Wednesday, April 24, 2013

That Sweet Spot Destination (and a little bit of Goldilocks & the 3 Bears)

Many things cause disorientation. Standing up too fast, spinning happy in a circle, vertigo from sickness. Once blindfolded and spun around for pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, one stumbles, disorientated, toward the stuffed pinata and hopes to strike the sweet spot.

As Christians, what is our sweet spot? What is our direction, the spot we must aim for?

Having spent a lifetime with different therapists, I get stuck on concepts like self-esteem, self-confidence, independence - all excellent ways of reaching one's naval-gazing quota. I do not knock therapy; it does many people a ton of good. In my life, however, I think I had an overdose.

While reading all those self-help and life coaching books for years, searching for that meaning of life that seemed more and more elusive, I came to a great amount of peace when I chose God as my North Star, that fixed point in my life.

I've been aimed toward Him for a little over two years now and, while I can't say it's always been easy, I can say it is a lot more comforting and assuring. I don't feel so dizzy and when I do find myself flailing in life,  I re-orientate myself to God, the destination of my heart.

But I do stumble, as all of us do. I sometimes fall back into the blindfold of believing I'm in control of this messy life and that I can fix it. I look in back of me, behind at my past failings, traumas, dramas, losses, and I mourn all that has happened. I sit in the muck and sink. I fall back to naval-gazing, that default of so many years.

After a while I do shake my head - hard - and see that arm reaching down to me, offering to help me up if I would just choose the Helper. And so I let God raise me to new life day in and day out and redirect me. A difficult lesson each time. I chuckle as I realize it must not be all that fun for the Teacher, either.

But there is a certain amount of danger in always looking backward.

First of all, we miss what is coming ahead of us. What would happen if we kept our eyes on God when things became difficult instead of resorting to old coping mechanisms? What would happen if we put all our dependence and need on Him instead of worrying obsessively about our provisions not being met? What kind of life would that be? It feels unfathomable to imagine, but I know God wants that for us.

Secondly, by focusing on our past we remain fixated on what has already happened instead of what can or will happen. We remain closed to possibility and change.

Worst of all, at least to me, we miss what God has in store for us and how God can redeem that which we hoard and hide.

Perhaps we ought to do a bit more head-shaking? Wake-up out of the fog? Re-orientating ourselves toward God, in front of us, always ready to lead us if we should choose to follow. And God does ask us to follow.

My sweet spot is Jesus.

I run to Him when I get lost, when I need help, when I want joy and comfort.

And I try not to look back too often, just enough to remember where I came from. Because just as our destination is important...our origin is important as well. 

How could we appreciate a delicious chocolate cake without realizing it was first a bunch of separate ingredients that had to be crafted together to make the mouth-watering result? So with our very lives, how can we appreciate what God has done, currently, if we do not remember from whence we came?

So there must be a sort of balance, a bit of Goldilocks-and-the-Three-Bears going on. A bit of this and a bit of that. Not too much one way, just enough for good perspective and the Hope we all crave.

Redemption asks us to remember, but remember with eyes on Jesus.

Because we didn't rise out of the muck and the mire,

God pulled us out and formed our lives to glorify Him.

And that is mighty, mighty sweet.

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