Tuesday, November 27, 2007

mixed messages?

We spend our lives striving for independence. It's expected from the moment we take our first breath. Society promotes autonomy and applauds someone when they reach that pinnacle. In order to do this, they must be diligent planners who rely on themselves to make the decisions and to take the risks in order to succeed. Self sufficiency is the goal, where the only person to rely on is yourself. It denotes strength in character, and anything less than this is considered a weak failure........in the eyes of society.

And yet......... we go to church and learn of this guy named Jesus who hangs out with the human beings who are struggling just to get through another day in anyway they can. Vulnerable and weak, unsure of any long term goals let alone where they will find food for their next meal, they don't have time to even contemplate autonomy.

It may not have been the most reasonable thing for Jesus to do. I mean, why would you put yourself in such a marginalized environment when you could opt for something more prestigious? Any yet, there He was hobnobbing with the minions.

What is the message in all of this? Are we supposed to build ourselves up to be strongly independent "don't need another person to survive this big old mean world" individuals? If we do that, how are we supposed to learn how to surrender ourselves to prayer and to faith?

Leader or follower?

We are inundated with paradoxes in values..........in what is expected and important. Or are we? Can we be both independent and vulnerable? Can we strive for autonomy and yet feel weak and in need of others? I read time and again that one has to "surrender" to a situation........to let the cards fall where they may...........to let go and you will feel closer to God because you are more open and vulnerable. I am also told that independence is a societal value, to keep your guard up.

It leaves me baffled.

hmmmmmmmmmmm............I'm wondering if we need to redefine what it means to be independent and self sufficient and what it means to be vulnerable. Maybe it takes one to be the other. Or maybe I'm just full of baloney.


Neo said...

Awareness - The scariest thing in the world for some is to completely let go of self want and find the purpose that God has in store for each of us. It kind of reminds me of the monks that make a vow of silence. I don't know if I could shut off my wants and desires even if it was to allow God to put his fingerprint on my life in such a deep and impacting way. Not that I don't care about what he wants for me. It's just that I don't think I'm that disciplined to his needs for me.

Quite strange eh?


- Neo

Awareness said...

hey Neo. I dont think it's strange, though I would LOVE to know what He has in store for me, but boy would I be pissed if He really wanted me just to suck it up at work and remain there as my lot in life! It's been a bad day....hence the digression.

What I have been thinking about all day is that independence is more a state of mind and not tied to the almight dollar or the number of notches in the belt of visible success. Independence encompasses many attributes that all seem to lead feeling confident in who you are, in being engaged and interconnected to others, in knowing or at least coming to know where you fit in the bigger realm.
We are presently being inundated around here with the term self-sufficiency.....the goal for the province......the little province that could and should and would but is ignored and overlooked by the rest of this vast and magnificent country. But the gov't is only looking at it in terms of financial independence, when in fact they need to help the people of this province learn and experience the state of mind type of self sufficiency.....

oh, another digression.......and will post more on that another day. This actually was what i had intended to write about. How I ended up writing about Jesus is beyond me......

ANYWAYS.......taking a breath......

This is what I think.....we can and do surrender to feeling more vulnerable and look at our own wounds and brokenness more so if we are feeling grounded and safe and sure. This is part of the state of mind.....because if I am aware of who I am and where I could and do fit, I am more open to letting God in. AND it is through silence and prayer when we have the potential to feel it the most.

Henri Nouwen wrote: "Silence requires the discipline to recognize the urge to get up and go again as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is close at hand. It offers the freedom to stroll in your own inner yard, and to rake up the leaves there and clear the paths so you can easily find the way to your heart. Perhaps there will be much fear and surely you will discover an order and familiarity which deepens your longing to stay home....whenever you come upon this silence, it seems as though you have received a gift, one which is promising in the true sense of the word. It promises new life. It is the silence of peace and prayer, because it brings you back to the One who is leading you."

I doesnt matter where one is in the pecking order of life, one can feel independent by clearly being interdependent......AND if this is established, the silence of peace and prayer is attainable.

ok, i'm done now........ :)

Neo said...

Awareness - I don't mind being broken. It gives me something to write about. How much would I want to write if my life was perfect? God knows that we're all flawed. We're more than our jobs my friend, we do what we have to for survival, deep down there is something that we hold higher than money or position. :)

Awareness said...

Hey Neo. I think we are the only ones left in blogland!!

I can't write if I'm not dealing with some wound or brokenness.....and if I'm feeling chirpy and on top of the world, either I have to channel it, or I end up writing something comparable to a hallmark card.

No, life's bump and scrapes textures who we are. I wouldn't want it any other way.

And yes......we are much more than our jobs......it's just taking centre court this week in a frustrating way. Not the work per se....the system and who is supervising it. I guess I'm a bit frustrating because this is where my vulnerability sits and I can't really write publicly about which is what I really want to do. One day, I will.......

Marja said...

For me a good leader is somebody who works and fights for the interest of others. I totally agree that independence is a state of mind. A state were you are grateful for what comes to you but without being attached to it. Very hard to attain. It is also a vulnarable position but good leaders won't stand alone.
I see jesus as somebody who gives that example not as somebody I pray
to too safe me.

Robert said...

wow dana some very powerful thoughts here I track with you on it being a state of mind Jesus sure knows how to blow away all our tightly preconceptions and comfort zones doesnt He?? always so inspiring my friend misfits forever!!! lol hope you meet lots and lots more interesting people along the way dana