Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Realizing Success

Ah, yes, I can hear it now. "What has happened to Larry? Now he's joining the throng of people who think success is merely a matter of telling yourself to expect it?" Oh, ye of little faith. Bear with me. I'm as irascible as ever.

Lu wrote, in a comment, "You know, I meant the chew toy thing as kind of a slam, but you've taken it and turned it into something beautiful. I love this line: 'We bear God's toothmarks in direct relationship to how much we let him love us [...]' I like the idea of bearing God's teethmarks, I just wish they weren't always so sharp. I realize they have to be that way to fend off attackers and soul-stealers, but dang, sometimes their truth and wisdom can hurt."

Well, Lu, put yourself in God's place. You see this red-headed woman who hurts desperately. Her temptation is to go with band-aids, but you, as God, know that band-aids don't work. The wounds might feel better for a time but there's no real healing. You know, as God, what needs to be done.

Consider your restrictions. Because you're God you could just force the changes, but the creature left after that operation wouldn't be human. It would be an organic robot, unable to learn, to make choices, to delight you with creative surprises. You have to cure a being who is so steeped in sin that she doesn't recognize real life except occasionally. You have to bring her to seeing that real life, and seeking it, even when human beings resist change. There's good reason for that, because so many people in this world want us to change to suit them. In short, you have unlimited power that you can't use. You have to use wisdom, delicacy, subtlety and careful timing. How better to describe "sharp teeth?" You have to be very deft to bring about the desired change without killing the spirit of your child.

So, we have God working to change a moving target. I know that most of my own pain comes from twisting and turning to avoid contact with God, for all that I know his is the Voice of Life. It takes TIME to change all those old deadly ideas. If I feel the occasional nip of a God-tooth it's just the gentlest possible reminder that this is serious business. You invite God into your life, His very nature requires His best effort on your behalf.

Yah, it do hurt. We don't know where we're headed and have less idea of how we'll get there. We just have to trust that God knows us, knows our heart-needs, and even more, trust that he cares. This last is hard for me. The learning process has taken 36 years. So far. It's far easier, and safer, to believe that no one cares.

God expects skepticism. It's nothing new to him. He knows that he has to start at the very beginning in separating us from illusions. He knows that I don't really believe in success; the best I'll ever do is stave off failure for a time.

The key point here is that God isn't just a concept, but a genuine, real, Person Who is working to produce real change. Be glad of those nips you feel, because they mean that the God you follow is completely different from the fuzzy warm ideal of the New Age everything-is-wonderful. That's a god that is just sort of Valium. Our God has a real purpose in mind: whatever we learn here will be carried forward for eternity.

No less a heavy hitter than Thomas a Kempis agrees with me here. Well, I guess I agree with him, as he predated me by quite a bit. Aristotle, too. It's a hard path. Pain, confusion, anger accompany our introduction to God's reality, but the soul-thread pulls us onward. However long it takes our souls learn to recognize God's voice and life.

In other words, I think a lot of our pain is self-imposed. If we can learn to accept what God shows us we won't feel his teeth quite so sharply. Of course, that will open the door to further change. The key is to learn how to live with God on your own terms instead of accepting what you've been taught.

It could be, too, that churches are getting the point. Eric Bryant, he whom God encouraged to let me invade Mosaic, wrote about the missing ministry to intuitive types. Maybe I'll go back to church if this actually comes about. I just know people will never realize success when it's not success designed for them.

The key is to learn how to live with God on your own terms instead of accepting what you've been taught.

This would be a good bumper sticker....
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