Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Wants, Needs and Generosity
It is a radical idea. For me, being still alive right now is a radical idea.
The idea about God giving me wants wafted through my mind one afternoon as I was doing something else. I know people who have a very firm idea of what God wants them to do, God's plan for their lives. There are books about it, seminars, surveys, all kinds of things. It's all too complicated for me. I might have had dreams for my life at one time, but they've all died or been discarded as too heavy to carry around.
God, however, guided me to things I didn't recognize either as answers to needs or as gifts. The first big one was sand sculpture. This is a way to be creative without having to set up a lot of infrastructure, or having a lot of history hanging around. Each day is new, each sculpture is new. They have roots in the past, and they have outworkings in the future, but I didn't pay much attention to that. I enjoyed the act of creating a sculpture and that was good enough; that I became good at it was almost a side effect and certainly not something I planned on.
God also guided me to my job, which has been good enough that I've stayed with it. Between the two of these I had enough stability that I just stayed put while my internal life ran down. A few months before the end He stepped in and, basically, asked if I'd had enough.
What do I really want from this new life? A sense of being worth something, which is a feeling I've never had. I wouldn't trust it if God gave it to me! I'm not sure I'd trust it at all, but I do trust God, and He has promised to cure my depression. It seems that feeling like I'm worth something is important.
All of these internal attitudes, beliefs and assumptions are connected. God takes this tangled ball of colored string and teases out the strands and brings some order to it. Do I want this? Not really. It's an, um, uncomfortable process. A human being is very complex, much more so than our mechanistic culture appreciates, and only God understands us well enough to know what to do, and only He has the strength to do it, the patience to stay with it, and only He has the passion to keep Him interested even when I balk.
The ideas aren't new. Read any novel and you'll find characters in similar situations. What's different is the proposed solution that makes everyone happy by the end of the book. The book's solution won't work in the real world but it's a nice fantasy. God's solutions work in the real world, but we think they're fantasy so we don't trust Him. Psychology has pretty well mapped the human psyche and developed tools to work on our problems, but they're crude and misapplied, as Lu hints in her story.
Only God understands the subtlety of life. Only God cares about the details in our souls, the delicate little parts that get discarded in our efforts to make life possible without the Holy Spirit.
It is absolutely no fucking wonder that we're all depressed! We're trying to live with most of what makes us human unavailable, and Satan has managed to teach us that this is normal! We don't know what to want. The church lacks power because they've replaced trust in God with programs. You know churches are in trouble when Lu can write what she did above, and think she's weird because of it! The church should have taught her this, and taught her that seeing Jesus' face is her new birthright!
I think God has to give me wants because I'm so dead. It could be that what He's doing is uncovering and restoring wants that He put in when He made me. I'm afraid to want anything, and the deeper the want is the more I resist it. Too many times I've reached for things and gotten my hand slapped.
Well, Jesus has never slapped my hand when I've been reduced to just wanting to feel his presence in the middle of a long, cold, sleepless night. Very delicate parts of my soul are beginning to come back to life. I'm terrified. What happens if God abandons me? It will all get hammered back into shards and dust. I don't want Him to abandon me.
He never did. I abandoned him in about 1980, but He never turned away from me. He gave me gifts, He kept me going, He didn't quit, and when the time came that I would listen to him--not easy because I'm so full of mistrust--He showed Himself. A point of light in a dark ocean, one life preserver left on the sinking ship, last exit before oblivion.
What do I need? I'm no longer sure. What do I want? Mainly to be left alone, but I think God has better ideas. Will God give me what I want? I'm not sure I want him to do that! He knows what I need, and He's very generous. I trust that.
Wow. There's a question I haven't asked myself in a long, long, loooong time.
I think I need to chew on that one for a bit...