Monday, August 14, 2006

to be fully alive

i came across a prayer of Gregory Nazianzen today while reading the book, "the relentless tenderness of Jesus" by brennan manning; esse quam videri-- to be rather than to appear to be.

sara groves has a song that always resonates with me:

know my heart

why do i pray-- do i pray to say i prayed an hour? why do i love-- do i want you beholden to me? why do i help-- do i want to hear my name called out? why do i sing? search me and know my heart oh God. see if there is any wrong thing in me. all i have ever really wanted are clean hands and a pure heart. why do i tithe-- do i tithe so i can get a blessing? why do i praise-- do i praise to do the right thing? why do i serve-- do i serve so others will serve me? why do i sing?

so often i can't tell if i'm being loving because the Holy Spirit is loving others though me and giving me the control to not act out of my anger or frustration-- or if i'm being "loving" because i want everyone to think i'm an incredible person. sometimes i can't tell if the Lord is giving me the peace i need or if i'm just creating a counterfeit "peace" myself by telling myself to be cool and everything will work out. inevitably, this fails! i know so much of our lives are spent doing image maintainence on the outside of ourselves-- not wanting anyone to see the cracks and know our faults-- and also not wanting to let the Lord in to heal and cleanse us from the INSIDE first-- allowing all the junk to rise to the surface where everyone can see it before it's cleared away. the "outside" of ourselves can't be really beautiful until we allow the Lord to do that work within us first to make us whole.

i don't want to appear to be loving-- i want that fruit to be produced from my heart- a clean heart. i don't want to seem faithful, i want the Lord to do that work in me and in my life. i don't want to just make a choice in my mind to give someone grace, i want it to be motivated from my heart's desire to give grace as the Lord does, and as an extension of what He's already given me. i don't want to apprear to have it all together. i want to be WHOLE. i don't want to give the impression that any good thing in me is the result of my own ability, but instead that it is the work of Jesus Christ in my life. i don't want to live life on autopilot, making mechanical choices to make sure i've gone through the checklist of how to act if you're a good christian. i want to be fully aware and fully present for every moment i have. i know God wants us to be fully alive and fully devoted to Him so that He can do an incredible work in us, and through that, do an incredible work in this world. but God, if i'm going to do that, i'm going to need a LOT of help!

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