the created

Duck #87

Have you ever met the artist of a painting, or the potter of a carefully crafted ceramic dish? What about a fashion designer? They create for a living (part of the reason I have such respect for art majors). They create so other people can enjoy. But there’s always that painting, that dress, that bowl that’s not for sale. Why? Because the artist can’t bare to part with it. It’s too beautiful and precious. All they want to do is admire it. They want to admire what they’ve made. They love it and want to look at it and show it off to everyone they know, but it’s not for sale…

 

In the three weeks before the fall semester started, I took a break from most social media. In my last post, I talked about this a bit–at first, it was really, really hard. Being unconnected from what I typically was so connected to proved to be quite the task for me. However, eventually, I fell into a rhythm of being unconnected and…I loved it. Sure, I was still curious about what was going on in the time vortex otherwise known as the internet, but those curiosities remained just that…curiosities. And because I was curious, and wasn’t using my phone to look up answers or search for the latest trends, I came up with my own answers. Rather, I carried my thoughts further than normal because there was no foreseeable end. I could just think and think and think and it wasn’t exhausting–it was freeing.

But you see, at the expense of not being “in the know” socially, I because very “in the know” personally. As a believer, and someone who has grown up in church, the following phrase is not news to me: You can’t really know yourself, until you know who the Lord is. It’s true, but what I discovered during this three week social media hiatus was that I didn’t really know either side of the sentence. In theory I knew who I was and I thought I knew God was, but I found that both my Father and I are far more than I dared to imagine.

This was terrifying and also really exciting. I wanted to know more about the character of God and in turn learn more about myself, but the depth of what I discovered in those three weeks was more than I bargained for. I didn’t have other outlets to distract me or shallow my thoughts when I was burrowing too deep; I was on a break, remember? I had no choice but to think and to pray and to read Scripture. I started to become uncomfortable.
God is personal? He wants to know me? He’s revealing my sin to me because He loves me? The Lord is kind and merciful and just?  Jesus loves me. These thoughts weren’t necessarily new to me, but I was giving myself time to really think about them, time that I hadn’t given myself before and it was…weird…and good. Slowly and painfully–yet somehow beautifully–I was becoming aware of how wretched I am, but how much more the Lord loves me and delights in me because that’s just who He is. A lover and a delighter.

I wrote this in my journal on August 18 at 10:00am:

So how can I walk in this confidence that the Lord is ravished by my beauty? That my beauty moves him? That he looks at me in awe? That he is enthralled with my thoughts? He created me and is overjoyed and elated with what he created. He said it was very good. He said I was very good. I think what I often forget to remember is the fact that I was created. I was created for good works that I should walk in them.

…like the painting, or dress, or ceramic bowl, I too was created to be enjoyed by my Creator, my Artist. Jesus looks at me, at his creation, and enjoys what he sees. But unlike the created inanimate objects, while Jesus is lovingly admiring me, he is also using me. I’m not being used to the effect of wear and tear, but so that I can be better–much, much better…for his glory.

What really bothered me about this deeper understanding of being created was that I didn’t ask for it, to be created that is. I also couldn’t do anything to become more beautiful. My voice doesn’t matter, except it does because God created it and he cares so deeply about what He created. But his love for me isn’t contingent upon my voice. God’s love for his creation isn’t contingent upon his creation, it’s contingent upon himself–extravagant, perfect, beautiful God. I can’t really know who I am until I know who the Lord is. So, who are we? He is the Creator and I am the created. He is love and I am the beloved.

[Lord,
Thank you for creating me. Help me to be who you’ve created me to be and to confidently love others because you first loved me.]
❤ Amen

Some Finished Thoughts

Duck #86

Wanna know something kind of funny? Well, it’s not exactly funny, but it’s interesting…to me, at least. Okay, here it is: I’ve been avoiding my blog. I’ve intentionally been not writing. I’ve been saying to myself that I’m just waiting for inspiration to hit, but every good writer knows that if you wait too long to write, you’ll never do it. Writing is a lot less glamorous than most people think, actually. But honestly, people keep writing about how unglamorous writing is, so you’d think everyone would get the idea by now, amirite?! Anyway, back to the subject at hand…

Avoiding. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a social media hiatus. Honestly, it’ll be better for my ego if you haven’t noticed, even though I really hope you have noticed. (Jk). (Not really). This hiatus has been really good for me and has probably been one of the better decisions I’ve made this summer. It’s forced me to be present where I am–I’m kind of cringing at admitting this because the idea of “being present” has become so culturally popular within the last few years, it’s almost hackneyed. However, despite the bandwagon popularity that “being present” has undertaken, the heart behind it is solid.

As a proud millennial, I am completely aware of my generation’s rampant use of social media and the ways in which it’s become a device of avoidance. We use it to avoid school work, awkward social encounters, talking to family members, etc. Because of this, I decided to take a break from it, and here’s what I’ve realized: I love to live in such a way that other people will find interesting because who other people say or think that I am is really important to me. I’m a self proclaimed people pleaser, but it’s not so much that I want to please people, but that I want other people to be pleased with me. Maybe that’s the same thing, but it feels different. I mean, what’s the fun in experiencing life if I’m the only person that will know what I’m thinking or seeing, right?

Wrong.

Since taking this social media break, I’ve found myself finishing thoughts (shocker!), instead of grabbing my phone to tweet about what’s happening. I’ve found myself noticing  small things around me because my eyes aren’t glued to the latest celebrity dispute. I’ve grown a deeper appreciation for key changes in certain songs because I’ve been able to soak them in instead of posting about how everyone should go listen to them. (I’d provide you with a list now, but I don’t remember all of the songs I’ve listened to recently…it’s been a lot.)  I’ve been forced to notice where I am, take inventory, and be present. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how much I use social media to distract myself from…myself. I think that’s why I’ve been avoiding my blog, because I’d have to intentionally acknowledge the fact that I became aware of how unaware I was. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you know less than you thought.

However, as I have become less, the Lord has become more. Now, this isn’t me saying “take a break from social media and suddenly you’re understanding of God will become perfect,” because it won’t. Mine hasn’t, but I am learning more and more that He is far more extravagant than I give him credit. For some reason, this is really hard for me to digest, let alone swallow. With the time that I’ve given to the Lord, instead of social media, I’ve been going through the book of Psalms. What I’ve seen consistently about the Lord is this: He is faithful, his love is steadfast, he is strong, he is powerful, he is just, he is personal, repeat.

You see, even though I’m learning that I continually come up empty handed, the Lord is faithful, forever loving, strong, powerful, just, personal, repeat. Again and again and again. The question that I keep asking myself is, “Do you believe that? I mean, do you really believe that?” I’ve had time to think about whether or not I have been allowing the truths of the Psalms, of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to sink into my heart. Have I been allowing these truths to sink in so deep that I won’t struggle to want to live a life that other people find interesting? Have you?

 

…[Dear Jesus,
I must decrease and You must increase.]
<3Amen