Monday, August 01, 2005

living beyond myself

“This is the true joy of life: being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature rather than a feverish and selfish little clot of grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
George Bernard Shaw

A fresh wind is blowing through my home. Maybe it is the breeze, finally allowed in through windows opened wide after weeks of stifling heat and humidity, causing the curtains to dance with their new-found freedom. Maybe it is the smell of green and the symphony of crickets drifting through that cause my heart to stir from its slumber—to yawn wide-mouthed with an expansive stretch and consider, for the first time since I don’t know when, getting up and getting dressed. I am awakened by the current. Stirred. Refreshed, even. Maybe it is a cool front moving through.

Maybe it is something more.

There is a peace that both stirs and settles—a passionate peace as Eugene Peterson refers to in The Message. It is new to me. Is this what contentment feels like? I must confess I have not been very intimate with contentment. Not yet. But I have introduced myself, and I hope he may stay with me sometime soon. “Nothing will steal your contentment like self-absorption.[1]” Perhaps that is why he and I are not better acquainted.

“Debilitating self-interest” I have unfortunately known much more intimately. At his bidding, I have thrown myself on the floor of life kicking and screaming to get my own way. I have believed that it was, indeed, all about me. I have disengaged from life when life would not devote itself to making me happy. I have bought full-price the lie that my faith entitles me to a get-out-of-suffering-free card. I have complained and whined and pouted and moped and, quite frankly, put my two-year-old to shame.

Yet somehow, things are shifting. In a world of MORE, I am finally moving toward less. Spending less. Eating less. Wanting less. Complaining less. More of you and less of me we sing sometimes in our worship. It is happening in my life.

Stirred, yet settled. I know enough to know this is not of my doing. Just as certainly as I cannot make the breeze blow through my window, I am incapable of such change on my own. God works within me with an all-surpassing power to will and to act according to his good purpose. (2 Cor 4:7, Phil 2:13) There is a greater power at work here. And for once, it is okay to want more.

A fresh wind is blowing through my home. The Holy Spirit has blown the windows open wide, coursing full-blown through my life—giving purpose where I am purposeless and giving power where I am powerless. Changing my heart. Using me up. Enabling me to live beyond myself.

A new front is, indeed, coming through.

[1] Beth Moore, Living Beyond Yourself, Introductory Audio Session, 2004


Cynthia said...

"debilitating self-interest"...that's me to a T. Yuck.

amy said...

Like Cynthia, I'm familiar with that "debilitating self-interest." But what to do about it? I'm resigned that there isn't a thing that WE can do... (You said, "I know enough to know this is not of my doing.") ...but beg God to do it for us, and soon! Thanks, Lorie, for offering hope that it He does sometimes answer our cries for help.