Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude and My Nothingness

Reflections on thoughts from Thomas Merton and The Shack

Self-loathing and lack of self-confidence are not from God. DaVinci knew he created a great work of art when he finished the Mona Lisa. God knew the same think about me the very moment I was conceived. For me to feel under whelmed by God’s design only speaks about my own ignorance. For me to wish I was something or someone else is a rejection of God’s wisdom and love. These feelings and wishes of mine can only lead to despair. They can’t fix anything and they exist without hope because I cannot become anyone else. I can only be me. To really turn this around (metanoia) and to put the devil back in his place (who else would these thoughts be coming from?) I need to value or at least appreciate my weaknesses. Jesus himself didn’t please everyone when he walked on this very same earth! What makes me think everyone is going to like me?

It feels like I keep making mistakes. Am I ever going to stop committing the same sins? It seems I wake up each morning with the intention that this is the day I’m going to make God proud of me. Today I’ll be Christ-like, i.e. patient, kind and gentle. But I only increase my self-accusations and sense of failure if I live my self-imposed rules. It also fuels my need for control. What a mess I’ve created. If God created me uniquely and considers His creation to be special and precious then I can’t increase my value. I can‘t be any more worthwhile than I am. Setting goals like that becomes a useless activity. It brings me to a sense of defeat when I can’t keep them and (duh!) I can’t make God any more proud of me than He was when he created me. He’s not proud of me because of what I’ve done, He’s proud of me for who I am. “Rules only have the power to accuse.” (The Shack p. 201) “And to the degree that you resort to expectations and responsibilities, to that degree you neither know nor trust me.” (The Shack p. 208)          Heavy.

You are wonderful beyond imagination- the pinnacle of my creation and the Center of my affections.” (The Shack p. 192)

My good deeds are more likely to be accomplished and are of much more value if I do them because God deserves them. They are my gifts to Him out of love and gratitude. They show Him I’m trying to look more like my Father by imitating Him. The focus is then on Him and not on me. My lived-out gratitude to God for his indescribably delicious unconditional love becomes my actual life.

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