Thursday, July 14, 2011

living in new directions

I've been thinking on choice a bit lately. There's a tension, it seems, between choice/freedom/responsibility...these (words) ideas we use when we talk about our ways of living--our behavior. Belief lies at the heart of behavior.

What do I believe about this world--it's people, patterns, and personality? What do I believe about myself--body, soul, and spirit? What do I believe about God--his person, character, and interaction with all things around?

The answers are found in the way I live. Belief lives and grows in our deepest places, where no one else can see. From there it wells up and comes out in the way we think and choose, and act.

I've learned some things this semester about the thought-life as the "breeding grounds" (so to speak) of belief. What a gift it is that we are thinking beings--intentional, no doubt about it. We've been created with such capacity to ask and wonder, think and learn. We are always thinking and reasoning and living our lives on those conclusions.

I read Romans 12:2 at some point and felt the inspiration behind Paul's charge, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

It's big-deal stuff he's talking. I can tell because I've lived it. I am living it. The transformation of thought is so key to developing healthy patterns of living. Belief to change behavior--to achieve growth and foster maturity. Not the other way around. Not just a modification of behavior. We don't change like that. We just don't. I know this of myself.

I read this just a few minutes ago from Ann Voskamp, "It's only prides hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear."

We all have perfectionist tendencies--some more than others. I certainly do, and I've had to do hard battle with them at times. They won't ever go away altogether but there's value in digging down to determine what's under it all. Why do I feel like I need to be_____ or act_____ or achieve______.

Fear isn't freedom. And this I've learned in some really hard ways this year. I have a feeling I'll be learning it all life long.
Because God is about setting us free from things--free from the world--toward a better life. And we keep getting tangled up with things here. "Don't copy this world...have God change the way you think...know God's good will for you..." Promises we bank on for life, right?

His patience is what gets me. Probably because I lose patience with myself so easily. But He is consistently and constantly present in the ongoing work of learning to be free and untangled. I hope this never ceases to amaze me...and fill my heart with gratitude.

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