Aug 26, 2008

Stick Figures and Selfishness

No, this is not one of Cooper's drawings. This is a piece of my journal "art". I've just recently picked up this new quirk from a friend of mine (thanks, Aimee); i've started putting some of my thoughts into pictures. I have, in the past, used charts and graphs as a way to organize my chaotic thought patterns, but upon reading my friend's journal (with her approval-we sometimes share our journals) I saw cute little sketches scattered about and I thought, Hey! Why didn't I think of that? I want to do pictures (whiney voice here)! So, here is one of my latest.

I'm not sure if you can even tell what it is. But this is a picture of where I stand in my family right now (top picture) and what I'm working towards (bottom picture). To the left are the words

My Needs
My Emotions

Around those words are, no, not jump ropes. Those are arms. And to the right of both pictures are me (I'm the one with the beautiful head of ringlets) and my boys...Cooper and Lou. Now, if you can get by the elementary skill level of the piece, you'll notice a couple of things.

Top Picture: My needs are being embraced by me and both my boys are asking me to be with them.
Bottom Picture: My needs are being embraced by God and I'm embracing my family.

Here are the words that I wrote right before I sketched this masterpiece:

"If I could just get my focus off of myself and trust You to fulfill my needs. I've been so dependent on myself for so long--I just don't trust anyone else to care for me. But in taking care of me, I've got nothing left for anyone else! Such an inward focus--everyone else just gets my back."

God has been really speaking to me about living the sanctified life. About being different. About being a servant. It is so countercultural, and as you can tell from my sketches, so against everything in me, yet it is something that Jesus instructs us to do over and over.

"...Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:43-45

These verses are key to me. Yes, they tell us to serve others, even using the word "slave", but they also remind me of how I have been served. Jesus, the King of Kings, gave his life for me. His entire life was a service of love to His people. If that was His purpose and His ambition, who am I to think that I would be any different?

The problem is, I'm afraid that if I don't take care of myself then no one will. I don't trust. I don't let anyone in beyond a certain point. I am protective of myself. But I have found that in protecting myself, in serving me, I shut everyone else out. The people I love the most are left with an emotionally exhausted, frazzled, dismissive woman. I am so tired from taking care of my "stuff" that I have nothing left to give.

Anybody tracking with me? Anyone else out there just sick and tired of being all about themselves? I want so badly to be the woman in the second picture. I want to be confident that my God is taking care of everything that I need, and in that confidence to be freed up to lavish a service of love onto my family, friends, and community. It will be so; praise God. But I've got to learn to trust Him, don't I? Don't we? We have to trust Him with everything and depend on Him for everything.

I'll be honest; I don't think I know what that looks like quite yet. I'm still figuring it out. Right now it consists of revisiting some old, painful, hidden places and exposing them to Him. Letting Him behind the walls and learning how to let Him heal me. It also involves me stopping and turning to Him as a source of comfort when everything in me screams to turn inward and shut everyone out. It consists of me admitting to Him that I can't do it all, that nothing good lives in my flesh. And, presently, it means active surrender. Laying my plans, actions, thoughts and emotions on His altar of truth and love. Is He trustworthy? Will he take care of me, protect me, and lead me in the right direction? His word says he will. Listen to this....Oh, man. I tried to load the video of Coop saying Psalm 23, but I couldn't figure it out. Reading will have to do...just imagine an adorable, chubby-cheeked 4-yr-old reciting it.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

If I'm going to say I'm a Christian, I need to act like it. I need to believe God's word and His word says clearly that He is trustworthy to take care of me. We can trust Him, girls. Let's do whatever it takes to do so. And in releasing our needs to Him, we will find energy and love we never knew we had to serve those around us. No more selfishness.

Father God, this is by far one of the hardest things I've ever had to learn. But please, God, help us to get it. We don't want to be selfish anymore! Give us everything we need to learn to trust you to take care of us so that we can expend our energies on others. We love you, amen.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First of all - awesome art! And thanks for sharing!
Second of all, I know exactly what you're talking about. (of course) While I don't have two boys begging for my attention - I do have a family that I've basically been ignoring and friends that I've just "not had the time" to spend quality phone time with. And I thought it was because I've been so focused on myself and all my counseling issues and my life (which is all true) but also, I haven't been trusting God to help me out with it all. To carry the load. I haven't been trusting Him to be who He WANTS to be in my life...who He says He is...and who He has proven to be!
Thanks for pointing that out! :)
BTW - did you know that when you shared the gospel with me that one night, you infact said, "if you're going to say you're a Christian, you need to act like a Christian." And do you know those words have NEVER left my mind? Talk about the Holy Spirit using you! ;)
I love you - A