Surrendering My Quest to Invent Myself

Stay Wild

We have these pictures hanging in our living room. They display phrases like “Stay Wild,” and “Never Stop Learning.” “Adventure is out there” is my most used hashtag (oh my…that I live in a world where I know my hashtags so well and admit them to you so freely….but hashtags are a post for another day). They’re reminders to me to not sit idly by and let life pass without engaging in it. And that’s good.

You might have your own life motto. Eat healthy, find beauty, be an awesome parent…the possibilities are endless. But sometimes I think that’s part of our problem these days. We’re all out to create, to make, to do, to be a little wild, be unique, to make our mark on the world. All this adventuring can just be a grand pursuit to form who we are.

A while back I wrote a post about living life without a tagline where I shared my struggle with feeling like I needed to re-brand myself, my persona, my platform. That was a huge realization for me. But my little heart who has been so caught up in “doing” for…well…forever…wanted practical steps. How do I lay down my sword in this ugly battle of ego and self-forgetfulness?

Since then the Lord has been good to point me many times towards words from others wiser than I that have resonated with me about surrendering my quest to invent myself. I highly recommend each of these works, but will just share a few sentences that were most freeing to me;

“When I examined my feelings against the rugged cross, I realized that [my] failure was wrapped in relief. Whatever was God’s providence for me, it was his to lay out and mine to obey. No longer did I have to invent myself.” –Rosaria Butterfield; The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert


“What we are looking for is an ultimate verdict that we are important and valuable. We look for that every day in all the situations and people around us. And that means every single day we are on trial…some days we feel we are winning the trial and other days we feel we are losing it.

Paul is saying in [Christ] the verdict leads to performance [not the other way around].

Now I perform on the basis of the verdict. Because He loves me and He accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my resume or to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them…not to fill up my emptiness.Tim Keller; The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness


“Humility is physical, you can see humility, it can feel like you’re disappearing…once you get over the shock the low place is a place of deep soul rest. The great joy of the low place is that is where God dwells.”

“That scared me. I didn’t want to disappear. I wanted to be known. Living in the shadows feels like death, but death produces life. Because there is less of you, there is more of Jesus in you.”

“… when you hang around Jesus you want to fade away because you are so captured by His beauty.”  Paul Miller; A Loving Life


“When you hang around Jesus you want to fade away because you are so captured by His beauty.” My take-action heart needed to hear that. What should my response be? Spend time in the presence of the Person who has gone to the Ultimate Trial in my place and has already declared me lovely and valuable.

There are plenty of examples of people being changed because of their interactions with the Lord:

  • Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
  • Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai…Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

It’s not a 12-step program for stopping your doing, but it works.

Cast your deadly “doing” down—
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete.

– James Proctor; It is Finished!

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