14 February 2012

Consume me Lord, else I die.

I called myself a runner. I admire the fluidity of the human structure when it functions well, with a toe, heel, breath. Sweat to cool and blood to warm. Muscles taut then lax, and tomorrow's strength worth the pain. I used to be a runner.

My spiritual life was inseparable from my running life. If I ran well, I prayed well. If I was angry, I ran...so that later, I could pray. In running, I had definite limits--so I would work until I saw those limits, until I would nearly pass out, was injured, or plain had nothing left. Reaching my limits did not humble me. It did not destroy me. Seeing my finite nature and weakness made me push harder, run farther, prove that I was not the weakness I saw. If I conquered myself, showed that my effort was nearly killing me, I could present myself to God. (See, God? I am desperate for you. Use me. I am useful.)

I was desperate to be used by God, to be sure. The sincerity was present. But, as most of my peers knew at the time, I struggled with rest. Resting in God, being still and knowing who He is.

I used to be a fighter, too. My opinions were known throughout school. I approved of the person whose words are so crafted that passion was evident. Comebacks and sarcasm were my tools. Who knows how many people I made bleed.

There came a time when tendonitis in my hip flexor became severe enough that I could barely walk. When I began running again, the panic attacks began. I had to learn to pray without running.
As I learned pain from the divorces, deaths, suicides and burdens in this world, I had to learn to speak without adding to the pain. It was not the running that made me desperate for God, it was the resting. In my search for skilled words, it was not wisdom I ultimately sought but compassion. However, a joining in the experiences and pain of another really takes pain to know. It was not the fighting that kept me whole, it was the breaking.

Recently, I told a friend that I was afraid. I have not been accustomed to much fear, and seeing my will and decisions shaped by an emotion that cripples is shaming. She asked me to name the source of my fear, and I blurted out, after having spent over two weeks trying to name it, "I think I am afraid to disappear in Christ."


I am afraid of becoming nothing. Hence the running and the fighting.

Quickly and soon, I was set right through words of my pastor, who said that having Christ as our treasure means love for Him drives us, is our motivating force, is what consumes our choices, our lives. My thought, which can only be from our God, was "Consume me Lord, else I die."

Christ, if I do not die in you, I die outside of you. With the first, there is resurrection, with the second, eternal loss.

Consume me, Lord, else I die.

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