I was reading "The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer" this morning. "....things. They were made for man's use, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God has showered upon him. But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul."
How can "things" have such an impact on our lives??
This seems to be an overriding theme God keeps bringing back to me.
Who or what reigns in my heart?
Looking back on the previous years journal sometimes helps me to see with a little more clarity. I pulled these from several different entries over the course of many months.
"The core of the false self is the belief that my value depends on what I have, what I can do and what others think of me. ~Basil Pennington
Thomas Merton describes this as "winding experiences around myself....like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered it's surface."
Because it is hollow at the core, the life of a false self is a life of excessive attachments. Seeking to avoid implosion and non-being the false self grasps for anything that appears to have substance and then clings to these things with the tenacity of a drowning man clutching a life ring.
These can be either a blessing or a curse. Blessings when they are held with open hands or gratitude, a curse when they are grasped in clenched fists of entitlement and viewed as "me" or "mine." (as Tozer said, "those gifts have the potential to ruin the soul")
We feel good when we surround ourselves by what we think are innocent indulgences and think they secure a state of pleasure that would not be ours without them. In reality, however, they sabotage our happiness and are hazardous to both our spiritual health and our psychological health.
Spiritual attachments serve as idols.
They are ways of coping with the feelings of vulnerability, shame, inadequacy that lie at the core of our false way of being.
When I try to fill my emptiness there's not much vacuum for The Spirit to fill.
Feel the emptiness - don't fill it with things, moving furniture, eating, shopping.
God uses disappointments to draw us to himself - to wean our hearts from every other perceived source of life (I need this to be happy) so that we might come to find our life in Him. (Walking with God - John Eldredge)
1 Peter 4:1-2 (msg) Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. (ouch) Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
Still too much of me
not enough of you Lord
too many spending sprees
on things I really don't need
never on anything really big
more like a faucet with a leak
a little here a little there
and soon there is a lake.
I am getting better and not using things to fill the void. But I still use them at times. I am seeing I use food too.
I am going to stop here today, I have more thoughts, but I will save them for another time.