Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mana From Heaven

I think I've let enough time pass once again that this forum of thoughts has faded away into indifference. Last year's attempt to remake myself into a prolific writer with an avid interest in social media fell flat after bouncing off my total disinterest. I've been trying to find the happy medium between what marketability says I ought to be as a writer and what I actually am. No, I am not arguing against change. I think some change would be healthy for me.

I've just taken on too much change for my own feeble strength to endure.

The message has been very clear throughout: I am nothing without God.

Ah, almighty God. He is, after all, the reason I have any desire to write. And this encompasses so many levels, but I am not talking about mere creation or His ability to imbue people with talent and preference. I am talking about my personal reaction to truth and to standing before my awesome savior - and this all started with my mother.

Yes, with my mother. She is the one who named me. Perhaps my biological father was involved, but that's a hill I don't presently desire to climb. I will ascribe this to my mother alone, thank you. I hope I am not undercutting the years of other efforts lavished on my development by my mom and actual dad by simplifying this, but my mom gave me the name Aaron and that one defining feature has impacted me severely. This may confuse some of you.

Aaron, by the definition I know, means "light bringer" and I've always been overwhelmed by a desire to share and distribute truth as I know it, but more importantly as I understand it. I've always known it was the meaning of the name which impacted me. I know this sort of statement breeds dismissiveness. "Oh simpleton, you've just decided that your name is granted meaning over your life, let's not make a fuss." I could play a word game to pacify such implications, but I'd rather not. Dismiss it as anecdotal if you must, but I know firsthand the impact of my name alone.

As an aside, this is why I believe in the power of a name. This is why I did not take lightly the implications of naming my own son. I believe I've set a course for his life through this one decision, and, putting the braggadocio momentarily away (no matter how pleased I am to be able to call my son "Mal")  I did not select his name based on what tickled my ears.

My name led me to the thought of becoming a minister, or a pastor, at a young age. Then, when that determination was deflated by my inability to stand before an assembly, it led me onward to the concept of storytelling. I could, I gauged, share as much truth as I desired to any audience I wanted if I just wrapped it up in entertainment. This one impetus, then - gifted from the very God I propose to share - has plotted my course for the past twenty years.

Another aside, just to say, I would have thought in my youth that this sort of thing needed to be grand. There should be something inherently epic about moments and decisions which shape the course of one's life. This lends some kind of divine legitimacy, right? God has been teaching me to be comfortable with the mundane. We place far too little importance on the simple moments of life. We have bred a culture constantly looking to intensify. I've spent years busily blinding myself to the commonplace in favor of the dramatic without realizing that everything, in the end, is banal. We shouldn't deny the importance of any moment by such a standard. Our moments, no matter how apparently unimpressive, are our moments nonetheless. That makes them significant.

So I eschewed everything in favor of storytelling. Except, I didn't have much understanding of what exactly it was I was striving for. In immaturity I still valued the immediate over building goals. Here another area where God has worked tirelessly to reshape my thinking. I've sacrificed things I ought to have savored and heaped mountains of mistakes against every thread pulled in effort to "start my life as an..." author, director, speaker, etc. Yet God leads me on. Still He grants me opportunities. One thread is more than enough with the power of the almighty and my list of iniquities fades to meaninglessness in the face of His leading.

Last year, once again, I went astray. My feelings muddled my mind. My situation muddled my feelings. My disobedience shaped my situation. My apathy bred my disobedience. My selfishness birthed my apathy. My comfort with twenty-seven years of believing in God gave me that arrogance to think I was His mighty servant who could stand on my own. I did not pursue a relationship with Him. Somewhere inside I didn't think I needed to. We are old friends, He and I. What do I need with daily communion? I considered myself immune to my self, forgetting that I am still a man and I am still living this life.

So, misunderstanding why all of my efforts to be a great and powerful writer, blissfully sharing truth through my inherently amazing stories, had gone astray, I began to search for more ways to force this course of action to succeed through my own strength. Guides insisted on improving my social media skills. I shouldn't be blatantly religious. I should couch any reference to a God or truth or an actual belief in allusion. These were the tools I could use to make myself attractively marketable. At last, I could forge a trail of profitability to legitimize the years I've invested into this writing. Others would see me as a success, providing for my family. All that I have done would suddenly be deemed "worth it."


First, God never once indicated to me that He intended to use my writing to provide for me, my family, or anything. In fact, He's fairly clearly indicated I should avoid any pretense of profit because it would hinder my ability to do what He wants. Incidentally, it has.

Second, sharing truth by allusion is impossible. God wants me to share some truth. To who, I am not sure. I do know He wants it done. By virtue of the fact that I still draw breath, I am certain He still intends for me to obey. By virtue of the bitter discomfort I feel in my gut for not actively sharing this truth, I know that He has not and is not likely to discharge me.

Third, I can have all the social media presence I might desire, but I will never have anything to write about which is not trite or pointless unless I write about what is on my mind and heart. This is a fact which I cannot circumvent through force of will or the sheer desire to be rich and freed from financial worries. Also, freed from financial worries? Who has ever...?

Fourth, God provides for me. I have moments where I recognize this, but my underlying attitude still fails to get the message. I was disappointed in the fact that I had to rejoin the regular workforce after being gifted nearly seven years to write as a primary profession. I think the message, however, is that God provides. He does so in the way that He deems best. I can be as unhappy or happy as I want about it, but trying to force provision out of my obedience to him is belligerence and stupidity. It's His decision, not mine and I need to stop putting myself in the place of God to make that decision.

Finally, and this is the whole point of what I've written today, I can't get anywhere without a relationship with God. I need daily communication to and from and I need to prioritize that over so many other things which have had their importance artificially inflated in my life. Without daily seeking my God, I am doomed to the same cycle of failure which has defined the past decade of my life.

Mana from heaven - I learned this as I lay drifting off to sleep last night - could be collected in the morning each day. It was only available in the morning. It only lasted one day. It was necessary to sustain life (in my case, spiritual life). If you don't gather your daily bread because you have other things to do, you get really hungry and then really weak and eventually you'll die.

I've been dead for far too long.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...loving this post, bro. God is definitely teaching you and showing you his ways. Praise God. It's amazing to be able to read in a few minutes what God has taken many years to percolate and work in you. Thank you for sharing that. The last paragraph was awesome; maybe YOU should have taught that portion when we got to it. Of course, you said you just learned it last night, so maybe we should backtrack. That lesson is definitely a power-packed little paragraph.