How We Hate Dependence!

We love God, but we hate dependence. Does that sound contradictory?
It should : ) For the very nature of faith invites, ( and presupposes) a ‘leaning on’ someone with greater strength than our own. For this very reason, there are some who’ve called faith a psychological crutch invented to prop up weak minds. Not going to debate that here, but stating it to point out that even the scoffers recognize that Faith and Dependence are inextricably intertwined!

And yet..here’s the strangest thing – all of us who profess to have ‘faith’ would actually hate to find ourselves in a place where we’d actually HAVE to exercise it. Think about it for a moment.  Recall that time when all you could do was pray?! When the bank balance dwindled, when circumstances demanded a response of character we did not possess, when the project at hand asked for talents and skills we couldn’t cough up, when our bodies needed a cure that the doctors couldn’t provide, and we were pushed into that corner where we became fearfully, hopefully, resentfully, despairingly dependent on the Author of life – did we welcome it?  When life ‘forces’ dependence, we don’t generally like it very much.

Personally, this causes me some introspection  – What nature of faith is mine that so despises dependence?  If faith is what I extend to God only when I absolutely have to, then what’s my confidence leaning on the rest of the time?  Is God just an ‘emergency exit?-  a ‘place’ to run to when the building catches fire?

I’ve been learning something precious that I’d like to share with you. I’m learning to not despise dependence but rather to relish the opportunity for it.   Don’t get me wrong. None of us are masochists here. We don’t ( I hope) love pain. Nobody likes the feeling of being up creek without a paddle.  But the ‘out of control circumstance’ gives us a sacred opportunity to affirm the One we call Father!   I’ve made a small shift.. I used to resent circumstances that made me feel vulnerable, uncertain or anxious, but now these periodical hiccups on the road awaken a different response in me…they cause me to gladly and expectantly choose dependence.  There’s a big difference between finding oneself dependent and choosing it.  In the first instance we lean on God because we believe we have no alternative – a bit like climbing up a tree in the face of an oncoming Tsunami. It’s not that we like climbing trees but in view of what’s in front of us, there’s no better option. Choosing dependence looks a bit different – it’s like facing a lone mugger on the street knowing you have the nation’s military defending you.  Again, it’s not that you enjoy the experience of being mugged, but you know that you possess a hidden strength and what you enjoy is the opportunity to acknowledge it!

When the Apostle Paul said that he boasted in his weakness, he was not I think saying he enjoyed being weak.  What he enjoyed was the power of God made perfect in His weakness! His dependence on God was in short, helping Him see and experience more of God!  That’s why he rejoiced in his weaknesses!

Under-girding all of this of course is the gut level knowledge of the Father’s love and goodness towards us. Without this foundation it’s difficult to become a child in His arms when the winds are contrary. Our innate independence dims the diligence of our prayer life and our reading of scripture, so when the storms come we are thrust into an unsure, fearful clinging rather than the warmth of security.  

Truth is, dependence on God should be an intentional way of life for the people of faith, and not an intermittent shout when we find our beds on fire!  Or even a reluctant reliance given to Him when “there’s nothing more that we can do”. Isn’t that why Jesus sent out his twelve disciples on their first independent mission with the command to take no purse, bag or sandals for the journey? He was I believe teaching them the very substance of faith – a life of chosen, wilful dependence on the Father. Which begs the next question – what choices would we make if we lived out our lives  from a place of proactive dependence on God rather than always from the reactive kind? That is, what if we were open to making life choices that invited vulnerability and dependence rather than having ‘twists on the road’ thrust these upon us from time to time?

I do believe that if we were to walk down this road of wilful, joyful dependence on the Father, we’d find ourselves in a place of loving faith more than sight – that is, the secret delight of being certain of what we do not see might actually surpass the momentary exhilaration of beholding the long awaited miracle! In other words we’d grow to love the journey from dependence to dependence…from relationship to ever deepening relationship with our Father in Heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valuable

I’ve shifted houses about nine times in this lifetime and the tenth one seems imminent!   Every shift has down-sized my possessions with uncompromising lines drawn between stuff that will move with me and stuff that won’t.   The ‘chosen ones’ that survive these intermittent upheavals are the ‘old faithful’s’ – these include utilitarian items; pots and pans, linen and the like as well as articles treasured for their aesthetic value.  But making it to the pile of ‘movables’ are also things that don’t rightfully belong there – things neither attractive nor useful!  Stuff like a faded t-shirt from high school, a crayon sketch given by the neighbour’s kid (now married with two kids of her own!) and a love note scribbled on a post-it.. These are things that wouldn’t even make it to the second-hand sale shop but they’re the very ones that enjoy an unfairly privileged position in the house. What makes them valuable is not any intrinsic worth they possess, but the simple fact that I value them!

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Basically Mature

“To be Mature is to be Basic”

(concluding part of a three part series called, “Firm Foundations”)

How counter-intuitive this is!   Maturity involves a return to basics.
In other words,
the path that grows our souls involves re- engaging with foundational truths over and over and over again!  How confounding this is for us! 

In some ways, it feels like being demoted to kindergarten just when we were getting ready to enrol ourselves in the advanced Shakespeare- club!  We were so sure we were past that hurdle, but now here we are, at the starting line again, when we believed we’d walked a thousand miles forward.

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“To be mature is to be basic” – Colossians 1:28-29 (The Message)

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Firm Foundations

Living in Upside-Down Houses

Part two of a three-part series (8 min read)

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A lifetime ago, I was in college : ).. doing a Post- Grad Diploma in Social Communications & Media. Back in ‘those days’ they weren’t many institutions offering Mass Communication Courses and those that did, focussed their energies on teaching their students the how to’s – how to shoot a video, how to take a photograph, how to write a script, how to construct a press release and so on.. But this Course was different.
We worked from an out-dated studio; our cameras were functional but not state -of -the- art and while lectures on the mechanisms of video, film- making, journalism etc were part of the curriculum, they were clearly not central to it. I’ve never forgotten the words of Jeroo Mulla, the Head of the Department – “ You can learn all about the latest communication technologies out there, she said, “ but will you have anything to say?” –
A truth that’s dawned brighter in my understanding ever since I first heard it – foundations must come first; content must necessarily precede form. Messages derive their impact not from the slickness of the presentation but rather from the weight of its material!  Jeroo’s clarity of focus transformed my life.  She taught me that the “what” was foundational and that the “how” though not unimportant built on it. Foundations – how terribly important they are and sadly how often we miss recognizing them. That’s the problem really – we plain don’t ‘see’ what must stand on what! And consequently our lives look like houses that are built upside-down.

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Firm Foundations:

Foundations Don’t Auto-Correct

Part One of a Three-Part Series ( 5 min read)

I’ve been swinging back and forth like a
yo-yo on some decisions I’ve to make for Roshini and Vir (my five and four year old darlings) with respect to their schooling.
At times, I’m tempted to think, “for goodness sake, they’re only four and five!  Does it really matter whether I continue to home-school them or not or which school we put them into Is it such a big deal at this stage of their lives. There’s more than enough catch-up time isn’t there??”  I find myself thinking the same way when I make mistakes in the way I discipline them.  Pacifying thoughts in my head that whisper,
I’ll make it up…later”. I take for granted the sunny smile that follows the cloud-burst and soothe my smarting conscience with words – “see, they’ve forgotten..they won’t remember..they’ve forgiven mama for losing her temper ..again.”

Continue reading Firm Foundations:

So, here we are..!

Well, here I am getting started on a journey that I’d never dreamed I’d undertake! –the beginning of a formal endeavour to make my many random jottings and musings public!

Being a contemplative sort, I tend to from time to time stumble upon (what seems to me), a treasure and when I do I’m gripped by a pressing need to wave the newly discovered ‘gem’ high up in the air for everyone to see!  For the moment at least, this blog serves no grander purpose than that!

And yet my secret hope is that this will not merely be a “see what I see” exercise -for these contemplations center on the One who alone is worthy of eternal contemplation and my desire is that these meditations will fill our hearts with greater affection for Him and give us some ‘juice’ to face the day!

So, do look to this space from time to time, if you feel so inclined : )

” I am the light of the world, and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness”     -Jesus ( The Bible, John 8:12)

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