Jars of Clay not so recently put out a cd that is entitled "Who We Are Instead." I was introduced to this cd by a dear friend at a point in my life where the music convicted me and I must say it still does. Music is woven into the fiber of my being. I may not be able to play an instrument, I can barely read music, and I only sing somewhat respectably, I do however still resonate and communicate with music. Music is what gets me through a difficult day, it is what lifts me up and drives me forward, it is what communicates the very expressions of my heart that I myself cannot find the words to do so.
Today, while I was on a run I listened to the earlier mentioned cd. There was a time where the most played songs on my i-pod were from this cd and that time was not so far away; last year to be exact. As the melody played its way into my run I began to think of the time I was first introduced to the cd. What is it that is communicated so deeply or effectively in the songs of this cd that it worked its way up into my most played list last year, but not this year? For those of you who do not know this cd, it is a religious cd communicating as the title suggests who we are in Christ and what that means for believers. I recall walking on Plum Creek trail on a brisk autumn morning working in a good walk before my day started with chapel. Without theological training I understood that in those walks I was participating in a larger reality, a bigger truth, something greater than myself. I was in worship and not the kind of worship where one gets in touch with the inner self and better understands who they are in relationship to God. No, I was being told who I was in relationship to Christ and what he did and is doing for me.
Recently I have noticed a shift from who I was last year to who I have shifted into this year. This year I run, last year I walked. This year I have one year of theological education under my belt and I am moving on to finish my studies up in England, last year I studied psychology and lived in a small apartment in Nebraska with the only goal of getting through the next assignment. Last year I knew who I was, this year I have had my doubts. As my run came to a close the song "Lesser Things" by Jars of Clay started to play. I thought about how this year I am healthier and smarter from my education and running but I have sacrificed the greatest gift God gives; an identity found only in him. I was convicted of the fact that I have been trying to define for myself who I am and not who Christ makes me to be. I wanted to be a different me; not the me God had made me to be. I wanted to chase after the god of lesser things. What freedom can we find when the reality of God's claim on the believers life and the identity there offered is realized and accepted?
I believe that this is what the ultimate continual struggle of man is; an identity crisis. Doubting the adoption received at baptism, substituting the riches God offers for lesser things, and striving to build our own castles of identity upon sandy soil. God offers however a rock to build upon, to attach ourselves to and to anchor to and cling to. However as enemies of God we do not always willingly and openly receive what he gives. Our hearts are restless. We will always want perfection while running after that which only offers mediocre results. I hope that as I continue to blog a shift can be seen in the way I communicate and a change in the way I identify myself to the world. With that I leave you with a scripture verse that says more in less words than I in this blog.
New King James Version (NKJV)
27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.