Thursday, March 06, 2008

dialing down

One of our greatest enemies is pure expectation, and I mean the kind that revolves around our wish list, having to do with our perceived needs, wants and feelings. Not that these things aren't important in their place, but they're out of place in us humans, because of sin. They displace God himself: Father, Son and Spirit. And the irony is that in the end they're only really satisfied and fulfilled in God. Which means we must leave the old path of pursuing our needs, wants in accordance with our feelings, behind.

What we need, of course it begins in Jesus, and apart from him this won't happen...., but what we need to do is to "dial down." I mean we need to put our perceived needs, wants and feelings into the hands of God. As we do that, displacing them so that the Triune God through Christ becomes the center, than we'll find that our desires eventually begin to be fulfilled.

This is not easy in this life where sin is simply turning good things into idols so that those good things, no longer received as from their Creator, God, end up sending us down a long and winding dead end path. We may get what we want, but we'll have lost something of ourselves, of our true humanity, in the process. So that what is left is less satisfying to ourselves and others around us.

To dial down for me means to quit my own expectations about life, or what anything in life ought to be. Instead I need to see what is already there and present as gifts from God. And I need to give thanks to God, worshiping only him.

We can do so only in prayer. We need to give our wills over to God and embrace his will, even when we don't understand or maybe just don't like it. Dialing down will end up getting us in on the real good, while failing to do so will see the good not last forever. In God through Jesus the real good does last forever. And better still- along with that- we'll be lost in wonder, love and praise for our God.

This is a process, and like everything else in this life involves growth on our part which will involve repentance from our old ways and repeatedly so, faith open to God's ways in Jesus so that we increasingly are on that path and grow. So that we become more and more confirmed in this.

What do you think about dialing down?


Rachel Mc said...

I think I have "dialed down" a lot the past couple of years and I have tried to "dial up" God. However, growing up catholic and attending 12 years of catholic school gave me the foundation of worshipping at mass only, and the bible was never read at my house because we were never taught how to read it or why we should read it. In 2005 I joined a christian community and learned a lot about the bible, God, Christ and Spirit.
I believe I dialed up God. Now, after the "new" phase has ended I find myself expecting my spiritual life to get easier and maybe even more automatic. That is not happening. I never expected my new christain life to be a cure all, but I expected it to not be so lonely. I am active in my church and with my sons activities and I have wonderful friends. So are my expectations of a christian life too high? I read the like to Eat This Book and it did jazz me to really tackle the bible more and pump up my expectations for my christian life (this is my type a personality kicking in) Maybe my sense of lonliness is actually Spirit guiding me to go to a new phase of spiritual maturity by studying the bible more. If I hadn't dialed down my expectations for my life, I never would have figured this out.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for sharing this.

A good number of people opt out of the faith when their expectations aren't meant. Maybe with your Catholic background there were at least foundations set in place to help you hang in there.

I think God has to change us over time to see things in a different light, but in your case, and in more cases than we realize, there are special problems encountered.

This is where I can see you've developed a strong belief in and desire for community in Jesus, and glad you've been able to find good friends there to help you with your overburdens.

But yes, I think your experience, as you remain in Jesus and go through them will help you mature in him in ways you never would have.

And I like your thought in the end, that where you're at has resulted in you digging into Scripture more, and thus maturing more. So very true. The things we encounter can seem to leave us reeling, but can help us onto a new phase in the journey, important for our growth in the Lord. I know this right now, myself, to some extent.

Thanks, sister.