Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shaping My Heart

I have decided to reproduce here the post from one year ago, May 19, 2011. I am doing this because I am lazy. But more importantly, I find that these words still have value. In fact, if I wrote something now, it might very well turn out to sound much like this. O sheesh, it seems that I just write the same things over and over again. Yes, I am inclined to repeat things, to ponder out loud (as all my dear students know well - and many of you would take a little siesta during my lectures, because you knew that you weren't going to "miss anything that would be on the TEST"). 

Perhaps I feel like I need to hear the same things every day, because I don't really understand them--or rather, I understand them with my mind, but they have not yet shaped my heart. I have my desire for God, and my weakness, and the inclination toward discouragement that I must fight every day. But Jesus is present, and He is drawing me to Himself and winning my soul with the love and mercy that He gives to me now. As I read the words below after one year, I do find that perhaps I understand a little more; perhaps I have grown in my heart.

But I do not set myself up as the judge of such things. What really matters is Him. I begin to know myself in the measure in which I grasp that I belong to Him right now. This recognition generates the real possibility to love everything, because every circumstance and every person are His invitation to my freedom, to give myself to Him. The whole world, and the whole of this day, are full of His grace, calling me to discover Him and to love Him, and creating in me the capacity to embrace Him and thus enter into the true meaning of myself and of reality. I belong to Him, and it is through life that He carries out the work of shaping my heart according to His heart.

Well, it seems I've written a post after all. Something conquered my laziness. Still, here are my thoughts from a year ago:

It's easy to fall into the tendency to think of "Christianity" as merely a worldview, or a collection of ideas that explain the universe and direct us regarding what we should do. It's easy to act as if Christianity is primarily an intellectual system that has to be expounded and defended in competition with other intellectual systems. In fact, it's easy to go through the day reading about Christianity and writing about Christianity and talking about Christianity--all the while seeming to forget the reality that makes it worthwhile:
Jesus Christ.
How do I live so much of my life without an awareness of Him? Why does my heart not converse more with Him? O sure, I "pray"--but it's like I'm an official making a report to my boss from time to time. Or even if I speak with Him in sugary, "personal" terms, so much of it is still a game of dodge and duck, an effort to "love" Him but still keep Him at arms length. Which, of course, is the way I interact with the human persons who are important in my life. Please don't enter the fear zone.
But He said, "Do not be afraid."
How seldom do I just enjoy being with Him. Of course I have to attend to the many tasks of life. But He is with me, and He is inside of those little things. I feel as though I say morning prayer and then leave Him there on the wall. Why do I try to leave Him behind?
Sometimes I will turn to Him during the day, even with great intensity...when I need something! "Jesus, give me...." I suppose there is something childlike in this; I tease my own children about it, telling them that they seem to think my name is "Daddy Can I."
So what's the problem? I love Him. Of course I do. But I take Him for granted. And I am a little...afraid.
"Fear is useless. What is needed is trust."
I know. But I am still afraid. Why? I'm afraid that I can't measure up to Him. Of course I can't. I'm also afraid to let Him do what He wills with me. Lord let me see that what You want for me is for my happiness. It's the only thing that can make me happy.
I want to love You more, Jesus. I want to trust in You more. I want to live my life as a relationship with You.
"Lord, you know that I love you." Under all the junk and the forgetfulness and the fear, I love you. Jesus I love you. Jesus I trust in You. Have mercy on me. Deepen my trust.