What Is Most Personal Reveals What is Real: transparency pulls me toward God

The way we experience God every day is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We can’t help but respond by changing — some call it growing.  This is individual.  It is personal and it is communal.  The Holy Spirit is present, leading us deeper into the wisdom of God through our honesty and openness with one another.

Even if we choose not to reveal ourselves it is evident through our life.     Don’t you think?

One of my favorite quotes is by Lev Tolstoy is

“A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.

I believe it.  I believe that is what makes writing such a healing and positive thing for me and for those that follow along — the openness.  The honesty.

Henri Nouwen put it this way in Bread for the Journey:

We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.”  But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal.  What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let’s not have “double lives”; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.

I do believe transparency within (trusted) community is crucial to the spiritual life.  Keeping our private lives full of secrets only encourages more secrecy.

I have experienced that transparency pulls me toward God. He longs for us.  And by doing so, often it throws me down on my knees.  Humbles me. And within a community where there is mutual dependence, it draws others in thus allowing space for their own transformation.  That is the miracle.  That is it.  The moment in which the attributes of God are seen us.  That is everything.  That is the resurrection and atonement all over again.

Has this been true in your life?  You don’t have to tell me of course, but I urge you to tell someone. And if you find it difficult to reveal yourself — your true self — to others ask yourself why?  And what are you going to do about it?

Be well friends.

Waiting? I don’t think so.

Waiting.   We hardly know what to do with waiting in our culture.

Waiting on things makes me frustrated and sometimes even angry.  I want doctors to be on time, fast food lines to be, well, fast, children to be efficient, packages in the mail to be on schedule — all of it irks me.  I cannot stand to wait.  I do wait.  I will wait.  I am learning but American culture seems to feed the beast of impatience.

Do I then bring this attitude to my time with God?  Do I have a low-level contempt despite all that He has done for me?  I am all too often anxious and uncertain — querulous within.  Doubting that He will speak, even though He has proven himself in the past.  How dare I feel impatient with God, when I cannot some days slow down enough to breathe Him in?

I waited patiently for the LORD;

And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction,

out of the miry clay,

And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God;

Psalm 40.1-2 NASB

What does it mean to know that God is willing by the Holy Spirit to speak to you?  Would you cease striving so hard to know this and that and open up your soul to God to work?

Andrew Murray, in Waiting on God said:

Would God that we might get some right conception of what the influence would be of a life given, not in thought, or imagination, or effort, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, wholly to waiting upon God.”1

Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God.

Zephaniah 1.7 NIV

Our waiting cannot be a ‘means to an end.’  But when you come before God and realize that all you want is His presence, then perhaps the spirit of knowing will come.  It will be nothing you have experienced before, where time slows and you are stunned, awed by the moment of being so full of Him.

” …humble the soul into a holy stillness, making way for God to speak and reveal Himself.

“Let everyone who would learn the art of waiting on God remember the lesson: ‘Take heed, and be quiet;’ ‘It is good that a man quietly wait.’ Take time to be separate from all friends and all duties, all cares and all joys; time to be still and quiet before God.

“Take time not only to secure stillness from man and the world, but from self and its energy. Let the Word and prayer be very precious; but remember, even these may hinder the quiet waiting. The activity of the mind in studying the Word, or giving expression to its thoughts in prayer, the activities of the heart, with its desires and hopes and fears, may so engage us that we do not come to the still waiting on the All-Glorious One; our whole being is not prostrate in silence before Him.

“Though at first it may appear difficult to know how thus quietly to wait, with the activities of mind and heart for a time subdued, every effort after it will be rewarded; we shall find that it grows upon us, and the little season of silent worship will bring a peace and a rest that give a blessing not only in prayer, but all the day.”1

Waiting.  Our mind & spirit in everyday life are constantly, impatiently even angrily waiting for God to work.

He only asks for “a quiet reverence, an abiding watching.”

“‘It is good that a man should quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.’ Yes, it is good. The quietness is the confession of our impotence, that with all our willing and running, with all our thinking and praying, it will not be done: we must receive it from God. It is the confession of our trust that our God will in His time come to our help—the quiet resting in Him alone. It is the confession of our desire to sink into our nothingness, and to let Him work and reveal Himself.”1

If you knew that God

through the power of the Holy Spirit would meet you, would be waiting for you, would go against the world and wake in the dark of the night to be with Him.  I have seen that a whole new life will come.

MHH

1 Murray, Andrew.  Waiting on God.