Friday, August 28

All I Ever Have to Be...

Yesterday morning, as I was making breakfast, an Amy Grant song came into my head. I proceeded to sing it to James, who missed out on the gloriousness of cheesy Christian music in his adolescence. I then proceeded to dig up the tape and blare it through the house while I went through my morning routine. James proceeded outside to cut the grass where he would not have to endure my 80's Christian pop, complete with amazing drum machine beats, great synthesizers and a smattering of sickening cliches. Good times were had by all. Or just me.

By the end of the first side of the tape (hahahaha...tapes...with oldschool), I noticed a definite them of identity, and finding our identity in Christ and who he has made us, rather than in striving to be what we think we should be, or what others think we should be. Here's the lyrics to one of the songs that jumped out to me:

All I Ever Have to Be

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But Im still hurting,
Wondering if Ill ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.

A good reminder for me, as someone who has always struggled with seeking affirmation by being "good enough". It reminded me of a Henri Nouwen book I have been reading lately, The Return of the Prodigal Son (an excellent, excellent, excellent book - I highly recommend it). The book came out of Nouwen's meditations on the parable as depicted in a Rembrandt painting, in which the Father's arms lovingly embrace the returned son. In Chapter 2, Nouwen talks about the fact that a return implies that there was a previous leaving (34). He discusses how the son rejects his identity and goes looking for meaning and importance elsewhere, and says that we too are prodigals when we look for value and meaning outside of the embrace of our father.

I leave home every time I lose fiath in the voice that calls me the Beloved and follow the voices that offer a great variety of ways to win the love I so much desire. (40)
As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all the power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with "ifs." The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much and buy much. There are endless "ifs" hidden in the world's love. These "ifs" enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. (42)

Nouwen concludes saying
I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father? (43)

Why do I keep searching for unconditional love where it cannot be found? Why do I try to be things other than what he made me? I'm sure there are a multiplicity of complex factors, but there is one that really jumps out to me.

I have to be close enough to hear the voice of the Father telling me that I am the Beloved. I have to be still enough to allow him to embrace me. When I don't take the time to still myself, to settle into his embrace and listen to his voice, I am far more vulnerable to the voices around me that say "I love you if....", rather than the only voice that matters, that simply says "I love you." And once I have heard, and allow myself to believe, that I am loved, I can simply be, without striving. Now THAT is freedom!

(Stopping is counter-intuitive, especially in a culture that so values productivity, and beauty. I have to confess that, although I tell myself that of the things I need to do in the morning being in the presence of God is the most important, it usually comes after I've spent time in the mirror, and after I've tidied the house, and then I often don't have time. Perhaps more time with God first would make the other two matter less? My personal challenge in this area.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails