Monday, September 05, 2011

One Word 2011.8

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So, it's been a while since I actually wrote about - okay, even thought about - this word shalam that God gave me as my One Word for this year. Part of that has been due to the fact that, like I wrote about earlier, I was trying to fit this word into my life without actually seeing where God said it was to be put into or was already there. This just goes to show that I am not so much holy as I am thick.

Among the various definitions of the word, the one that has been speaking the loudest to me recently is "safe." Now, a normal, logical person would say that this is because God wants me to find rest, to find comfort, to find security in Him. This, of course, means that my iteration of "safe" is about as whacked out and ironically unsafe as humanly possible.

When I think of something being "safe," I envision - naturally - a safe. Something which hold items in it securely. Then there's then notion of taking this "safety" a step further, and personalizing it into the form of a security blanket. Within this safety comes comfort and security.

I've been feeling such discomfort in my life lately that you might think that I lack for safety or security. I've been feeling discomfort in my spiritual walk (in true Paula Abdul fashion, it goes one step forward then two time zones back), in my writings (if rejections are good for the soul, then my soul is awesome), and discomfort in my dreams and passions. So much so discomfort that I typically have one of those "well, should I just give up and take on a gig as a barista or something?" moments somewhere around nine or ten times a day.

The problem we (collectively) have with being safe is that we unintentionally equate being safe with being sound. And unfortunately, a life of faith oftentimes leaves little room for being "sound." We are called to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), but not to be still, barricade ourselves into a gated community of the heart and not interact with the world. God will provide (something about birds of the air comes to mind), and we will be dropped head-first into situations that we have the ability to resist and get out of, but nothing about those situations makes them feel like they belong in any known definition of "safe."

Is it safe to walk into that room where you know you will be tempted? Is it safe to speak to and try to show love to that person you have wronged? Is it safe to once again wake up and try to lay claim to the day by laying it before God and praying for protection? I mean, the answer lies within the question: if we are to be safe, what exactly do we need protection from?

And before you answer "from yourself," just save that answer for the bonus round of questions, m'kay?

We tend to view the idea of being safe as solely being on the other side of danger, never realizing that to be safe is to exist on a continuum that shifts time and again. Is it safe to walk into that room where you will be tempted? No, but it can be. What at one point may have been more dangerous than skinny dipping in a pool of piranhas may become something you easily can resist. With work. And time. Is it safe to speak to and try to show love to that person you have wronged? No, but it can be. What at one point may have been the epitome of an awkward turtle moment can become a redeemed relationship. With work. And time.

I'm trying to take this notion of being safe and letting God define it, not me. What He calls safe, I may refer to as another four-letter word - but I'm trying to work on that trust fall with Him. And I'm trying to redefine the areas that I would call filled with land mines, that valley of the shadow of death, that He is asking me to walk through - with Him - as an area where I can be safe.

Shalam indeed.

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