Imagine her, red-headed, giggle-full, ketchup-stained, a spunk of sass and a smirk of sweet. Precious, right? She’s at her third birthday party; playscape, balloons, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk, a Muno cake, presents, her ten best friends and the whole famn damily- all in celebration of her. With no threat of harm, fully protected, completely provided for and lavished with the most specific and significant of love, it is evident that she is delighted in, and has no inkling to doubt otherwise.
Yet, when helping hand of a curious cousin reaches before her into Grammy’s gift, the sweet smirk fades and that spunk of sass erupts into rage. Rage comparable to that of a famished tyrannosaurs rex, as she whales, “BUT I WANNA DO IT!!!!” Her white knuckled clinched fists stand out in starkness against her face, which now camouflages the tint of her striking red hair. At the pinnacle of meltdown, her crooked little chompers sink deep into Grammy’s gift bag ripping it in half before collapsing into fluidity onto the floor. Party over.
Some say sugar crash, others swear she was over stimulated, while most claim she was just too tired; valid, accurate, yet, unjustified. She’s loved, remember? Cared for, delighted in, protected, provided for and lavished with more affection than she knows what to do with. Why turmoil? Why doubt? Why fear?
Perhaps she’s cursed. Cursed with a whispering that tears away at her being, “Rylan, they don’t love you, and they don’t know and cannot provide what is best for you.” Though this whispering is subtle, it drowns out the truth she has experienced and heard about the loved one she is, and she must fend for herself. She knows what she wants and needs, and, by golly, she’s going to get it. Choosing to abandon vulnerable dependence on those who love her most, she is about her own way, her own will and her own glory. Though she is more loved than she dared dream, she’s been deceived. She doubts, and therefore, in defiance, she runs and rebels outside of who she is as a daughter delighted in and one who is radically loved.
Whether it be the defiant melting down of my three year old red headed niece or the itching rebellion of the teenage students I interact with throughout the week, there are more days than not that I encounter someone whom I deeply care for engaging in activity that is detrimental, destructive and less than God’s best.
But then again, who am I? Not far from my dear Rylan Hope, I’m a hoarder of the gifts I’ve been given, lashing out in vicious protection against any threat, undeniably resulting a time or two in an F5 meltdown on the floor of Chick-fil-a. Marred, cursed and haunted with human depravity, I am deceived. I doubt, and out of defiance and mistrust, I run and rebel outside of who I am as a daughter divinely delighted in and one who is radically loved.
What a cheap life we choose.
We search and we cannot find. We strive and we can’t achieve. We control our way to anxiety. We indulge and are unsatisfied. We numb and become addicted. We long and are unfulfilled. And at the end of the day, birthday parties end early, gifts go un-opened and the fullness of what was intended is far from experienced.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate. –Romans 7:15
A few years ago I was given the assignment to write a paper on, ‘How to change someone’s behavior…’, and let’s just say, I’ve been unsettled with the matter since. From my very own wretched heart to that of my darling niece and the teenage students I walk with day-to-day, are my observations, futile philosophies and failed attempts in convincing a heart deceived that it’s way is far from best.
Outlined in it’s simplest form is her hypothesizing:
What she does, how she lives, in her ACTIVITY [or behavior]
is dictated by her view of self, who she is, in her IDENTITY,
and what she believes about herself is a result of how she views God,
her belief of who He is, in her THEOLOGY.
So, if how we live our life all hinges on our view of God, what determines that? Over the next few posts, I’ll venture to share a thought or two on what I’ve cut and pasted together as my tattered and evolving philosophy of discipleship.