I've been thinking the past few days about the life I really want. Finally on my drive back to school on Sunday one word popped in my head. Rich. I want a rich life. Not in a cha-ching cha-ching kinda way, but full, meaningful, weighed heavily with value. And then the natural proceeding of questions settled in my brain--how does one define richness? How do we pursue a rich life? What is the rich life?
Two Sundays ago, sitting in the hard wooden pew of my church, Kevin Cawley planted a thought in me that I've been gnawing on like a bone since then. Where does anger/anxiety come from? He said they are rooted in the fear of losing something that we value. It comes from feeling threatened. And how often does what I do and how I act completely allude to that? Let me answer you, all the freaking time.
I believe in knowing why we do what we do. Motive is everything. And when I start to think about when I feel anger towards people or situations, I can feel the weight of fear coming with it most of the time. And even more so I see that for me, most of the times I feel threatened are when my security is threatened. I get protective and needy when I don't feel important or valued, I get snippy when my time is not spent how I choose, I get sassy when people make fun of the way I act, dress, or things I do, along with the tons of other idiosyncrasies I have developed from my fear of losing the things I cushion myself with.
The fact of it is, that anger and fear only comes when the things being threatened are gods to me. When the importance of my security, comfort, pride, etc. has exceedingly more value and promise to me than God Himself. Sick right? But so so true.
Twinsies have come into my life this semester. They are two of my favorite people I have ever met to date. And part of the reason is that I feel no threat from them. They are kind, funny people who love well and often. And it's completely natural. It's humbling to be around them and feel the freedom to be and enjoy things fully without the competitive monkey of comparison on my back. They are a gift.
And as I think about those friendships, I catch a glimpse of how a non-threatened life could be. A life where there isn't a need to be the best, feel the most important, have "the look," say the right thing, find the right person, or portray the right image. A life spent in complete rest, security, and thus, enjoyment. That's a God-centered life. Those things go so much deeper than situational emotions, they're a deep-seeded spirit within a person. The Twinsies seem to have some sort of Otherness about them. I want it.
Just because this pride and paganism manifests itself in security issues in me doesn't mean it isn't out there in a million other ways either. Most anger and I would dare to say all anxiety is completely rooted in the fear of things we value being threatened. When we value things so much more than the giver of them. Those moments just scream that we don't believe God is big enough. The holding onto other people, things, ideas, as being our hope does something to us. It creates monsters of self-sufficiency who would dare to do almost anything to stay well padded from actually needing God.
I finished the Narnia series this break, and in the last chapter of the last book the line, "further up and further in" is used a lot. In the book it's referring to the New Narnia, the allegorical portrayal of heaven, and as they keep running through it everything keeps getting bigger and more vast and all the more exciting rather than smaller and more finite. Sometimes I think that as I keep walking forward, life should become simpler and more concrete, but the further up and further in I go it just keeps getting more expansive. I'm afraid of it sometimes, I'm fearful that all the expanse is just too big and I'm never going to find anything rightly. But really, I think the opposite side of the coin is that if it kept getting smaller and narrower I would feel confined to the ideology and one-wayism I have desperately been trying to get away from.
I need God to continue showing me the expansiveness of going further up and in, while likewise knowing that He is standing right next to me being my hope that this isn't too much. Maybe that is part of the rich life. In my mind, I perceive richness as peace. The older I get the more I'm finding that the things we do are usually about the pursuit of contentedness, and rarely do they achieve that purpose. Peace comes from the Peacemaker I guess, who understand the bloodiness that needs to take place to actually have it. He understands that peace is hard, but ultimately it's worth whatever the loss or ripping out of. Peace is mentioned so much in the bible and I've never really looked at it as being something I deeply long for, but that's really it. It encompasses so much, rest, contentment, hope, joy, and more. It's a catchall word. So maybe the rich life is really a life of peace. Something to think about.....