freed in the dying

i remember tiny metaphorical fists clenched in anger that one busy person would ask another equally busy person to do the former’s work.

i remember being so stressed that my back muscles clenched in pain and would. not. let. go. it used to take me hours to decompress physically. i don’t know, sometimes, if i ever did mentally.

i don’t know when it started, but at some point i began to stop getting so angry about infringements on “my” time, “my” space, “my” work.

now obviously if i were to try to tell you an independent annie just all of a sudden started laying herself down, ungrudgingly, you would have some reason for skepticism. because the truth, however cliche, is that people don’t change.

another truth, though, however equally cliche, is that God changes people.

i have long had – and if you have read here for a while, you have probably noticed – my preoccupation with figuring out how to die to self. this came out about when i was in a difficult situation with my roommate and wondering what to do about it. this is killing me, i thought. i can’t do this anymore. what would Jesus do? i wondered, and it occurred to me that what He would do was what He already had done: die.

i wasn’t sure at that point what dying to self in a friendship looked like – or, i should say, how far it would go. & i’ll be honest: in this case, i never figured it out.

but ever since then, the phrase die to self has beat its slow death march across my heart. and that was the phrase i would think over and over at work when i felt myself being infringed upon, whether i really was or whether i was blowing it out of proportion in my head.

& friends? it made such a difference.

it was Jesus who taught me what that dying looked like, but it was me who was trying to seek His heart by reminding myself what He had done first. and i can’t even take credit for that, because He planted that desire, that motivation in my heart.

all i had to do was admit i had no idea what i was doing anymore.

so i whisper to myself a phrase, the precise meaning of which i never know until i’ve said and He shows me how to extend myself past my own boundaries. and friend? if you are trying to find His face, His heart, if you are trying to be His hands and feet in places as mundane as the office or the classroom or the drive-thru, may i recommend this exercise? that you find your own phrase to remind you to seek His heart above yours, that turns your eyes back to His shining face, that shows you a little bit of practicality mixed in with that Shekinah glory.


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