Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Living familiar patterns rather than new life?

The beautiful back salon of the boat
rocks in harbor
My desk is rocking on gentle waves. I'm having a hard time keeping my fingers on the keyboard as my office sways back and forth.

Actually, the trees outside the house aren't even moving. It's dead calm. Tea waits quietly in the teacup on the glass desktop.

But when I least expect it, I feel like the chair moves back and forth, up and down. We just spent 4 days cruising the coast on our friends' boat. We didn't feel unsteady when we walked ashore to eat or shop. But once in a while, usually when seated at a restaurant, someone would ask, "Do you still feel like you're on the waves?"

And another would respond, " I think my chair is swaying."

Waldemar sets the bumpers
after leaving the dock
Sometimes our habits are so familiar, traumas from childhood so ingrained, or old patterns so deeply set that we act as though we have no choices. Like the imagined swaying of my office walls, we follow the old grooves in unguarded times:
  • We lie to present ourselves favorably instead of answering quick questions with the uncomplicated truth.
  • We interact with others as "our best self" (who we think we should be - or as we think others want us to be) rather than being honest about our preferences, backgrounds, or giftings.
  • We compromise intimacy in marriage by fantasizing rather than enjoying and building up the spouse who loves us. If we have been traumatized by others, we may not trust ourselves to give our whole heart and soul to our mate.
  • We're dishonest at work, claiming benefits that belong to others or stealing supplies and resources that belong to others.
  • We pretend to diet at meals or when we eat in public while snacking all day where others can't see us, because food is our comfort or friendly go-to when stressed.
  • We lie to ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses, focusing on what we do not have so that we cannot benefit from the beautiful ways God made us and the gifts God gives us.
Waldemar and Terry head for the crab pots
I know where I get off the rails, where my little engine jumps the tracks to ugly, familiar destinations. And when I am hungry, angry, tired, or depressed, it's easiest to get derailed into destructive comforts rather than stay the course.

"Not one of us has achieved the goal of the high calling of God," Paul warned. "Let the one who thinks he/she stands be careful lest he/she falls."

God calls us to new life but salvation is not a magic trick where everything we've known or done disappears so that life becomes perfect. This newborn life has to be defended, guarded, and built upon!

How are you learning to live our your salvation? Here are some guidelines that help me:
Waldemar and Debbie navigating
our course
  1. Recognize myself. God called me from where I was, as I was, to follow him.
  2. Acknowledge God's power. He is able to transform what we have ruined, to create anew what sin has broken.
  3. Thank God for his gift of free will. God lets us choose to obey or disobey. He partners his strength and wisdom with our faith (trusting obedience).
  4. Form good habits over time to replace wrong thinking or destructive patterns. Little by little, line by line, one day at a time, we are being transformed into the image of God's son (Romans 12:1-2).
  5. Trust that God is enough for each day. When we fall, let's repent. Get up and move forward, believing that God knows you and me inside and out and willingly walks with us on life's journey. If he chose you as his child, he already knows the days you will fail as well as the days you succeed!
Read more:
*Praise the Lord. Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:1-3 NIV

*[Joab said,] 'Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.'

So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him." 2 Samuel 19:7–8 NLT

*For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

*Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Moravian Prayer: Chief Elder, we elect you each day to be the guiding force in our lives—your ways are so much better than our ways. Help us to trust that you know fully, and if we seek to be like you we will be living life to the fullest. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment