Saturday, October 4, 2014

“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” -Austin

My God whose ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts.

What I desire: to live before God with true freedom.

Leaders are those who are more prone to ego-centric pursuit. Leaders are those who feel, more strongly than others, the need to make a difference. They need to change things. They need to see their vision of a preferred future become a present reality. They need to be of value, they need to be liked, they need to know they have worth for others, and they need to be respected. These normal desires, which are simply part of what it means to be human, burn fiercely inside leaders.

When distorted unfulfilled needs are not met, these leaders often experience anxiety, insecurity, fear, disappointment and sadness.

Leaders like this resist guidance, input, and correction from others. They live with elaborate structures of self-justification, rationalization, blame-shifting. As a Christian leader, they find ways to weave spiritual answers in to legitimize their perspective. -Brian Rice

Confession: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Dear Living God, I confess that I have allowed my human needs for relationship and impact to become distorted. I confess that I have put a desire for approval from man above approval from You. I have sought affirmation from them, rather than resting in Your love for me. I have not said, “Your love is enough,” but rather I have shoved Your gift aside and looked elsewhere. This has given a foothold to Satan, for his accusations and self-justification to spin in my thoughts and produce great sorrow even despair and hopelessness. This is not trust in You.

This morning I wrote down those rationalizations and self-justifications in one last final attempt to shush the Accuser’s voice, to shove him off the ledge of my heart. And as I unrolled it, a shabby, crumpled thing, it ended up sounding an awful lot like Orual’s accusation of the gods-a vile scrabble.

And I think I can stand here? I think I can brave this Beauty? Not an empty, tinny beauty, but a Fierce Beauty, Flaming Fire who burns through the thick masks and leaves the soul disrobed. I am naked and I am right ashamed. -Voskamp

Prayer: Grant me, O Lord, to trust in You with all my heart; for, as You always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so You never forsake those who make their boast of Your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Be at rest, my soul,
O blessed secret of the true life that glorifies the LORD.

Last night Mary Anne and I enjoyed an apple and chicken salad and olives and red wine and the movie Emma.  And Miss Emma was a plotter and a planner and a runner-of-other-people’s lives. And she did a pretty lousy job of it all, but it kept her busy enough looking around at everyone else that she didn’t see herself.

I am Emma.

And thinking about Emma, I remembered my first glimpse at Emma-inside-me, that night so long ago on the Wheaton quad of damp grass and silent trees and black sky with bright stars.

And the question that I heard with my heart from the LORD God Almighty, “Who is the LORD of your life?” LORD and Savior.

And have I even grown in my love and understanding one tiny bit in the past thirty-five years of life? I find myself in that exact same spot, that exact same flurry of hardheartedness as thirty-five years ago in the early parts of October 1979.  Spinning schemes and plots on how I was going to manufacture my own significance, my own impact in my very busy ball-juggling life and especially my own relationship with that very cute boy who was writing so much poetry.

And somehow, and I know the exact somewhere, that rock where I was sitting in the dark, You asked the exact same question You are asking now. And I answered, You, Oh LORD and Savior.

You are LORD.

LORD beyond the Little Visits with God answer kneeling by the side of my parents’ bed when I was five-years-old, and the Joy Bible Camp answer when I was eight-years-old, and the Young Life Camp answer when I was fifteen-years-old, or even the Tony Campelo Student Leadership Conference answer just two months before. You, Oh LORD and Savior.

And I would feel hopeless and helpless in my sin, my Emma-ness, my ungratefulness for Your good gifts especially that of Your unconditional, unearned love because You Are Love, and how is it possible that I am facing the exact same question that I thought I answered thirty-five years ago, and has all that pain and rejoicing and living and dying and stories upon stories and especially pain been for naught, except I remember manna.

New every morning.

Give us today our daily bread.

This is the same question you ask every single day: Who is LORD and Savior?

And it is a serious question.

Moses followed You faithfully and humbly and answered questions rightly, “How can I go forward unless Your presence go before me?” but then that one day, he answered wrongly, and he struck the rock.

And was not allowed in the Promised Land.

So You, my loving Abba Father, have broken down The Question into small steps, lest I become lost in myself. Step by step, taste by taste, morning by morning, I am to answer, “You, Oh LORD and Savior.”

Because You know me. My weakness. My clayness. My ever-rising pride. My desire to shove You off the Campus Crusade throne of my life, which leads to chaos and torment and confusion and hopelessness.

And just for today, You ask once again: Christy, do you love me? My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Morning by morning, new mercies I see.

It’s not about me.

Igneous’ indifference.

No more Emma. Well, at least for today.