Friday, January 28, 2011

"The Walk"

I just fell in love with this poem I discovered...

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces. (Another translation I found says "But what we sense is the falling winds")

Translated by Robert Bly

Rainer Maria Rilke

This poem is a beautiful metaphor for the way I seem to view life... "So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp"...I am grasped by all these dreams of what I hope to experience in the future (in my mind), yet I cannot grasp them (tangibly) yet. There is an inner light within these dreams and visions, even though I know they are a ways away, and they make me press on and keep living with excitement and hope and promise, even if not all of my dreams come to fruition. Yet, as I press on in life, the light ahead leads me to change; my dreams may change and my life may take unexpected twists and turns, but through this I will become a more complete picture of who I am... But I should never stop or freak out because this was not my original plan...this was not who I thought I'll call out to God and he'll answer with a, "Keep moving, Julie. This is who I'm molding you into." Yet in my humanity, I will undoubtedly sense feelings of failure that I didn't achieve this or that, or go there, or whatever I had originally envisioned my life to look like.

What an accurate portral of the human predicament. I wonder how old Rilke was when he wrote this and what made him write this. I feel like he and I were kindred spirits...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let's See What's Behind Door Number Two

I picked up A.W. Tozer's "The Pursuit of God" again tonight. It's been a few years since I've read it and I found it while I was looking for another book on a shelf in the basement of my home. It was a book I remember really loving and one in which I was able to be encouraged and moved to a greater spiritual depth.

Right now, I really don't have any complaints in my life. I have one more semester at Taylor that I'm about to begin, and while I am beginning to get a little anxious about the future, I know God will provide and lead and bless me. He's always been faithful, so why worry? (Glad I can say that with much more confidence than I could have in past years). Yet, I haven't PURSUED God in awhile. I've been pretty happy-go-lucky and feeling in control and steady.

I have 2 doors I could walk through:

Door 1: Continue living life how I am, trusting God, not moving the waters any...not shaking the boat. Smooth sailing...keeping it safe, keeping it cool. Doing the sensible things that people around me will understand. I think I'll be content with what's behind door 1. It's safe, and while I crave adventure, I am somewhat fearful of making stupid, rash decisions, of leaving where I'm comfortable and familiar. And what in the world does it mean to hear God's calling? I don't hear anything. So I think I'll just stay in my content little world I've created until I hear a voice or feel the ground shake beneath me.

Door 2: Actively choose to dig deeper into my soul, into the character of God, to pray for God to shake the boat, ask God to take me out of my comfort zone...away from any selfish desires or dreams...away from what Julie wants. That's scary. I don't like that option. I want to want that option. But that takes guts and discipline and solitude and intentionality. It means other people asking "Wait...why are you going there? Why are you doing that?" It means ME being strong enough to withstand others' criticisms/questions/opinions, and believe firmly enough in the Spirit's prompting and follow that solely. And ultimately, it means me LEARNING how to discern the Spirit's prompting and really trust in it. To strip down my own thoughts, emotions, goals, theology, desires, etc, to the point where I know whole-heartedly that whatever I set forth to do comes from the Lord and not from me.

Behind both doors lie good things. Whatever path I choose, God will guide my steps. He will always be faithful and He keeps His promises. But if I go through door 2, that door that sticks and is hard to push open, I know I'll find a greater prize awaiting me.

So I'll push. I'll pray, seek, listen, meditate, cultivate the life of the Spirit, and obey.


Excerpts from Tozer's book that struck a chord with me:

"We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him...The experiential heart-theology of a grand army of fragrant saints is rejected in favor of a smug interpretation of Scripture which would certianly have sounded strange to an Augustine, a Rutherford or a Brainerd.

In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray 'O God, show me thy glory.' They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

...The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

...he recommends that in prayer we practice a further stripping down of everything, even of our theology.

...We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true.

...there is little that we need other than God Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing."


Amen, Tozer. Amen.