Theology for the Long Haul

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesdays: Half-Inch Deep

When last Tuesday rolled around, I had no post written. A few weeks ago I wrote a post called I Don’t Want to Sell my Soul for a Prius. It described my frustrations with the tendency for some Christians to live hip, and tag their faith on the end like a p.s.

After a one week postponement, I was still stumped on a conclusion to that post. The problem was: I regretted the first post as soon as I hit enter and it appeared on the blog.

All through the day, I didn’t know why. Was it because it was critical? Unclear? Badly written? Too many thoughts unformed? The truth is, while the post was all these things, none of them was the reason I felt unsettled.

But later, as I left work and stepped into the streetlamp lit night, the Lord spoke it to my heart.

You haven’t scratched the surface.

“You’re right,” I whispered back.

He didn’t need to hear that, but I needed to say it. Instantly it was clear to me what a shallow grip I had on my own heart’s desire for identity from things other than Christ. I admitted in the Prius post that it was a struggle for me not to seek approval, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought I was further along with it. Maybe it is just me, but I feel pressure about everything from what books I read to how to decorate my house to how I dress my kids. Where does the pressure come from? Well, things like Facebook haven’t helped. But the biggest problem is me. It’s my own desires for both direct and indirect affirmation, often from an unbelieving world. The reason a cool Christian culture annoys me is the same reason my mom’s idiosyncrasies get under my skin. Because I struggle with the exact same thing. In a back alley quiet moment, I found out it’s not the Christians in the “Live Simple.” t-shirts I’m frustrated with.

It’s me.

The apostle Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). I’ve always focused on the dying part of this proclamation. But in the past few weeks I’ve thought more about “to live is Christ” and how Paul was only interested in that one thing. Both his words and his life showed it.

When I haven’t scratched the surface, it probably isn’t wise to point out ways for others to address this in their lives. This is why I delayed the post. Maybe I thought three weeks would bring me some legitimate insight. But I’m only about a half inch deep. For now, that’s my only conclusion.

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