it yet. Because how on earth could someone die for me before I had done anything good, before I had done anything for them, and knowing that I probably won’t ever be able to repay such a cost? Rarely in our culture and our world do we see a love like this, one that is given with no conditions and no expectations. This gets me even more: although Christ knew I wouldn’t be able to repay him, he would still do it again and would still give himself out of love for God and for us.
I suppose I had forgotten that Jesus commanded us to live holy, selfless lives, NOT to earn the love of God or repay the sacrifice – for that is given to us regardless – but to do it out of the joy that comes from wanting to honor such a good and loving God. I thought I knew that, but I guess I didn’t yet believe it.
There is a verse often cited that says “Be still and know that I am God.” I bet if I was a studied theologian, or if I knew Greek and Hebrew, I could analyze that phrase to discover that the word know implies a lot more than we realize. Because knowing is one thing, and trusting in that knowledge enough to believe it and live it is something much harder. I know that He is God, but I haven’t trusted Him enough, or humbled myself enough, to have faith in the implications of the love and power that comes with fully believing He is God.
It is hard to find the balance in blogging between speaking simply out of truth and humility, and speaking out of pride. For me, it has been even harder to not think of blogging as an action or a task that I am doing, but rather something I am sitting within to meet and worship God. I am learning that my identity can’t be in the trophies of what I do, but rather it is found in being who I am in God — beautifully and wonderfully made, loved without requirement, and cherished as a daughter of the most high.
These lessons have had a lot of implications in my life over the last month, and they have trickled down to teach me many things about love, pride, my self-worth, and being with God. Currently I remain in this process of learning, one where God is inviting me to simply be still and believe in His promises. I don’t know what this means for my blogging, or whether I will come back to writing within a week, a month, or sometime after that. However, I am confident that God will meet me in this place, and I appreciate any and all prayers that I may have the courage and strength to always trust in His goodness no matter how lost I feel in the process.
For He is good beyond our understanding, and His love for us never ends – remember this isn’t just for me, but for you too, no matter who the world defines you to be.