Sunday, April 16, 2006

In A Moment Of Pristine Clarity

In a moment of pristine clarity, my wife of 35 years observed I was a “high maintenance person.” I knew exactly what she meant owing to the atmosphere of our conversation.

We were discussing the ebb and flow of my obsessions, projects and life goals. As a part of the discussion, we reflected on whether communities understood, or even cared for that matter, what another individual valued as a life goal.

It is safe to say in the midst of our discussion I endured a reoccurring bout with the “poor little me.” There is no one so depressingly fulfilled as a neurotic who discovers he is right. My wife, tiring of my self-analysis, stopped the exercise by going to the bottom line. I tend to spend too much time “maintaining me.”

I guess there comes a time we “stop cutting bait and go fishing.”

For a Christian, there can be no greater purpose than to live in the will of God. Other non-Christian faith groups are oriented around self-actualization, personal growth and supernatural appeasement. The Christian, on the other hand, sees life through a different perspective.

Our goal is simply to develop our personal relationship with Jehovah God made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. The simplicity of the statement is betrayed by a spiritual landscape littered with stumblings, bumblings, and complete catastrophic failures.

My wife’s clarity and her willingness to share with me brought back the truth resting fallow in my subconscious. If my focus is not “on Him” then it is on me. Anytime I focus on me rather than on Him, I am out of line, out of touch and soon out of options.

The best callings, sometimes described as “an internal sense of oughtness,” are rendered mute and powerless when the prime motivator becomes self-oriented.

A physician, once moved by the plight of the helpless, becomes shallow and crass when the needs to pay medical school loans dictate treatment. A teacher, previously overwhelmed by the burden of another’s inability to read, becomes jaded, harsh, and even cynical when they no longer see a student on a journey but rather a barrier to the successful completion of a lesson plan. Even those in vocational religious employment are in danger of losing their life focus and slipping into other visions easier measured and more concretely described.

A Christian believer is to be forgiven for losing their way in a world focused on self. In fact, it is the central message of God’s restorative work. He does forgive. It is through forgiveness that we are brought to Him. It is by forgiveness that we are held to Him.

The power of forgiveness orients us properly. It keeps us before The One forgiving. It instructs us on the proper perspective for our projects, plans and campaigns.

If I am high maintenance, and I have no reason to doubt my wife of over 35 years, I find it is not held against me. Rather, it is used by The Almighty to draw me closer to the only one who can truly maintain my heart, hope and health.

I suppose I will continue to explore new tactics and strategies for life. I am confident, wherever they fall within the explicit or permissive will of God, He will use them to bring into focus His will for my life. He desires me to know and develop a love for Him in response to His love for me.