Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let God be amazing.

I've been silent on the Internet for weeks, but that doesn't mean my mind has been quiet, or that I haven't been writing. In fact, I started drafting this blog post over a week ago, though it failed to come together until this past weekend.


I turned off my alarm and leaned forward, with a wordless mind. And there was a void there to be filled, just as there is every morning. How would I start this day? What would be the opener? Then, I heard this:

Let God be amazing.

It was clear, and it made sense. Instead of me. Because I had spent the weekend forcing myself to rest and to accept who I was and what my limits were, and this meant that I was “unprepared” for Monday: at least in my own perfectionist kind of way. To think that the pressure was off this morning was the motivation I needed to be filled with joy, to put one foot in front of the other, to move myself toward what He had in store for me—with hope. If I show up, and if I step aside, He will be amazing; I will be amazed.

A few steps later, I was standing in front of the mirror, multi-tasking eyeliner and the Bible on my iPhone, and I cringed in fear, and dread, and skepticism, as I read “Leviticus” on the screen. But I heard it again:  

Let God be amazing. Instead of me. In Leviticus.

In the burning bush. (Which is Exodus, I know, but stay with me). 

And these words meant so much to me, so immediately, because this story of God's had been bothering me. I had been wondering about how I might feel if the God of the universe were to reveal Himself to me as a gathering of flames illuminating a bush in the night. I had been imagining myself, unimpressed, underwhelmed, and unable to discern Him as the God of goodness. And yet, frightened. I know that most of that is the point, but I still think it’s an odd depiction of God that doesn’t quite line up with the Him I am coming to know. These are the kinds of little details that derail my mind—that choke and suffocate me, though I press on.

I confessed these things to Eric, and he remained as calm and composed as usual. He said that if I had been there, if I had seen the flames recede and the bush unharmed, that I would have been in awe of God and that it would make sense. I'm thinking about that now, realizing that God is so unknown to me. God is like a flame that does not turn a thing to ashes, yet fiercely burns and flickers and illuminates all the same.

Eric reminds me that there is a difference between revelation that brings me closer to God, and revelation that is arrogant. Because when I don't get it, I insist that I should. And I play the fool so often, limiting His wonder by believing that my capacity to perceive and proclaim it through a broken, skeptical lens (that has yet, if ever, to see the fullness of His wonder) will be what defines Him in this world. I am not responsible for making God seem amazing in the midst of these messy Old Testament texts. 

Let God be amazing.

I say it over and over, sighing sighs of relief and imagining myself shrinking in His ever increasing presence. 

But yesterday it felt as if He broke through me, and into me, and made His place in my heart and my soul anew, and I bet my skin could have sparkled as Moses’ did when the Lord passed before Him: "the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6). It was that moment when I determined to let God be amazing in me, as well. Because God never asked me to shrink, but rather to become translucent so that His light and His presence would be known. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
-Marianne Williamson

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