Seasons.

I’m looking out of the cafe I usually sit at in Beecroft and I have been noticing a particular tree change over the last 5 months. From having countless beautiful tiny white flowery blooms in late winter to tender light green spring leaves in spring to a darker harsher full and strong foliage as it holds right now at the start of summer.

And I have been noticing that my heart is sometimes in a state of unhealthy waiting and wanting for something better. For the “next step” to arrive. For more money, for more pleasure, for more of Christ and his kingdom, for more happiness, for a better job, for more of my dreams to be fulfilled. It is a wanting that has a dangerous thought tacked on: “if only”. “If only” I got to this place in my business, or “if only” I had this or that. And indeed the fact is that our hearts are constantly presented with a smorgasbord of delights and pleasures in our media-crazy society that most of us don’t have the capacity to have. Perhaps I contribute to that – I sent my first marketing email for the dental surgery a few weeks ago.

And yet, longing and desiring for better or more is actually, I think, a beautiful thing in itself. For there must be some measure of dissatisfaction before there can be a measure of satisfaction. It takes some measure of hunger to enjoy any kind of food. It takes longing and desire for there to be fulfilment.

So I am noticing a tension that must exist – of the need holding my heart and my mind in a place of complete contentment and complete dissatisfaction. It’s almost this paradoxical state of wanting for something more without needing it. I can’t describe it fully, nor do I probably have the emotional capacity to walk it out fully.

But let me just say there is something beautiful about being able to yield to the season which we are in, whether it be hard or easy, barren or productive, painful or joyful. For there are no glorious summers without the beautiful spring. There are no beautiful springs without the harsh and cold winters. There are no harsh and cold winters without the peaceful autumns. And I sense that a stretching and a growing is always occurring in the waiting. There is a reason for every season. Nothing is wasted.

It’s all about the destination, but perhaps equally if more all about the journey.

Advertisements

The Beautiful Person #2

Of late I have been looking inside of myself to find a bit of a jungle. Right and wrong perspectives and ideas, right and wrong thoughts and emotions all intertwined and mingling.

…but for the grace of God eh? At every point in my life. Every moment has been and is filled with beauty, and every day begins with mercy.

And we are much more the affective beings than we understand ourselves to be. For so long, human beings have supposed that health and wealth and life come purely from right thinking, and from knowing the right things. I am suspecting that, fundamentally, this is the wrong way to understand the human being.

And this is what I notice from my introspection – that there is a force at work much more powerful than having the right thoughts in my mind.

It is my emotions.

Emotions are what drive our behaviour regardless of any other factor (our thoughts, our gender, the time of day). For many people their behaviour is actually in contradiction with their thoughts and words – purely because they are unaware and blind of the true driving force. Indeed whether you are aware or not of what you are feeling, sooner or later, you will do and behave as you feel.

And a person with the emotional intelligence to know what they are feeling can only cover it up in pretense for so long (if it is the wrong kind of emotion). It is too tiring an activity to not live from your heart for any extended period of time – and not the way the human being was designed to live.

 

So what if I began to look at life and events and situations through this one priority – how is this making me a more beautiful person?

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

For perhaps this is God’s will for us above and beyond all else: that we be conformed to the image of his Son. My point is that perhaps this is more of an emotional, psychological state than a place of acquiring theology and knowledge.

What if I were to apply this one overarching priority to my life – regardless of the money, regardless of the time, regardless of the cost – if it is making me a better more beautiful person then I will pursue it.

And while seemingly selfish, it is a selfishness that has complete selflessness as it’s end goal. For the beautiful person is not selfish at all.

And what a beautiful paradox. What incredible freedom.

 

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart

 

Some thoughts on what Christianity is, and what it is not (and some ruminations on freedom and authenticity)

Christianity is not a “religion” in the sense that we define the word today.

It is not a set of rules/restrictions that we place upon ourselves and others.

It is not an addition to our lives that helps us be nicer people.

It is not something we turn to in tough times to help us through.

It is not a nice standard by which society can run and crime can be reduced. Although, probably more correct is that society sees Christianity and it’s ideas today as wrong and intolerant and bigotted.

Christianity is life, or rather the way to life – life to its fullest and deepest sense.

Christianity is freedom in its truest sense. And along with freedom, authenticity. For Christianity does not impose itself as a set of holy or moral laws upon a sinful and broken human being whose nature is forever in conflict and opposition to it’s standard. Christianity changes the human being at the deepest level, so rules and regulations need not apply. And so we are left with a nature that follows the rules and regulations because it desires to and not because it is told to. And that is freedom in the truest and deepest sense.

Human beings do a great deal of pretending, and it is said that the greatest pretenders are in the church. This is not a function of true Christianity, but rather the broken nature of human beings who gather for church. It is the pride within us that wants to present ourselves to others as someone that is great and someone who has it all together

Authenticity and the liberty to be oneself in it’s reality (in all it’s messiness and brokenness and sinfulness) is intimately linked with the concept of freedom.

To be authentic takes honesty with oneself and a measure of humility. Christianity provides those means for humility – for when you are faced with an infinitely holy and supreme God, our messiness and brokenness is starkly illuminated.

In this illumination of what and who we are in our brokenness, the playing field of humanity is levelled. What we have over another person in our good works is utterly pathetic seen in the right light. We like to build ourselves mounds of dirt to see how high we can build them and then compare our mounds with other peoples mounds, while we stand at the base of the ‘Everest’ of God’s rightness and goodness.

And in that right assessment of the situation – there is the freedom to be authentic. To be authentic to God and to others, but ultimately to be authentic to ourselves. For no one is good enough, nor do we have to be. For while Christianity gives us sight of our true condition, it does not leave us there. The coal from the throne is taken and placed upon our lips. And Christ does for us what we could not, and cannot ever do – he makes us beautiful and pure and holy just as he is.

And in the heart of someone who is truly free and authentic, there flows forth rivers of joy and peace. Oh what a beautiful thing this ‘religion’ is!

And there is and shall be a generation who shall rise from the ashes of brokenness and sinfulness. They shall be clothed in white robes and they shall exhibit a depth of freedom and authenticity, joy and peace the world has rarely seen.