Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ordinary Clay

One of my favorite things about writing is that a wordsmith never knows how or from where inspiration will come. Several  exchanges with others in the past several weeks has caused me to pause for a bit of introspection. 

I conclude it’s time to confess what I discovered. 

I may not wear my theological convictions as slogans on a t-shirt, but I am about as Christian as one can get, if by definition one who believes in and seeks to follow Christ can claim to be. However I am also a lone wolf, so to speak. For reasons unnecessary to list, while I am a member of the Body of Christ, I don’t belong to a religious group/denomination/church. It has taken most of my seventy years to be 100% comfortable and okay with that.  Perhaps because the world has its own definitions of how to identify a Christian and I don't fit.

Since one is rarely an ‘outlier’ by choice, I freely admit I used to long for like-minded Christian fellowship.  But the longer I have remained in the wilderness of being outside of organized religion, first by being forced, then remaining by choice, the more I sought to learn, the more difficult it became for me to have meaningful fellowship on a spiritual plain. I certainly can interact socially, but neither can I share what I also cannot now unknow. This sounds arrogant but I do not mean it to be. It’s simply describing the difference between requiring nourishment by milk or meat. I’m in the meat stage now. 

Disclaimer note: Getting to this point in one’s spiritual walk is not inevitable and not a requirement for salvation. 

Think of it as graduate school. You have your diploma and now you want to go further. Growing in Christ is as individual a process as each person’s testimony. The conundrum is - it can’t be taught but only experienced. Though some truly anointed teachers, such as Tozer, T-Austin Sparks, Oswald Chambers, etc., have each put out the syllabus for seekers to follow to their own higher education.

I understand the human side is to desire to share and connect, to uplift and be uplifted, to maintain accountability to something. Humans are hard-wired for this. But some of this is just a natural yearning for confirmation from others, that you are on the right track. Birds of a feather flock together for a reason. In my personal journey, that I know has no real end until my last breath is exhaled, I finally realized that the only confirmation I really need is from Jesus. If I am pariah to the world, if I do not nor ever will ‘fit in’ as long as I know I am pleasing to Him, I can do His bidding and no one else has to see or acknowledge it. In fact, given the state of the world nowadays I think I would be somewhat alarmed if suddenly the world noticed or understood me. God forbid! :-)

When I was younger I assumed there was a specific calling for my life. As I grew up in the spirit I finally understood that I am simply called to BE His will. Every small, unnoticeable call that I have stepped up to is all that was required of me. It is my opus, my body of work. As simple as a prayer, as complex as a physical reaching out of a hand up. God is not bound by our definition of size or meaningfulness. It’s not the doing it that matters as much as the willingness to say,  "Here am I, Lord. Send me!”. This still amazes me.

It's another of those great mysteries though - to grasp that nothing we are or do matters as much as the act of simply obeying, even if you never know why, even if ‘going’ means staying right where you are and silently praying as you are prompted. 

So, here I am, just a lopsided, lumpy, empty vessel at the ready to serve, whatever that might be. Nothing grand or noteworthy. Nothing to share with or teach anyone else. But this, then, is also my consolation for lack of fellowship. Those several degrees of separation also protect me from the slings and arrows of the madding world. I am grateful.

Thank You, Lord!

For Him,

Romans 9:21 - Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?