January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

I did my best to stay up to midnight last night, but sometime around 10:45 p.m., I laid down on the sofa to rest my eyes, and that was it! I woke up at the sound of firecrackers going off, and I looked at the clock and it was 12:01 a.m. So much for a happy new year celebration!

I don't really mind because I have never been one for celebrations. I like them, but I am not a party person. I think it is because I have always been the wallflower no one talks to or seeks out. Whenever I would go to parties as a teen, I usually sat around and watched everyone else laughing. I wanted to join in, but it seemed like I was one-step behind the conversation, the last to get the joke, etc. In short, I was never one to fit in, and I knew it. I felt like an outsider even though I was considered a friend. I have learned over the course of my life to simply let things go, to accept that I am a certain kind of person, the kind who prefers to be alone, and who chooses to live on the outside looking in.

It is weird, really, but it is who I am. My mother has tried to change me. My friends encouraged me to be more out going, to join in, to get involved. It never really mattered what I did because the end result was always the same. There are those people who naturally fit in a group. They are the insiders, and then there are those who sit on the edge and watch everyone laughing, joking, and seemingly having fun.

Yesterday, as I was leaving work, a colleague of mine chatted with me about New Years and my plans. We got to joking a bit about being "fuddy duddy's." Apparently he and his wife are low-key and like to do quiet things. They stay home, watch TV or if they do go out, they go to the movies, dinner, etc. They remind me a lot of my husband and I, well when we were a couple. Sigh.

After some chit chat, he turned the subject to my son, and that led to me discussing how my son is graduating with his AA in what seems such a short period of time (it isn't of course but not everyone knows he graduated early). Once that story was told, then the conversation turned to my husband and the state of our relationship.

It was an innocent question, really, starting with "how do you feel about that" and then ending with "are you happy?" The answer came out quickly, mostly because I had just had this conversation with the Lord on the preceding day. I had asked Him about happiness, and whether I would ever be "happy" with my situation. I didn't even wait for the Lord before I clarified my question with -- "Lord, I have joy which means more to me than any fleeting happiness!"

As I considered the idea of happiness the other day, I began to think about the joy that I do have in my life now. I understand the difference, and I shared what I believed that to be with my co-worker. Happiness is a feeling, and it is fleeting. It is wholly dependent on circumstances. It is easy to be happy when you are in a good mood, experience some moment where you chuckle or remember a special event. It is difficult when you are feeling blue or down or having a hard time with the daily-ness of life.

Joy, however, stems from a lack of fear. And when there is no fear, you can rest and you feel content (at peace). Joy is something that comes from God, it is not a human emotion, and it can be constant regardless of your circumstances. I have joy. I am content. I know the road I am on, and where I am going. Happiness for me is fleeting. I am happy some days, and sad others. It is just how it is, but for many people, they seek happiness, they seek to always be UP, always in that superficial place where you laugh, you dream, you desire to live, but where you know there is no reality. In a way, happiness is fake. It is a dream state that we long to live in, but where we know we cannot because of the hard cold light of the real world.

I think this is why so many people use alcohol and drugs to lift them into this artificial reality. They like the way they feel, they like feeling happy, and they want to remain in that state. It is an altered state, and there is no way to remain there permanently. Yet, millions of people try to do that very thing every single day. They try to stay happy. If they would only seek JOY instead, they would find that they don't need to be happy. Emotions are a good thing, and they are a gift from God. We are feeling people, and God created us to love, to hurt, to experience happiness and sadness. The Bible says we are to:

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15 NLT)

So getting back to my co-worker and his conversation with me -- something else came up while we were chatting -- and that was about my personality. It was odd, again a strange experience for me, to be questioned about my demeanor. He asked me if I was sad. He wanted to know if I was because I always look that way. Curious really, because I wouldn't characterize myself that way. I had to think a moment before I answered him. I said, "No, I am not sad." I went on to say that my personality type is melancholy -- reflective. The most common understanding of melancholy is sad or depressed, but a second definition is to be sober, thoughtful and pensive.

Sober: quiet or sedate in temperament, serious or solemn
Thoughtful: occupied or given to thought; contemplative, meditative or reflective
Pensive: expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness: a pensive adagio

Yes, this is me, 100% my personality. And, this is why I was always a wallflower at parties and social events. I find the noise, the crowds, the excitement to be overwhelming at times. I like excitement, don't get me wrong, but I could probably enjoy a great moment with contemplation just as I could with shouting and high-fives (I would probably enjoy the former more than the latter).

It is difficult sometimes to be thought of as sad by your peers, friends and family members. I don't mean to put on a sad face, and I don't think I am sad at all. I may look a little forlorn (dreary), but this is not really how I feel inside.

I thank God that He loves me in all my pensiveness, thoughtfulness, and soberness. Titus 2:6 KJV says this:

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

Paul encouraged sober mindedness among the young men. In other versions, it says "self-controlled, wise, good judgment, discreet, serious." I think you get the point. God highly encourages us to live wisely, to use good judgment and to be sober minded or serious. Many young people struggled with self-control, and as we know self-control is a fruit of God's Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23 NLT).

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I guess this means I have an extra heaping of fruit (LOL!) since I experience self-control as a natural part of my personality. Perhaps this is how God wants it to be in my life. Maybe the issue and the plans He has for me require soberness, thoughtfulness, and pensiveness. Perhaps this is why I am the way I am (I like to think so).

When I stop and think that I have been created by God to do certain works (Eph 2:10 NLT):

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

I am humbled to think that my personhood, my personality has been crafted to cooperate with the Holy Spirit's intended workings in and through me. If I am yielded to His influence, and willing of His constant alterations, then truthfully, I am this way for a reason. I am not making an excuse, choosing to be a certain way to avoid life or people in life. No, I am this way because God has designed me to be this way, and the work He has planned is supported through my outlook, and my understanding of the world.

It is a God-thing to be considered with such completeness. I am completely created to serve my Creator with my entire being. The Word says it this way in the Col. 1:4 AMP:

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones).

I like the Amplified for this reason. I like the way the writers explain in greater detail what a particular word means. Faith, for example, means to "lean your entire personality" on God.

Personality is something we tend to think of in outward terms only. But according to it's actual definition, it has many different meanings. In Biblical terms, the personality is the whole person, every part of the person.

 the sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual

For a more complete treatment of this idea, you have to reach into a Biblical Dictionary for clarification. I like Baker's best, and this is a brief excerpt from it dealing with the concept of "person."

Thus, common Old Testament anthropological thought holds that a human being is a body, rather than having a body. The distinctions between soul and body are minimized. A human being is an animated body rather than an incarnated soul. The body is none other than the soul in its outward form, allowing the various parts of the body to think and act as representations of the soul.

As an aside, I could spend years reading Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

The idea though is pretty clear. God doesn't really distinguish between anatomical parts as often as we do. We concretize things, head, arm, leg. The Word tends to use abstract terms to classify something we think as a singular item. I think this is why we often misunderstand Scripture, and we assume that God is saying one thing, when He really means so much more.

On my list of wants is a complete Biblical Library so that I can really study the Word. I read my Bible, and I have read Strong's and Vines, but now I want to know what the words mean in relation to my understanding of Biblical Theology. It is my hope to have the time, someday, to study God's Word this way, and to really come to know and understand Biblical truth.

Long aside - now back to the main program (LOL!)

My personality is a certain way because I believe God requires me to be sober and thoughtful (reflective, meditative) so that I can do the work He has called me to do. Part of this work includes advanced study. This would go without any further saying -- any advanced study requires soberness, seriousness, and a driven focus to stay on task -- or else there is no point in even attempting it. God has equipped me for advanced study. I like to study. I like going to school. I enjoy the work, the assignments, and the readings. I like to think about things, and I like discussing my findings with others. I am excited to start school again, and I know that my personality, my person, has been created for this very reason.

God in His Marvelous Wisdom created me to be this way so that I could accomplish the plans He has in mind for me. Therefore, whether I fit in or don't. whether I have lots of friends or just one, I am made to do a work that only I can do. How exciting to think that there is JOB out there with my name on it. A position waiting for me to fill. A specific set of tasks that only I can do. I am humbled to think that God has chosen me for this particular assignment. I am humbled and I cry out to Him because I know that my flesh is not able to do what He is asking of me. My mind is in agreement, but my flesh is so very weak. My flesh wants to take the easy way out, to do the least thing, and skim by. God wants all of me, and He expects me to give my best, my time and attention, and my skills to Him so He can use them as He has need. I know this. I know this about God. I still struggle with letting go, and letting God BE in the midst of each circumstance, and each situation.

My New Years Resolution (to be resolved) is to accept who I am, and what God has asked me to do. I am willing myself to follow after Him, and in doing so, placing my self (my whole self) into dependency upon His provision and care. I am letting go of the past, and I am releasing myself into His completeness, His Ultimate plans and purposes. I am letting God BE in every area of my life, knowing that only then can I be free to do what He is asking me to do. I have waited long enough, I have stopped and started, questioned, and remained held back for so long. I can no longer remain still, I must Go do His work. I must go now, and start this work today. It is January 1, 2013, and I am resolved to do His work, to make it the only work I do. I know God's Grace will see me through, and I can do all things through Him (Phil. 4:13).

Dear Lord,

I confess today that I have waited and waited for you to move in my life and align everything up perfectly so that I would no longer be afraid to do your work. I understand now that you have everything ready to go, and that in my world, my little world, things will never "look" aligned. They will always seem out of sorts because of my view and perspective. You are looking down upon me, and you see everything as it is, unfolding and moving towards eternity. I must rest in the knowledge that I will never know everything, I will never see everything, and I will never be ready because of the way eternity moves. I must be fluid, I must move, and I must go -- trusting and leaning everything I am upon you. You are the only thing FIXED in time, and everything moves around you. I cannot stop or be still when your will is moving and flowing around me. I must let go and fall into the river of your Mighty Will. In doing so, I will then flow to where you want me to be, and I will be free to move, to change, to go, and to do what you ask me to do. I let go now, Lord, and I am free to be used by your Hand for Your Glorious Name this day. May your Name be Praised forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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