Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whole-hearted Living

I've been thinking a lot about vulnerability and shame, especially since I was introduced to the TED talks by Brene Brown by my counselor. She is a researcher on vulnerability and shame (I didn't even know people did that for a living!) and the way shame negatively effects all of us, and how vulnerability leads us towards love. I just started reading her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead and it has been challenging me a lot, especially since this is how I generally feel about vulnerability: I DON'T LIKE IT. But in her book she talks about people she calls "the whole-hearted"- people who have come to believe in their own worthiness, and refuse to believe the lies that they are not enough. She said she found these "whole-hearted" people were able to let go of:

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self Doubt and "Supposed To"
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always in Control"

Pretty much all of these hit home for me as ways of being and living that I usually don't indulge in. What does it look like for me to live whole-heartedly? How can I say no to the lies that tell me to keep holding on to these things, instead of letting them go? I'm glad for reminders like these to help me step in to whole-hearted living.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Psalm 46 and God's Sovereignty

Today I felt re-directed towards Psalm 46. This Psalm I think first came to real importance for me back in June right before my dad's surgery. We were at InterVarsity's regional conference on Catalina Island, and I was talking with another staff, Natalia, whose mom was just about to have a kidney transplant as well. She suggested that I ask God for a scripture to hold on to in the midst of the surgeries and afterwards, and Psalm 46 came to me. It says:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam 
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
He lifts His voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations He has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I think what stood out to me was how in the midst of the world literally falling apart, and nations being in uproar, God is still a refuge and strength, and He is still in control. He still has power to end wars and do things like melt the earth. And the repetition of God being "with us" seems to be really important- because it keeps being repeated. 

I think I've struggled with the idea that I got somehow from osmosis in Christian culture that God will end your problems and take them away, and even that God does things peacefully- while this has not often been my reality. But in this Psalm, God doesn't seem to stop "the earth giving way" or "nations being in uproar". They seem to be just stated as fact. God being present and with us and protecting us seems to be more important. To be sure, God can and does end the wars and melts the earth. But it seems to me like God is saying- "in the midst of all the craziness that is life, I'm over it all- even if it doesn't always look like it. So don't be afraid, I've got you". I think I need to be reminded of that a lot. It is not my default thought that God is sovereign in the midst of the drama of life. And I need a lot of reminders to be still and to know that He is God, and that He is with us, and with me. Keep the reminders coming, Jesus.