February 11, 2013

Who Commits to What They Don't Know?

More often than not, as I relate over an extended period of time with individuals, the statement is made “I want to be where you are”.  Obviously, it is not that I am a powerhouse employing the masses or that I live an incredibly luxurious existence.  From what I am told, it is the peace and liberty they perceive I have apart from all those things.  Of course they know my faith is in God alone and I trust Him with everything, at least I have matured through Him enabling me to get there, if not readily handing them over.

What people see is an outpouring of God’s strength, courage, compassion, empathy, love and durability. What they do not see is how many years I had to clean house in order to make space for God’s stuff.  But I did not give up my personal necessities for each day, month, and year easily.  The mind set of being accountable and prepared, storing up in order to survive harsh conditions by my bootstraps,  was the first staple which had to be purged from my overstocked pantry..

Here is the initial list of what I boxed up and gave to His cause:

·         Enough sleep to handle all the frazzles of tomorrow.

·         Planning for months to keep my worries at bay.

·         Scrutinizing my eating so I could look acceptable

·         Working out so my body was built in the right places

·         Cosmetics to make me prettier than I felt

·         Color on my hair so I did not appear to be dull or aging

·         Fake nails so my hands looked constantly pristine

·         Clothing which matched the latest trends

·         A home reflecting the required status of education and age preferred

·         Saying the right thing at the correct time, with the appropriate refined dialect

·         Try not to make anyone feel uncomfortable

·         Rule - Do not think more highly of yourself than others

·       Rule - Do not talk badly about others

·         Rule- Do not be a smart-aleck

·       Rule-  Be honest if you can, but not pushy

·         Make sure my home is perfectly organized and kept

·         Work hard with integrity and pick up the slack whenever anyone is down

·         If you do the right thing, life will be good

·         Don’t sin against God and if you do, get it right a sap

 

And this list is just shooting from the hip!  As you can see, these alone are not bad rules or things we should pursue.  The rub is if we are authentic in our hearts intent or if we are working some angle. 

The truth is, on the occasion someone asks me the “how do I get there” question, I am now mature enough to say, "that’s personal"; not private by any means, but individual.  Most of us assume, if we hear how to do something, follow the ropes, get educated then we can get somewhere and we can.  We will get very close to where the other person probably fell down.  At least that is what I thought, and I watch people head out in the same ways all the time.

Obviously God wants us, rationally we know this, otherwise He would not have created us. Fortunately God gave us free will so that we could choose Him.  He also gave us a mind to comprehend and emotions to feel.  We have the ability to understand what we feel and what we desire.  Why would we choose to give our life, our love to something we do not know or know to be trustworthy, by any other means except because they said so?  Wouldn’t that be absurd? 

Well, from experience I can tell you, “YES, it is absurd!”  My first husband and I married after only 4 weeks; not a smart move on either of our parts.  We had met 3-4 years prior, but didn’t communicate until about 6 or 7 months prior to me leaving the US, and everything I cherished, behind to  visit him.  There was no way we knew enough to make a trustworthy decision. 

All my life God has allowed me to accomplish things, or at least have the opportunities open to choose from. I never had to hit bottom, with no other choices, or be limited to a single brass ring with no distractions.  I always had to choose one and turn away from something else; usually I found enough promise in every scenario that I finally had to pray about it.  Daily, I had to make small, prayerful exits while protecting the many relationships and life that I loved.  Soon, even though I looked like the same person, my life was unfamiliar and I did not know how to do it any longer on my own.

There came a point when I had to decide between my own understanding without God’s wisdom, or God's wisdom without leaning on my own thoughts.  Mixing the two was not getting me beyond myself. This was where I hit bottom, after all the pomp and circumstance, after the praises and the battles, my feet finally exited the life I had made. With my whole body out the final door, I knew that I knew, and what I knew was nothing.  

Believe me when I tell you that at the time if anyone would have told me I didn’t know what I was doing, I would have puffed up and said it was them who lacked insight.  I knew I had faith and it was not miss directed, but my profession of faith was based on what I had witnessed; what I had done and where I had not yet given up.

We all recreate the successes of others to glean a bit of personal glory and fame; we can’t help ourselves, we are mere sheep.  All the while we hear a mix of emotions; this challenges our integrity evokes our own mix of emotions; sometimes its pride, sometimes its shame.  We know we are unique, but we don’t know how to be different.  All things are common and we all want to do our share.  Our characters are common and our abilities are supportive; we get tested by the challenge of our need to serve self. Will we lay down our ambitions and maybe not get our notice, will we raise up another when it is out of our way?  Will we get angry when we are available but it is not on our agenda, as we see someone else who could just as easily assist?

God will not allow us to be foolish.  He will not give us great heights if we are just going to fall.  He asks us to sit down before we do something crazy, like exchange who He designed, for what we think we can become.  As for me, in the 80’s I saw the brass ring.  I took a break to go back to the wheel in 96.  By 2000 I knew I had to sit before I did something foolish, because He had already eliminated so much of the self which I had made.  By 04 I had turned from my own self help methods and had weeded the garden of my heart, mind and soul.  Through His grace, seeded truth and willing spirit, I knew my new form was ready to emerge.

Anyone can get to where I have gone.  Many went before me. Anyone can do what I am doing, but no one can do it without their own God given form.  Whatever we create is not for us, it is to be given away after our need is met.  Sometimes He allows us to stay around, sometimes we must move on.  Sometimes we will listen, often times we still need to be pruned. 

Just think about Noah, how he listened and built God’s arc.  God planned it and gave the instructions, filled it, raised it and protected it till He had it resting safely on the shore.  Noah walked out, moved onto another adventure with the peace that his efforts were given to God’s master plan.  Maybe others used Noah’s efforts as God led them upto what was already built.  Did they enter it and find shelter? Did they find work which their hands fit? It did not matter to Noah; I do not read where he turned back to make any claims.  I believe He was just delighted with the proof that He was a witness to all future men. 

At the end of your day’s journey reflect on what others see. Take a full look in your mirror; is the image vainly puffed up with your accomplishments and ability to look your best?  Or is it reflecting the image of life God created and a vessel where He delightfully abides?  I can honestly say I’ve seen both reflections in my very own mirror.  I pray that the image of who I once was is never witnessed by anyone’s eyes ever again. 

Candace Huffmaster

 
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