Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Toward Freedom XII
It turns out that I was wrong again. Awareness, as such, isn't a problem. It becomes a problem when awareness is extended to become an early warning system. It's kind of like being in a car driving east from Kansas City and worrying about someone running a red light in Poughkeepsie. Long-distance warning works for ICBMs and asteroids, where you get clear line-of-sight, but in daily human life can be a real burden. There's always one step farther things can be projected in order to "solve the problem before it becomes a problem."
Some early warnings are clear. It doesn't take too many examples, nor all that much awareness, to see that drug addiction is a dead end. I saw enough of that in college. The more subtle threats, well, how do I even know it's going to be a problem? Seen so far away it has only a shadowy appearance or feel. Judgment is required and it's safer to err toward keeping my distance.
So, there I was walking to the library when the thought came to me presented whole and round, a gift from God. "You don't have to be aware of everything." It sounds like a small thing. I've used God as an excuse: "I can't do that because it might, in some far future, connect to something else, which might lead me to do something God wouldn't like." I used to pitch this as self-protection. Kind of interesting how I started blaming God, when he has never criticized me for anything other than turning away from him.
I'm still not sure how much is up to me, and how much is up to God. Jeff made an interesting comment about "having a compass but not knowing how to use it." It's clear to me that what I choose makes a difference. I trust God's guidance in the long term, when there's time to think about things, but what about short term? Jeanne mentioned not wanting to get out of the boat, which is one of those standard Christian "encouragements" people beat themselves up with. What's often left out is that Peter asked Jesus to call him to the waves. And they also leave out the part in which Jesus rescues Peter after the wind scares him. Well, wind scares me, too.
It's easy to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what God wants. When he picked me back up in 2003 I told him "You're going to have to make it clear to me. If I have no clear indication from you, I'll just keep doing what I see fit." That's what we've done since. He has had to rescue me many times and it's never done with judgment.
So, perhaps the same idea applies to threat awareness. The ones I see I can respond to. The ones that are too far away for me to know about yet, I can leave in God's hands. At least, that's my thinking now. It's remarkably freeing.
I have often been misled by fancy thoughts. What seems to be an answer is just another layer of words, a name used to make something comprehensible without helping to solve the problem. God's constant awareness is a light that draws me back, and shows truth. My path wavers back and forth, does loops and meanders, crosses itself, and at times I just find a hole and hide. God's light is still there, a gentle call. His hand is always there to hold when I'm shaking and sinking.
Real answers eventually prove themselves in how they work. This takes time. Beware of anyone who demands that you make a decision immediately because "this deal won't last for long." False emergencies are the salesman's favorite trick, and they obscure the real emergencies. Saving a human soul is the emergency on which God has focused his resources. Each whole human being, one at a time, doing anything that's needed.
I've probably made this a lot harder for myself than is really needed, but I've been lied to so often that I really need to test everything. I'm getting to the point that I have some confidence in God's guidance. I can loosen up on my control of things. Today, anyway; who knows what tomorrow will be like.
2012 July 31