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unto thy testimonies

May 25, 2010

I have come to realize that change is not a good thing for me, and yet it is the thing that I have come to realize I most covet. Weather changes made me ill, but I have not wished to live in a place unmarked by defined seasons, at least so long as the extremes are fairly temperate. I become anxious when my routine is disrupted, but I covet adventure, so long as the adventure imports my routine and conveniences. I long to live somewhere else, but I can’t see how we could possibly move, and I cannot change the reality that I was not given to be born in an age of teleportation. And there are many, many et ceteras in many, many categories where this inner collision course seems to remain at all times in motion, to the undermining of my strength and focus.

And now, here I am, a pedestrian on a bumper-car speedway, and Sinclair Ferguson busts me for something I feel completely hopeless to change. And that is because, my own pastor in a sermon last weekend, held up Esau as an example of a man who is able to let things go and move on. The message touched upon the holding of grudges, among other things, and the need to simply drop things sometimes, and move on, because it’s the better thing to do. I heard, I agreed, and I was convicted. But I don’t drop things very readily, because I like to hang on to them, because… I am covetous.

But what Sinclair Ferguson convicted me of seems so hopelessly endemic: an angular personality, of all things. Angular. This dear, comforting author, only a few chapters earlier, consoled my spirit with the affirmation that no one can know what some of us have overcome to be only as edgy as we are. But I adopted his consolation as a complete defense, and that is not, evidently, what it was meant to be. I suppose he was getting at the fact that sanctification, after all, is a progressive work, and that there is more overcoming yet to do. Well, rats. Moreover, the penalty for this angularity is that the angular church member is a burden, and not a joy, to the pastor and other members. Well, this is no news to the angular soul, who would much prefer to be entirely absent than to be a burden and not a joy. But public worship is not optional, and the pressure to overcome is not conducive to overcoming, and hence the collision course goes on and on for those of us with the anti-boon of angular personalities.

But there is a toehold, I think, for the traffic-weary pedestrian to climb out of the speedway. Just realizing that covetousness underlies this whole cycle rends Satan’s cloaking device, and admits the light of help, and therefore, hope. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way. (Psalm 119:36-37)

Weather is not sanctifying, my routine is not sanctifying; it is a blessing, from each day to the next, that I am blessed with weather that does not wreak disaster, and the continuing intactness of my frail routine. I am sanctified through the word of God, through his truth (John 17:17). Whatever objective is coveted, it is only begets more coveting; whether or not the objective is attained makes no difference. Coveted change or things leads to coveting more change or things. It isn’t always easy to tell, because we covet whether we are sparse or flush. I only see that my refuge from the cycle and all its angular consequences is in God’s true and fulfilled promises throughout his word, and not in the enticing, but vain objectives my adversary would proffer.

  1. May 26, 2010 7:06 am

    Lauren, sorry to suddenly appear again: but I had to say that dear friend, you are a joy. I can’t speak to degrees of angularity as I don’t feel qualified on the subject & I’m sure it does make things harder rather than easier for ourselves and others to hang onto all our exact corners; but you have been what will be an eternal joy to me and I am sure to many others with your so empathetic center. I always thank God for you.

  2. May 26, 2010 8:19 am

    (PS — just to clarify that it’s not that I’m not qualified because I’m not angular myself; I just don’t understand very well about all the dynamics in a church like a minister would. I wanted to say too that I’m rather fond of your outline as well as your empathy. I’m glad that as we are made more like Christ we only become more like ourselves.)

  3. May 26, 2010 10:21 am

    Heidi, now there is a happy thought: “I am glad that as we are made more like Christ we only become more like ourselves.” You have added joy upon joy to my life and my day.

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