Fixing The Eyes…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1–2
To be meek. A gifted teacher. Others-focused and small. What more might I offer if I harnessed my tongue like her, hushed my emotions like her, and was modest? Gentle, unassuming, lowly, and light. Running like script over the life of Jesus, these are the same words I find consequently missing from mine.
I got to spend a section of my weekend with a couple of friends, over long breakfasts and chatty dinner prep. We talked over just about everything on our minds, lately. Personality tests, food preferences, financial management and how it cuts across or merges with faith, loss, struggles, careers and bits of home making. I left with a book to read, a Youtube baker and an IT/computer geek to follow, link to a marathon we ‘want’ to try out, shop references and generally, an improved perspective on a number of things. I talk about one of them today; hopefully we get to discuss the rest on another post. Above list, is a mental stock-taking I did this morning as I prepared to head to church. Such little, blessed joys!
We talked in length about little things that would help us be better stewards of our lives, our work, our finances. Touched a little on comparison and its theft of true joy. When we start to feel our hearts turn cold with envy, it’s easy (and okay) to say we’re unbothered in terms of better clothes, climbing success, an easy singlehood, a season we’re not at yet or a painless life. But sometimes, in the thick of it, we can get wracked with constant wondering and grief — in all our uniquity — if he or she might have access to parts of His likeness that we never will in this flesh. It always picks back at the scab, this deep sense of loss that recognizes our imago dei but lusts still for the other person’s.
I haven’t chewed long and hard on this topic, but maybe someone else just needs to hear that the image of God we see in our sister or brother doesn’t threaten the one He’s forming in us. He may, in fact, be softening edges, teaching me joy, and nudging me to the humility of a quiet mouth, but we should take care to learn about His image in its fullness. The life of Christ is marked by more. He is also radical, decisive, unreserved and sure. He spoke on cliffs with conviction and felt with His neighbors deeply. And often. His words were pronounced and He drew into Himself — His father — for wisdom, and He did it alone. May our hearts be prompted to know Him more. May our desire, through the mundane and the exhausting, be to be found in Him and known as HIS. Therein lies true satisfaction, joy unending and peace of mind and heart.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” ~ Philippians 3:8–12
I hope my sharing this doesn’t translate as some sort of means to justify complacency or mere comfort with the everyday mundane, but I do hope it encourages someone else that there is nothing inherently lost or wasted in them. However polarizing, there is a thread between humanity and Him, and He’s fashioning the whole of it to draw us closer to Himself. I’m sure when we get to look full in His wonderful face, we’ll see the things we can’t right now. Shout-out to all of us out here doing it in the meantime.
“Know that the Lord, He is God!
It is He who made us, and we are His;[a]
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” ~ Psalm 100:3
Lovingkindness calls us Home because He is a shepherd and He knows our name. May He bring us ever closer to Him as the year draws to an end.