Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Plowing my heart

God is plowing my heart with a little book by Brennan Manning called The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus. Even though it is deeply convicting, I have been able to read it without guilt because Manning has been a voice of grace in my life for years. One exerpt that has stayed with me:

The only possible way to move out of our obsessive self-awareness and into the life of Christ is to surrender ourselves and let God be God. Such a surrender involves mining the field of our hearts and searching for this pearl of God's truth hidden deep within us: we belong to God. This precious discovery makes security, pleasure, and power look like cheap painted fragments of glass (Philippians 3:8) . . .

This loving awareness of being the child of the Father moves us out of a life spent pursuing our base desires and frees us to pursue the kingdom of God . . . We can present ourselves simply to others: "Here I am. It's all I've got." In humble self-awareness and sovereign freedom, we can truly be for others without fear of rejection or concern for their usefulness to us."

I read this page the night before a meeting with a man whom I really wanted to impress--so that he would want to work with me, so that I could position myself professionally for future gain, so that I would feel good about myself. I was consumed with how I would present myself, what I would say, how I would manipulate him into thinking well of me.

Reading this excerpt put everything in my heart right again, as though something that had turned upside down was put right. Without guilt or self-condemnation, I was reminded of who I am--and Whose I am--and that I don't have to fear rejection from others or look for ways to make them promote my agenda. I can simply be a child of my Father and allow him to reveal to me what comes next.

I went to my meeting and then to another similar meeting the next day and in both cases, I was able to be my best self--the self that rests in Jesus--and to care for the person across from me without being obsessed with what they could do for me professionally. This little book, hard to read on several levels, has been a real blessing.


cbalmain said...

This really is the challenge of Christian life in a secular world. Manning's statement is one that probably no one reading this blog would dispute - we belong to God and our self-worth should come from that alone.

But then it happens. You step into your car, and you drive to work, and you're immediately immersed in a world that screams the exact opposite at you. Your success (or failure) at your job is dependent on you. You're the one who has to be responsible for your own life. It all hinges on the decisions you make. I know I live in a constant state of conflict between those two philosophies: I belong to God, yet I gotta look out for myself.

Kinda makes you wanna go live in a monastery.

T said...

Yeah, except the people who live in monasteries say that they have the same problem! I would love to be free from all self-centeredness (except, of course, that nobody knows how to get me what I want better than I do)--but I'll settle for freedom from needing other people to be centered on me as well!