Kickin’ the Habit

I’ve got a terrible habit.  I wonder if you have it too.  Do you?  Well, I have it anyway.  It gets in the way of who I’m meant to be.  It prevents me from acting with authority.  It keeps me at a place that should be comfortable but is all too suffocating.  To quote one of my favorite movies, Dead Poet’s Society,

“like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
You push it, stretch it, it will never be enough
Kick at it, beat it, it will never cover any of us.”

This habit acts as though it is the answer to the fear, panic and failing that I am capable of.  The only problem is that it only teases at the solution and only makes the situation worse.  I am so weary of this habit.  So, I’m letting you in on my secret habit that results in such paralyzation.  You ready?  Here it is:

I’m constantly forgetting who I am.  I am constantly forgetting who God is.  I totally overemphasize my power and abilities while completely de-emphasizing the power of the Creator.  When times get tough or uncertain, I reach down and grab hold of my “boot-straps” thinking that if I just tug a little harder on the well-worn straps that I’ll muddle through to the other side.  As if muddling is the answer and my purpose.  So, in choosing my own power while choosing not to remember His power, I obtain a life that is moderately, if I’m lucky, fulfilling.  I think I need to stop and define or illustrate fulfilling.

Here is an example of someone who reacted appropriately to the identity of her Lord,

John 12:1-3 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

And fulfillment:

Mark 14 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

You see, Mary’s fulfillment wasn’t in a more comfortable path in this life.  It was a life without the resources (a pint of pure nard was worth a year’s wages) she had in her possession.  But, it was completely filled with knowing she responded perfectly to the King of Kings.  She opted for tough times over a mediocre response.  If I live my life in the perception that my abilities and resources are all that I have, I’m destined for mediocrity.  In my estimation mediocrity, when it comes to faith, stinks.  So I, today, am choosing to live my life as a fragrant offering rather than a pile of odiferous self-reliance.  Will you remind me of this from time to time?  Mary was right on!

For those who are interested in the rest of the poem from above:

I close my eyes and this image floats beside me
The sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain
His hands reach out and choke me
And all the time he’s mumbling
Mumbling truth, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
You push it, stretch it, it will never be enough
Kick at it, beat it, it will never cover any of us.
From the moment we enter crying, to the moment we leave dying,
It will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.


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