Thursday, August 26, 2010

"A goal inspired by God is a blessing, by man, a burden."

OK, so that's not an official quote (if there is such a thing). I just made it up. I'm not even sure if ALL goals inspired by men are full on burdens, but I'm definitely starting to see a trend.

I couldn't sleep last night (allergies have been insane lately), and figured it would be a good chance to catch up on my reading from A Slice of Infinity. The essays come in nice little emails to your inbox, but they're far from light reading even in the day time, let alone at 3am. Today's writing was based on Jesus and the paralytic in Luke:

"Which of the two is harder," asked Jesus, "to bring physical healing or to forgive a person's sins?"  The irresistible answer was self-evident, was it not? To bring physical healing because that would be such a miraculous thing, visible to the naked eye.  The invisible act of forgiveness had far less evidentiary value.  Yet, as they pondered and as we ponder, we discover repeatedly in life that the logic of God is so different to the logic of humanity.  We move from the material to the spiritual in terms of the spectacular, but God moves from the spiritual to the material in terms of the essential.  The physical is the concrete external—a shadow.  The spiritual is the intangible internal—the objective actuality.Yet we all chase shadows.  We chase them because they are a haunting enticement of the substance without being the substance themselves.  It takes a jolt, sometimes even a painful jolt, to remind us where reality lies and where shadows seduce.  Our Savior was so aware of this weakness within us that he often walked the second mile to meet us in order that something more dramatic might be used to put into perspective for us.

Now, I don't consider myself to be particularly ambitious, but I am very goal oriented. I wouldn't say I have any huge desires for success or achievement, but I do have focus and determination, both of which I believe are God-given. 

That said, some of the most stressful periods of my life have come from pursuing goals that I've "absorbed" from the world around me. Not just the obvious ones of things like education and home buying, but whole value systems that were programmed into me, and most other people, from a very young age by the world around us.  Lately, I've come to see (yet again) that all my planning and fighting, scheming and clawing, is pretty much in vain. God can do in a few simple steps (though they may take longer or be different from my plans) what would take me all the strategizing in the world. I found out over the weekend that I'm being considered for a leadership position that I would have never been able to negotiate on my own. Where did it come from? From keeping up something apparently small, something that annoyed me, something that was really starting to tire me out, but that God told me repeatedly and clearly not to let go of. I came very close would have been the smart thing to do financially and emotionally and was the advice of a lot of people whose opinions I respect.

I have to remind myself regularly to just let go of my tangible little life, and focus on the intangible things that God's leading me toward. I've gotten much better at it, but still find myself clinging on occasion. 

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