Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From This Point of View, It's Just Feet

One thing I notice perusing Instagram, is the frequent posts of photos looking down at one's feet. There is something intriguing in this perspective of a person's feet planted in the moment. It gives opportunity to imagine the person's journey: where they're going and where they've been. But it is a small window with an extremely limited view. It reminds me of The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss; “Feet. Feet. Feet. Oh, how many feet you meet!” Photographing one's feet is a fun way to slow down and be mindful of the moment; and when I am looking down I see a lot of feet. But on the journey of reconciliation, Christ calls us to see the end product – transformation of a larvae into a butterfly – a true metamorphosis, not just feet.

I have seen a lot of feet. When I fixate on one part of myself or one area of life with an attitude of discontent or disgust, it is like taking a beautiful walk and looking only at my feet. We do it all the time. We compare ourselves using unrealistic standards and pick ourselves and others apart without looking up to see where we are going. When we chose to follow Jesus we were reconciled to God the Father instantly; yet we began an ongoing journey of reconciliation and repair with ourselves and others.

In Webster's dictionary I found the following definitions of reconcile:

  • to restore to friendship or harmony b: Settle, Resolve (~differences)
  • to make consistent or congruous (~an ideal with reality)
  • to check against another for accuracy

And of repair:

  • to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken b: to restore to a sound or healthy state: RENEW

I am especially drawn to third definition of reconcile: to check against another for accuracy. The whole journey of reconciliation is based on looking to Him for truth (accuracy). We reconcile our living when we sift it through the truth of His Word and, in times of quiet, listening to the Father's heart. I love knowing I do not have to create a perfect template for myself. Oh how often I have tried. You too? It is like trying to rip apart a cocoon to release a butterfly only to discover a butterfly's personal struggle is its strength. We look around and pick and choose from broken resources to design our own template only to find our unique journey is the one He uses to restore us into His likeness. What is it that keeps us returning to the restricted view instead of God's redemptive plan?

There could be a number of reasons we spend more time looking down, but I think most reasons can fit into a package labeled brokenness and distrust. The wounds we've taken in human relationships have an impact on how we approach God. Our perspective of how others have treated us can damage our self-acceptance and our ability to accept God's unconditional love and grace. Until we invest in healing and repair and gaining a healthier perspective we will struggle not to fixate on our flaws and loneliness.

We are being restored to His original design and intent. So if all I am doing is deciding about self, life and God by looking down at my feet or my flaws, I am missing His eternal perspective. I can't see all He is doing but I can certainly look up, look around and see a wonderful work in progress. Too hard to think of yourself as a wonderful work? Psalm 139 tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” When I allow Him to correct my view of Him and of myself I have “checked against another for accuracy”, for the truth. Look up and see what the Lord wants to do in your life. Feet are important for the journey, but they are not the journey. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

This Is What I Remember . . .

It was the summer of 1969. It was the summer of Woodstock and the beginning of the end of the Vietnam war. On July 8, just as the first round of troops were being withdrawn from Vietnam, my sister was born. My brother and I hovered around my grandma, as she talked on the phone, waiting to hear if it was a boy or girl. And twelve days later Neil Armstrong, an Ohioan like myself, spoke the words “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as the world watched the historical moment of the first man to on the moon from their living rooms.

And that same summer on the outer fringes of Mechanicsburg, in a little brick church on Rose Dale Road, I met Jesus. Or rather He came and found me. This is what I remember almost every time I take communion. I remember that 9-year-old girl with freckles who felt so alone and misunderstood, standing among Vacation Bible School attendees, shaken by the truth of His love for me. I knew I had to go forward. It was one of those dividing moments; it was the summer of the most distinct before and after moment in my life.

When the pastor says to take a moment and listen just before we drink the cup and eat the bread, with tears in my eyes, I remember this life changing moment in 1969 when I said, “Yes” to Jesus. My heart overflows with gratitude at the realization that in this great, big world full of people, Jesus made His way into that little country church to whisper in my ear an invitation I couldn't refuse. Communion takes me back to that sweet moment; and I am still amazed He remembered me and found me. Even though He has the whole universe to manage, He came to personally invite me to follow Him into light and life and truth. This is what I remember. I am humbled as I remember, and I am eternally grateful!

There are moments which
Mark your life.
Moments that you realize
Nothing will ever be the same.
And time is divided into
Two Parts:
Before this and
After this.

When a moment comes,
You either do the right thing
Or the wrong thing.

--Joshua Naylor

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