02 March 2007

grace in simplicity

The more I get to know myself, the more amazing it is that God has any compassion or inclination to allow me to spend time in His presence.

In the midst of reading and writing for "my" MA in Spiritual Formation and Leadership, we're required to practice certain disciplines. Because this is an online journey, we spend a ton of time posting reflections, and responding to other's postings. I love the diversity as we all react to things differently. This week, we studied the disciplines of Study and Simplicity. (FYI...Two great resources that we're using are: Richard Foster, Celebration of the Discipline, and Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.)

Choices are offered to us each week as to what discipline we want to practice so I chose simplicity. I was imagining simplification in the arena of reducing things or activities. But here's the assignment on offer: "Ask God to help you speak the simple truth. Practice speaking simply--no double meanings or half truths that put you in the best light. Let this practice help you become aware of when you rationalize, deny, blame, and spin."

It did not take much time to "become aware."

Unfortunately, the awareness often occurred AFTER I had offered the excuse, rationalization, spin, etc.
I don't like these discoveries.

Something I read this week by Dallas Willard, became more and more clear as my awareness grew. Willard says, "Real spiritual need and change is on the inside, in the hidden area of the life that God sees and that we cannot even see in ourselves without his help. Indeed, we could not endure (emphasis mine) seeing our inner life as it really is." And then he throws out this line: "The possibility of denial and self-deception is something God has made accessible to us, in part to protect us until we begin to see Him."

It's a wonder we can stand ourselves, but then, to think the Holy One not only stands us, but offers us the gift of relationship and intimacy with Him??

I'm rubbish (as my Scottish friends would say).
But I'm additionally undone, utterly grateful, and irresistibly compelled to know this gracious and amazing God even more.

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