Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Knowing me, knowing You

For those of you who are frequent travelers, you are aware of having to pass through the TSA inspections prior to boarding a flight. These inspections are primarily searches through your luggage and other items. In many cases a physical pat down may be involved. Why are these precautions necessary? The quick answer is a response to the threat of terrorism  since September 11. It is an attempt to prevent future terrorists attacks, although as we saw with the Boston Marathon our protection can only extend to a certain point. However, on a very personal level these searches highlight the fact that the TSA personnel don't know you. They do not have an intimate relationship with you. They don't know the deepest parts of you, what you think, what you feel, how you experience life. The agents want to determine that you are "clean" and nothing is hidden. Recently I was meditating on Psalm 139:1, "Oh Lord, You have searched me and You know me." I was particularly drawn to the words "search" and "know." In Hebrew the word "search" suggests the idea of an investigation. When the authorities conduct an investigation, they examine every facet of an individual's life. When our Lord, the Supreme Authority "investigates" us, He knows every aspect of who we are, our strengths, our struggles and challenges, our joys and our sorrows. His investigation is not limited in its detail for He knows how every cell functions in our bodies as well as our DNA make up. Before Him, nothing is hidden. The word "know" in Hebrew carries several definitions but in general it conveys the idea of noticing or observing, to find out how it is with someone. God wants to find out how it is with me. He is looking for the "real me" to show up not the "false self" or the "obligated self" that I present to others. And because He knows me so well, He wants me to pay attention to the person He has uniquely created. The impression the Lord left on my heart was, "I know daughter what breaks you and what brings you life, trust that." It is very easy to engage in activities or make choices based on what we think others expect from us or even in trying to discern how God is leading us. However, to ignore who we are at the core, often leads us to experience feelings of frustration and lack of joy. I confess I am guilty of ignoring my real self and often giving into the expectations of others. Currently I am at a crossroads of discerning the Lord's leading for ministry in the future. However, in the process I need to be reminded that part of that discernment is knowing how God has created me. The Lord wants to know that we are "clean" and not trying to hide anything from Him, ourselves, or others. I am not suggesting that we don't have boundaries but rather that we are aware of what brings us life and what is burdensome, in other words knowing our limits. The great theologian Saint Augustine put it this way, "Grant Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee." Similarly, theologian Thomas Merton states, "There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him." Knowing myself can draw me closer to knowing the Lord. I encourage you to allow the Lord to search you and help you discover who you are so you can begin to live authentically as He intended.
Pastor Sheree

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