Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Life...

Today is my birthday.  Forty-three years on this planet.  I have received many gifts over the years.  But I have to say that the best gift I have ever gotten was this gift of my life.  God has giving me life.  Not just a living, breathing type of life but a life to be lived. Sadly though, for most of those 43 years I never felt like it was really mine.   It seemed like it belonged to everyone else and I had little say over it.  It was like everyone else had access to my life but me.  God as well… especially God.  I can’t tell you how many sermons I have listened to about how ‘my life is not my own but belongs to God’ and how I ‘HAD to give over control of my life to Christ or how could I call myself a believer’.  Spiritual leaders can use these ideas to control and manipulate people… all for their own good mind you (that last bit was laced with heavy sarcasm).  If you are someone, like me, who really wants to do the right thing then this can be recipe for disaster.  Oh, you may be conforming to what you have been told God expects of you but inside you feel like you are in a cage with no way out.  Trapped.  And you begin to slowly die inside.  At least that is what happened to me.

Thankfully, something began to change in me.  God lead my husband and I out a very unhealthy church and I began to see things a whole lot clearer.  It is amazing what distance can do for a person’s perspective.  This whole idea of ‘my life is not my own’ began to change.  I realized that how I was seeing it was a little fucked up.  Not totally wrong but not fully developed either.  I began to see that God did give me my life.  As a gift.  To me.  No strings attached.  Because isn’t that what a gift is?  Can you imagine giving your kid a gift at Christmas and after they open it, you tell them that they HAVE to give it back to you?  What kind a gift is that?  It is not a gift at all.  And just as a parent wouldn’t expect or demand that, neither does God.  He gives us each a life and lets US decide what to do with that life.  We can choose good things, healthy things.  We can choose bad things, unhealthy things.  The point is that we get to choose… we are free. 

There is a part about ‘my life is not my own’ that rings true though.  There is definitely a theme throughout the scriptures of ‘yeilding to God’ and ‘letting go and trusting God’ and ‘losing your life to find it’ but it is not about becoming a drone or a slave.  It is a willingness to join yourself with God.  To be woven together in this perfect unity with him.  To be in the place that we were always meant to be.  That is a place I want to be.  But it is something God offers us, not demands of us.  And the only way I can give my life is if I truly possess it.  God wants me to want it.  And he is under no compulsion to force me into anything.

And that brings us to today.   A day in which I will be celebrating this life that God has freely given me.  A day in which I can begin to ‘give’ myself to God.  And even though it may be a slow process, with lots of bumps along the way, it is a sincere and honest one.  And that makes me smile and fills me with hope.