Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gift or Choice?

I don't get it. I've looked at this for months now from all the angles I can think of, but I cannot come to a definite conclusion.

Q. Is the determination to follow a certain path given to us as a gift, or is it the result of our own choice?

"A blend of both" doesn't do it for me. (That's always my husband's answer--a blend of every factor.) One friend said the bottom line of my lack of determination is that I fear my own unwillingness to change. At the time it sounded reasonable. Not anymore.

As I look back, healthy changes in my behavior have resulted from a profound revelation that rocked me to my deeps. The resulting change or adjustment in belief was catalyst
behavior change. We do what we believe, and believe me, that speaks way louder than just saying what we believe.

Since God is ultimate guardian of my circumstances, He has allowed and disallowed in accordance with His plan for my life. I can rearrange the deck chairs all I want, but this ship is on a course set by the Captain. (Most days I’m glad of that.) The experiences that moved me toward healthy change were His arrangement, brought about for His glory to be seen through my life. I am compelled by His love. The joy and fulfillment that arise from these epic moments aren’t something I choose—they just come. If I want to want a totally surrendered life, I need motivation and vision, the kind that come from a deeps-rocking epiphany. I believe that God gifted William Wallace with a deeps-rooted determination to do what was right. Along with that gift came a Niagara of courage, strength, and heart—enough to change mere men into warriors and free an entire country.

I want the country of my own soul freed, and I cannot make myself decide to be free. I need help. I need the gift of a revelation, the kind that can only come from the One whose other worldly Love transcends my humanness, surpasses the strength of my flesh, and empowers my soul to live life as He meant me to—free, unself-conscious, with joy spilling up and over into other needy lives.

That’s the way it seems to me today. If my friend who has the tendency to overinfluence me has another go at it, I could be writing an addendum later.

Maybe I might pray as well for a spiritual spine of steel instead of the aluminum foil I have now...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why So Insecure?

Why are we so insecure?

I just found out that someone I've been friends with for two years spent a lot of time wondering if I liked her. It all made sense when I heard that because she's called to apologize on several occasions for comments she made to me that might have been gossip, and since gossiping is not an admirable or godly trait, she called to say she was sorry. The last time she did that she added, "... because I didn't want you to not like me." I was so taken aback by that because I knew that if I were to let go and gush about how deeply I respect and admire and enjoy her, she'd probably wave me off and walk away in unbelief.

I don't think her insecurity came from something I said or did. I think that came about on her part. But she's so cute, fit, talented, educated--she's an engineer, a substitute teacher, a home schooler, and a consistent volunteer at a soup kitchen. I always thought of her as humble, selfless, hard-working, and of such golden character. If she knew how highly I thought of her, perhaps she might have one less insecurity in her life.

Now that I think of it, I remember one author (I think it's Hannah Whitall Smith) saying that the enemy of our souls doesn't care what we occupy ourselves with as long as it's not Christ. It can be a seemingly valuable ministry, the unplanned pregnancy of a daughter, a preoccupation with personal finances, or frequent thoughts of how well or how poorly we come across to others. Makes no difference to him--it all misses the mark, and that's his joy.

John the Baptist comes to mind. He doesn't seem like someone who struggled with insecurity. In fact, he seems like one of the most settled people I've ever heard of. He dressed like a caveman, ate honey & hoppers (and yuck--I don't care HOW sweet they are), and was all for the crowds switching allegiance from him to his cousin. Look at where his focus always was. And check out what Jesus said about him (Matt. 11:11)!

I want to be completely insecure about my flesh and as equally secure about the One on whom I am totally dependent. Focus our focus, Lord.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Civil Caterwaul

This an explanation for my blog name:

Civil = Sufficiently observing or befitting accepted social usages; not rude, as in a civil reply.

Caterwaul = To cry or screech like a cat in heat; to make a shrill, discordant sound; to have a noisy argument.

There are a lot of discussions and even heated arguments in the committee in my head, so this name is a stab at finding a fitting description of those conversations. Let there be words, questions, emotions, honesty, and discord in the name of finding some answers, but let us not be rude or brutal. Everyone's fighting a battle--why be mean...