Friday, November 12, 2010

To re-orient our identity

We all have had songs stuck in our heads (for Dayann yesterday, it was a medley of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long and Strangelove’s I Want Candy… Her mind is not a playground for the timid) and these songs can seriously affect the way that we think throughout the day. If you have a good song, it is like the soundtrack of your life that keeps you moving.

My brother posted a line from a song that means a lot to me. The simple lyric opens up the rest of the song and the melody keeps replaying through my head. This song re-orients my life to the subject and brings me back into rhythm with the community seeking the kingdom of God. Even though it was written in the 18th century, its simplicity continues to speak powerfully…

O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!

Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;

here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

This past week in our life group, we talked about the messages that have shaped our identities. Parents, siblings, teachers – knowingly or not—form the manner in which we view ourselves and that baggage can take years to unpack. Whatever is ingrained in us, especially negative, becomes our default response for interpreting our circumstances. If someone doesn’t return a phone call and I don’t know why, it is probably because they found better friends and moved on from me (or so the rationalizing goes). Maybe my experience of meeting thousands of people over the summer during camps established this thought pattern? That experience is not in itself, negative, but can affect my relationships negatively if I am not consciously aware of it moving forward. What do I think what Dayann doesn’t return my phone call or God is silent in prayer (as is often the case)?

The ongoing work of the spirit of God is in developing us into a people who are utterly renewed into the reality of life in relationship with God. This requires reshaping (and reversing in some cases) those images we have inherited and indulged. This is the reason to study scripture, meditate on the gospel, listen to each other’s stories, pray in earnest, and join a community in song. The combination of lyric and melody allows the penetration into our heart, soul, and mind, allowing us to respond in faithfulness with all of our being.

What has shaped your identity (whether positively or negatively)?

What methods are best suited to re-enforcing your true identity as a child of God?

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