Friday, September 5, 2014

Quieting my ambitions

I've been a reluctant, rebellious, refractory, recalcitrant blogger lately Of course, the 'authority' which I answer when it comes to blogging is myself, which makes me rebelling against myself but there's something scriptural in that, isn't there? "That which I want to do, I don't do..." so to speak. I get up each morning with the strongest of intentions, spend time with God who probably puts more than half the ideas into my brain in the first place, and before you can say, "Bob's yer uncle," I've moved into my day without writing a single word on this blog, nor reading any one else's either.

So this Random Journal Link-Up Day comes along at just the right time. Spurring me to love and "Good works," I might say. Or love and good words, maybe. I heard someone quote Max Lucado on the radio a little while ago that faith without effort is no faith at all. Begging the esteemed Mr. Lucado's pardon, I would say that faith without RISK is no faith. It seems to me that what we do when we live by faith, when we TRULY live by it is throw out our arms and say, "I trust You, Lord, come what may!" And the opening of these journals is one more way we Journal-keepers risk. Those of you who read our words may not realize how much faith (and risk) it takes to open a blue or flowered or any other colored notebook and reveal thoughts we never imagined any but God seeing. But it's a big deal. And yet we do it. Indeed, as I write posts, I act on the same faith. Here are some others who take the same risk.

I open a recent journal (comparatively speaking, of course. In the line of journals that goes back to 1977, last year is a mere breath away) and find a pretty unguarded entry, full of the Dickensian self--the best and worst of me. But I take a risk and share it:

Friday, June 21, 2013
"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in His word I put my hope." Psalm 130: 5

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed myself 
and quieted my ambitions.  Psalm 131: 1-2a

I've never had a career. Never been a 'professional' in any sense of the word. It might be a stretch to say that I've barely worked for my living, certainly not full-time for a salary. By the world's standards, I'm a humble creature--defining humble as mean or small or insignificant. And yet, it occured to me this morning that my job, my career, my profession has been GOD. Raising Godly children, serving His body, being His servant, student and teacher. And mostly, MOSTLY, being His. Just that. I am small, my work is hidden but it is His work. 

I admit, though, sometimes it's hard to be around others who have more, make more, do more, especially when they complain about their lives or keep grasping. I can lose sight about what we (Beve and I) are called to hold lightly and begin to compare our circumstances with theirs; then judge them for their complaints and worries. Or for their greediness (or for what looks like greediness from here). But that's MY sin. My envy, though I do not name it as such. I pretend I'm above it, actually pretend I'm looking down on such attitudes but I'm not. The attitude rears its head in me in perverse, ugly ways. Turn me around, change me, FORGIVE ME.

The truth is, we are wealthy in many and important ways. First, in relation to the world at large, we have plenty. If I'm looking at those who have more, I'm looking in the wrong direction. God has blessed us and I'm a fool not to recognize it. We have all we need and abundantly more. Second, we are wealthy in relationship: We have a great marriage, our kids love us, we have great friends--the list is long. Yes, we are wealthy in community. And third, we are rich in Christ. Eternally blessed--heaped!--with the pearl of great price. His love, forgiveness, the treasure laid up for us in heaven: all these far outshine mere earthly/material wealth/success to such a degree that there is no comparison. Indeed, my everything is in Him. And of course, as I've often said, I've also quieted (or had quieted by HIM) my ambition because the fulfillment of it would likely bring with it pride beyond imagining, dangerous to my soul.

Glorify yourself in me, through me, because of me, Lord. I don't care if my life counts for anything, but I do care that YOU count in, through, because of my life. Use me as YOU will. My mean, small, hidden and humble life. Just use me. Awaken me to Your voice. Open my ears to hear You more clearly. Shout if You must so that I can listen and obey. Overwhelm me with Your Spirit. I am SO tired of very me, of my plaintive, whiny, selfish, judgmental, superior self. Thank you--yes, thank YOU, that you put me in THIS life. Imagine how unbearable I'd be if I was more in the world's eyes...That instant picture made me shudder. 

Yes, thank You for this very life.


Dawn Paoletta said...

Well, I am sure glad you got to sharing your words this month! I think I could have written this post myself...I am so often guilty of the same. Looking in the wrong direction, comparing and feeling insignificant...until I come back to the realization and recognition of His truly satisfying presence. He really is the only ONE who brings satisfaction and contentment, ultimately and permanently. Wherever else we find these , it is temporary...or as Solomon said, "a chasing of wind."

Love you and your words, Carolyn!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Oh yes! This was what I needed to hear as well. Jesus is the Only Answer for our world today...for us personally, and for those around us. I know that I strive to allow His presence within me to shine forth around me, but I know there are more times than not that too much of me escapes and drowns out His light and voice. I'm working on that. Thank you for these words today. Much needed reminder.

quietspirit said...

Carolyn: When I get down about who I am or what we have/don't have,God reminds me I should be placing my eyes on Him. When I think about what someone has or doesn't have, I have learned to think on how hard that person or that couple have had to work to get what they have. God has taught me that.