An anonymous comment over at E’s blog brought this out… I hope she reads this.
We are expected, as mature Christians, to be content in whatever circumstances are presented to us. So often, this is presented as a virtue in … hm… near martyrdom. “Though He doth slay me, yet I will trust Him”. And that is *good* and *necessary* – in its place. When sorrow comes, when tragedy lands on your lawn, it is good to have that attitude. We give thanks in all times, yes?
But so often I find in my own life that this negative virtue makes it difficult to admit delight in the daily things, because things won’t always be as good as they are today. Understood. But I truly do not believe that we are to dwell on the potential sorrow of another day. I don’t think it does anything useful for our characters. In fact, as far as I can tell, we’re forbidden to do that…
Matthew 6: 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And we’re not supposed to fear anyone or anything except God. In my experience, focusing on the potential negative makes me…
- fear man
- fear circumstances
- spoils my joy
- try to control things that aren’t my business
- fear conflict
I was very touched by this commenter, because she said she’d walled herself off …. oh, dear anon. I used to do that. It saved me pain, and I understand all too well why you’d do that. Allll too well. If I could just hold your hand and cry with you a bit… /shakes head. It may not be time for anon to take the walls down. But for me, it is. High time and long past.
It takes great bravery for me to be willing to admit when things hurt, to laugh in delight as the wind makes a flower dance, to show my inner emotions, to be transparent. To exist without my shields up, to lean only on the Lord my Shield and my Defender, to trust in His provision, mercy and plan. It is a terrifying dance between the desire to be known, utterly – and the desire to keep the parts of me that will cause discord all to myself. To keep my ripples small.
But if I look at things from outside my walls, outside my immediate emotional response, I know that I don’t *want* small ripples. I don’t want to change no one. I want to bless everyone I speak to, touch, see – and I want them to carry that blessing of God along. I want to be so tender that I soften hearts, I want to be so true that I shine the light on the darkness.
I can’t do any of that with my own walls, I have to trust that the Lord will shield me.
And the first step, for me, is to learn to rejoice. To dance. To delight.