Fresh Air

I have discovered something about myself—that one of my biggest faults is self-deprecation.  It’s a nasty thing, surely.  Yet, this bit from Zephaniah keeps coming back to me: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

I tend to demean myself—to make myself so small and little that it feels like I could creep into insignificance and oblivion, and remain there, and perhaps be happy, because no one would come into contact with me, and no one would be injured by me.  (T.S. Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and bad dreams about emotionally injuring many people have not helped matters much.)  But to live in seclusion is to live in fear—to live in fear of myself, and of the world.

And what have I always desired?  Bravery, I suppose, though I didn’t know it.  I always desired to be strong enough to be brave.  And I kept thinking today, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I embarrass myself perpetually.  I am so cognizant of all my mistakes.  And I just now read in a Wendell Berry book: “What has been done needs undoing, and cannot be undone. As many times before, it is not the present that surprises him but the past, the present slipped away into irrevocability.  As many times before, he would like to turn away, find an opening, get out.  He feels his own history crowding him, as near to him in that heat as his clinging shirt, as his flesh itself. He feels the weight of the history of flesh.  He feels tired.” I feel like it was written for me, for me alone.  And then I realized, it was written for every human being on the face of the planet.

Which brought me to another realization.  That self-deprecation is at the heart of selfishness.  So what I have really struggled with is selfishness.

I have a need.  An inborn desire, and a strength and hopefully a capacity (by God’s grace) to fulfill that need.  This need is to look beyond the confines of my taut comfort zone, and to gaze freshly upon the world, and to ask, “How may I be of service?”

And I cannot be specific about this one, about a way to serve.  I must be open and available to every situation, especially the ones I feel less and less inclined towards.  Self deprecation is not humility—but sacrifice leads to humility, and that is what I desire.

The odd thing, though, is that I’ll never know if I am humble, because the truly humble person doesn’t know that he or she is being humble.

I have a habit of going out of myself, and looking at me from a different perspective.  That version of me shakes its head, looks up to God and says: “Keep chiseling, please.”

Please be patient with me.  My desire is to sink back from everything—blog, facebook, twitter—whatever I have an account with.  To wipe myself completely off the internet, and to settle down and read a book.  But I’m not going to do that.  I was considering giving up blogging.  Partly because I had hoped that this blog would be entirely objective.  It’s been anything except that, I believe. I’m not going to give it up.  If you don’t like it, please don’t read it.  I can’t think that I have anything of worth to say, but if there ever is anything that speaks to you, please take it and be blessed.

He rejoices over us with loud singing.  He loves us.  Can’t I rejoice in that? Jesus is enough.

“The benefits that in this life accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification are assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.” – Westminster Shorter Catechism.

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