Random Blog Clay Feet: August 29, 2008
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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Empty Fuel Tank

I had another dream last night that woke me up some time after 3 AM. But when I woke up another situation immediately took over my thoughts and after awhile I realized that I should just get up and process it with God, for I was unlikely to get any more sleep unless I ignored the invitation and then lost this opportunity.

The details of the dream seemed less important than the use of it to activate certain parts of my emotions that needed to be addressed in the current situation. I am finding myself increasingly in tension with someone I work with and I have been wondering why for the past several days. It is slowly becoming more clear – though not nearly as much as I want – that likely most of the problem is with me. But the complicating factor is that it is hidden almost entirely behind a blind spot in my life.

I think that I have been making jokes at someone else's expense thinking that it is completely in harmless humor. But I am being convicted that this may not be the case at all from the other person's perspective. I, in fact, may be in the process of tearing down the “joy bonds” that God has been working to build up. My study of Romans 14 is being applied to myself in a very personal and practical way here and I want to allow it to have its intended effect on my character and personality.

So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God.... (Romans 14:19-20)

As I think back I slowly begin to realize that many of the things I have been saying lately are not up-building or encouraging for him. My intentions may have been innocent enough, at least I think so from my limited or blind spot perspective, but the potential effects of my words have been more along the line of tearing down the work of God in his heart.

As I prayed about this and dialogged with God about it for some time this morning, several things came to my attention. Some of the principles that I have been learning recently began to fit into place with each other quite effectively. Those who have been educated from some of the same sources that I have been exposing myself to over recent years will recognize some of the context from which I am coming.

I am having a great struggle learning how to act like myself because I don't know very well at all what that looks like. My problem lies partly in that my perception of my identity is based far too much on my past behaviors and mistakes instead of on what God reveals about my true identity. I feel like I need to be able to visualize in my mind what it would look like for me to act differently so that I could then actually begin to act it out in reality. But when I find it difficult to even visualize myself acting differently than what I do then I know I have a very serious identity problem.

What does it mean to act like myself? What I am referring to here is based on the presumption that acting like myself is referring to my real self that God designed me to be, not the false, selfish self that has been fabricated by the many false gods that continually hang around and assault me with lies about my identity. This group of false gods has been with me most all of my life and are so familiar that they often convince me that they are really me. But no matter how much my past is reflective of their attitudes and ways of relating and doing things, they will always be false and will never change their minds or their ways. I must find my true identity in the Source which designed me in the first place.

Another aspect of learning to act like myself is that I learned how to do this by imitating my parents or others who mentored me. So if I am to learn how to act like myself and like the “us” that is my true family, I have to have a much clearer perception of what my true Father acts like so that I can imitate it more readily. And this has to happen in the right-brain part of me, the heart level or it will never really be effective in changing and transforming me from the inside out.

Another insight was given to me as I thought about these things. I noticed that even when I did catch glimpses in my imagination of what it might be like me to do to resolve my tension with my fellow worker, that I lacked the motivation to actually want to follow through with acting that way. I realized that just knowing how to act properly or what love might look like, which is difficult enough in itself, was not sufficient to actually get me to go ahead and carry it out. I asked God what I was lacking to motivate me to take action on any insights that He might give me as to how to act like myself.

I then sensed that very important thing that is lacking is passion – the kind of passion that pulses from the very heart of God and is the source for all life and energy throughout the entire universe. If I try to have love without passion then it is like having a wonderful, shiny new sports car without access to any fuel with which to fill it. I can sit in it and image myself screaming around corners and feeling the exhilaration of a thrilling joy ride, but without the fuel of passion I am just living in a dream world.

But I have been carefully trained all of my life to be afraid of passion. Passion was always considered something very dangerous and out of control. It was something that could never be trusted as so must always be suppressed, ignored or locked up in the deep recesses of a prison within. But God did not design us to just sit in a broken vehicle and imagine ourselves getting somewhere. He designed our brains and our souls to actually thrive and grow and mature in vital connection with the resource of His passion. For without passion we have nothing but a cheap imitation of real life.

So much of my problem is that fear is preventing me from living life with the passion that God implanted into me early on. My passion was perverted, mislabeled, condemned and suppressed. It was done so effectively that most of it I can no longer even find inside of me. I feel that much of the life or passion for life has eluded me and I am just doing little more than putting in time. But God is telling me that He has very different plans for me. And that somehow includes a re-infusion of true passion that will empower me to carry out the things He is telling me are necessary for healing and reconciliation with those around me.

Right now I feel like a have a love/fear relationship with passion. It is something I crave deeply and yet fear intently. In my damaged heart passion is inextricably linked with fear, shame and guilt as well as pleasure, satisfaction and desire. At times it almost feels like having the brakes and the accelerator on at the same time. That is a recipe for a lot of internal tension that affects all of my relationships.

So what I need is vision to know what it looks like to act like myself and passion to be empowered to fulfill the vision. I have to leave this in God's hands. I am praying for the right spirit and perspective to act on my need to reconcile and confess my faults to my brother without being prevented by my fears or pride. I want to repair our relationship and live in such a way that I am building him up instead of tearing down the work of God in his life and in mine. Right now I don't know just what that looks like, but I want to seek God's face more intensely so that I can see how to act like myself more consistently.