Friday, August 25, 2006
I would be authentic if I could figure out who I am!
God is an artist in sea and sand. This is a view from the beach of Hunting Island looking back over the bay toward Fripp Island, South Carolina.
I'll be 30 years old in November. This seems like a milestone, but I thought I was turning 30 last year until my mother set me straight. So, I guess this year's a kind of do-over. In his book A Resilient Life (try not to focus on the cheesy Christian plug, it's really a wise book), Gordon MacDonald writes about the questions we face at each decade of our lives. About the thirties, he writes: "Thirty-somethings find themselves asking, why am I not a better person?"
That's true. Why am I not a better person? (What does better mean, anyhow? Better than what?)
As I've been thinking about this, I've come to understand the difference between my flesh and my heart. I've always just thought that my flesh was the most genuine part of me, that if I were boiled to bones in a cast-iron pot, my flesh would be what remained. It's a wretched and disabling thought that my core identity springs from the part of me that speaks harshly to my husband, curses my friends behind their backs, is lazy, selfish and cowardly. Nevertheless, I've subjected myself to that idea for the whole of my life. I've stood in front of the mirror, seen the parts of myself most twisted and warped by the Fall of Man and said "This is who you really are. Now, you've got to work really hard to keep anyone from finding out!" Evil was whispering in my ear. What a lie.
I'm recently able to peek out from all of the self-protective layers and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit say to me: You know that part of yourself you've been hiding? That part of yourself you thought was the most real? Not only is that part of you not the biggest, it's not even real. I fixed that a long time ago. I don't remember it. Nobody remembers it. It doesn't drive you. It doesn't control you. What are you hiding from? If your new heart is at your core, there isn't anything to hide.