Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Deer in the headlights

I am always so disappointed to see how slowly I change and grow. It is a product of growing up in the west where product is what it is all about. It is also a manafestation of the sinful desire to be in control. I seem to struggle with the same issues again and again. That recurrence makes me anxious and I begin to search myself for the why and why not over an issue. The scrutiny only uncovers more issues which in turn breeds more anxiety or more likely for my temperment, depression. Then I begin to freeze. Almost like a deer paralyzed by headlights I cannot get my eyes off of my problems. I become completely self focused, miserable and totally fruitless.

This is what the scripture speaks of when we set our minds on the flesh and the mind set on the flesh is death. The flesh is all about the self whether it in its relationship to others, ourselves or to God. I happen to have a judging sort of flesh so I list to myself all sorts of standards I need to meet, hence the aforementioned self examination. I am so convincing I even tell myself, "The Lord could make better use of me if I didn't have this issue." A good motivation, yes? It leads to death.

The word says implicitly that God will complete what He began in each of us and that He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ. I am convinced that what I do hinders that process because of my desire to control, be instantly gratified and feel better about myself, which is basically pretending to BE God.

Again and again we are called to do exactly the opposite of our nature: to surrender, to offer ourselves up, to relenquish control. It is a great paradox as most of God's principles are. It is not a place of "letting go and letting God" (I hate the phrase because it is a lie), but it is a place of becoming a child looking into the eyes of the Father waiting expectantly for what He wants to create in each of our lives. We are His workmanship.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guest Post From watermirror00

I'm finding that in an artistic journey with God, the enemy is all too often ourselves. We paralyze ourselves with fear and doubt, first when it comes to our work and second when it comes to success, instead of celebrating these precious gifts He's given to us to use for His kingdom. Even beyond that, do we celebrate who we are as children of God, let alone with our abilities or identities?

I studied Jeremiah 29:11 amongst other passages and there's the familiar verse of Him with plans to prosper and not to harm us, but the key here is how pro-active we are. After it says He promises to give us a hope and a future, he THEN says, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, delcares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
I have found that I have often had to put aside my ambitions or even what is natural to me to hear what God has in our everyday lifestyles crowd out His still small voice. God speaks to all of us through His Word about aligning our priorities back into His, and sometimes it's unpleasant and convicting. But through it all I find that the Lord really does take such great pleasure in us...He delights in us as His people and only wants us to reach our full potential.
I am in it right now too. Even with resources in place to further success, I have been frustrated at the lack of results or where I want to go, how burdensome it has become to drum up the promotion and leave time to write, most of all feel like I'm making a difference to Him. But I still have faith that He's going to bring His will to pass, it is up to me to obey and listen...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Walking on water

I have been wrestling with my artisitic call over the last month walking away from the easel and living in a strange yet familiar place.

Over my quiet time last week an image of Peter standing out on the water flashed across my mind as if the Lord said to me,
"You are like Peter. You begin to look all around you hoping in your footing instead of relying on me, become overwhelmed by fear and run towards the boat. This is your pattern."
That boat is the symbol of apathy for me and the water is God's call on my life. This call can create in me all manner of fear because it is unreliable and unstalbe. It is an ocean, though calm and clear when I am in the place of faith, that can quickly turn into a tumultuous sea of doubt that uncovers my deep seated desire for control. It also reveals the cracks in my faith.

I have been in the boat for several weeks. Although it is a safe place, it lies to me whispering to that somehow this is better just like Mrs Victor in "Empire of the Sun." Captured British residents journey from one internment camp to another across China and come to a dumping field covered in opulent furniture. In her weakened state Mrs Victor is convinced that staying there among things remnicent of her life before the Japanese invasion is better than moving on to a place where there is food and shelter. The fear of what could happen or what has happened is too great though it means preserving her life. She dies there on her beautiful velvet chair. I am on the chair but unlike Mrs Victor I KNOW the chair means death (no pun intended.)

I have now turned to face Jesus again. I can see Him out there in it where He lives. IN IT. Now I must contend with His words. He does not say, "Tracey, would you like to step on on the water?" or "Hey, why don't you think about coming out of the boat?" No, no, He says, "Come." My choice now is to decide whether or not to obey. God help me.