“God does not demand that we give up our personal dignity, that we throw in our lot with random people, that we lose ourselves and turn from all that is not him. God needs nothing, asks nothing, demands nothing, like the stars. It is a life with God which demands these things.”
–Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk (introduced to me by my wonderful friend and mentor, Kay)
It’s easier not to care. It’s easier to stay hidden, disengaged.
I don’t have to care.
I don’t have to confess.
I don’t have to be a woman of character.
I don’t have to humble myself and turn from all that is not Him.
But if I want a life with Him, I do.
First, I must lose myself. My pride. My ego. My reputation. My dignity.
First, I must admit: I am broken.
I have tried on my own. I have slipped in and out of God-consciousness. I have clutched my desires tight between my fingers, deifying them.
One year for Christmas, my best friend and I took our mothers ice skating. My friend’s mom, a sweet Korean woman who had never before set a skate-clad foot on the slippery ice death trap, was terrified. She clung to the hip height railing on the periphery and scooted her way around inch by inch. She never made it to the center swirl of more experienced skaters. She never felt the sweep of cold ice glide past her. She never hit her stride.
With the same illusory sense of control, I cling to my own desires, my own will, scooting around inch by inch all the while wondering why I haven’t yet hit my stride.
And in my scuttling and scooting, clinging and clutching, I mess up. I stay self-focused. I act out of fear and convenience and greed.
I turn from Him a hundred times a day, in my thoughts, my attitude, my actions.
Like Annie Dillard wrote, God doesn’t demand that I turn back to Him, that I confess my sin—or even acknowledge it for that matter. Like the stars, He will shine on whether I acknowledge Him or not.
The question I must ask myself is, what do I want more?
Do I want a life with God? Or would I rather be the queen of my own universe? Float by? Pass through? Scoot along?
Deep down I know I want a life with Him. I want His power and grace and spirit. His purpose and His presence.
If it is life with Him that I crave, I must humble myself, lose myself. Destroy my internal façade of goodness. Shatter my independence. Peel my fingers off the side rail of the skating rink and release my own desires, trusting that His ways are better.
A life with Him demands these things. A life with Him is what I want.
Do you think God demands that we turn to Him or not? Do you think God demands anything? What life do you want? What do you cling to instead of Him?