“People go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” ~ Saint Augustine
This quote represents the essence my new book, “Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace” (available for pre-order at https://squareup.com/store/spirit-harvest). So much so, it’s the first words of the book. How many of us spend our lives wandering and wondering? Searching outside of ourselves for direction, instruction and satisfaction? Trying to figure out how we can dominate, control or eliminate our issues and our foes? Dedicating our lives to someone else’s vision, purpose and grand scheme? Adhering to lies, misdirection and trickery because its all we know? How many of us are stuck in rut because life simply stopped flowing in our immediate favor; we reached a bottle-neck or a fork and decided it would be easier to just stay put?
In all the ways life comes at us, in the countless ways we analyze our lives, we rarely give ourselves the benefit of wonder.
won·der /wəndər/ 1. a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
When was the last time you felt surprise and wonder at the beautiful creation you are? When was the last time you embraced the unfamiliar and inexplicable in your life?
The Bible speaks of God’s wonderful works, His miraculous creation, as expression of His everlasting love. Psalm 139 is an ode to humanity. “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; that I know very well (v 14).” Humans are Creator’s wonderful work.
YOU are a wonder! Your wonderfulness is not dependent on money, employment, family, friends, network, possessions, status or anything else. You are a wonder because you were created that way.
Some time ago, a pastor shared an observational conversation he had in passing. While he was out and about, he noticed a woman and her two small children. The little boy was doing karate chops on his little sister and the mother looked a bit harried trying to get them under control. He approached the mother and, in his words, he said lovingly, “Oh, he’s been beholding the Power Rangers.”
“How do you know he loves the Power Rangers,” the woman replied in surprise.
“Because he’s acting just like them… and Jesus says, ‘If you will behold me, you will become just like me.'” The pastor finished his message with this advice: “Take your eyes off of you and everything you think is wrong with you and put your eyes on Jesus and I promise you, as you behold Him you will be transformed and you will become just like Him – from glory to glory.”
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. ~ 2 orinthians 3:18, NLT
To Be Like a Princess or To Be A King?
While clearance shopping with a new acquaintance at a department store that was going out of business, a little known quirk of my personality was royally irked. Shopping Buddy kept repeating a phrase that rubbed me raw. She claims Christ and as my regular readers know, I look for Christ in those who claim Him to me. During the course of our shopping spree, we each tried on nearly a dozen dresses. With each of the more spectacular dresses she tried on, she exclaimed, “Wow, I look like a princess!”
My selections were rather disappointing. Too small, too big, too short, too long. With each successive disappointment of a dress, I looked at my reflection and said, “This doesn’t look like me.”
Listening to the squeals of delight coming from Shopping Buddy’s dressing room a couple of doors down, I kept thinking, “Why would she want to look like a princess?” Mind you, we’re talking ‘story-book-fairytale’ princess of the Disney variety. I admit to a certain amount of haughty disdain I had at the idea of looking like a false worldly facade of beauty. It took me a day or so of ruminating on our differing concepts of beauty – looking like a princess (hers) and looking like myself (mine) – before I came to the root of my annoyance.
I was looking for a dress that was a reflection of me. She was looking for a dress that looked like someone else’s idea of beauty and perfection.
Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spiritbefore his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. ~ Revelation 1:4-6
So many women want to be a ‘princess’, not realizing it’s such a powerless position to be in. They want the fairytale as told in the storybooks or by Hollywood. So many people are so intent on pursuing the fantasy they give no attention to the reality of who they are. And without attention, there’s no appreciation.
I am a king and a priest. I know that. I am seated in high places through Jesus Christ in the presence of our Father God. I walk out my authority in this life as much as I am aware to do so. A princess has no power or authority or dominion. The formula fairy tale princesses we are taught to admire are told what to do, they are all in need of rescuing, and they are either taken or given into marriage. They tale is usually billed as a “love” story, but the choice is rarely their own. Their impossible situations usually dictate their course of action. They’re too poor, they can’t return home, their relatives are cruel – you name it. A handsome charming man comes along and poof! Stars are in their eyes, they get married and all their problems are solved. We are taught to rely on a flesh and blood man with these tales which causes us to neglect the Spirit of God. Neglecting the Spirit limits our opportunity to cultivate spiritual fruit in our lives.
Yes, these thoughts were swirling around disjointedly in my head while I was trying on dresses and listening to my shopping buddy squeal in delight at her royal finds. And yes, I do admit to an initial twinge of feminine jealousy. I want to look like a royal too. I want my majestic and regal bearing to show through whatever I wear. And I wasn’t seeing that in the selections I tried on… until the very last dress. The most plain and unadorned dress. It was colorless and very, very simple compared to the other nine indulgent, scrumptiously succulent creations I had dragged into the dressing room. Yes, the part of me that is all worldly woman wanted grandeur. I wanted a frock with amazing artsy design, scrumptious fabric and a stunning fit made for a photo finish. But that worldly woman got beat down when I tried on a plain white dress that sparkled at the fitted bodice and fitted waist with silver thread and crystal beads. It was such a perfect fit and a perfect length that it looked like it was made for me… just me. As I stood looking at my reflection – with not a stitch of make-up on, brown tweed applejack cap riding low on my forehead, white wire-rim glasses perched on my nose, and thick dingy athletic socks peeking out from the pristine hem I was kicking up and around – I thought, This looks like me. Even my round middle looked elegant in the dress! And that’s what I loved about the last dress I tried on – it looked good on me just as I was in that moment. Though initially, the worldly woman in me was looking for a grandiose dress that would make me look better than I do, I’m glad I walked out of that dressing room knowing that I, in my plain, unadorned state, brought splendor to a plain, unadorned dress. With all my heart, I thank God for simplicity.
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. ~ 1 John 2:2-3
I choose the King
The shopping episode had me thinking about the ease with which we speak words that reveal and/or impact our spiritual condition. I could have gone another way in that dressing room. I could have seen myself as someone I didn’t want to be and sought to cover myself with trappings of someone else’s idea of fineness. Instead, I saw myself exactly as I was – nothing spectacular for the eye to look at but so wonderfully and awesomely made in love. I am attentive to that distinction. I am intent on reflecting more and more of my King Jesus. I appreciate who I am as an individual creation of my Father God.