Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Snowflakes and Poems: Who We Are

Declaration 7 [part I]:  The new creation that I am will inhabit her identity.  She will not long for the adventure or husks of others.  She will give others the freedom to do the same: to be whom they were created to be. 

For the Designer is the Greatest Poet, and we are His poetry.

For a very long time, I thought [and was taught] that there is only one way to be a good Christian woman.  I have seen numerous leaders, both national and within the context of my local worship, strive to put forth this ideal.  I have read countless authors, of books and blogs, who aim to provide practical ways to fit our sloppy selves into this mold.   Why?  Because we have this model seemingly preserved for us in Scripture.  She allegedly lurks at the end of Proverbs…or at least, that’s what we’ve been told.  But I am learning that this cookie-cutter image of Christian woman perfection isn’t what we’ve made it.  Lady Wisdom [Sophia, aka: Proverbs 31 woman] is not the sole standard for good Christian girls, nor one for which we should blindly strive.  Instead, she is an inclusion of the feminine in a time when women in cultures outside the nation of Israel were chattel.  God put females in His Word, and thus made their value, their worth to Him, important.  Worth writing down, and preserving for all generations.  So that they might not be ignored or demeaned or seen as less.  Thus, we should not assign to Lady Wisdom a role for which she was not intended: the only way to be an ideal-Christian-woman.    
I’ll confess: I am not a Women’s Ministry kind of gal, for a variety of reasons.  But it was only within the past two years, that I figured out (after two dear and wise mentors told me thus) this is okay.  I hate shopping.  Bores me to tears; except for once or twice a year when the mood strikes.  I’ll take a pedicure, but more often than not my toes are an embarrassment to ideal femininity.  I’d rather hike, snowshoe, ski, camp, dive under the water and get my hair wet than stay prettily coiffed and made-up.  I could spend all day trolling youtube for poets, listening to their lyricism not with my ears, but with the cavity their words carve into my chest.  But I could skip math altogether.  I love to read, would give up days upon days to linger in books; I love the cinema so much that I strove for a year to learn its craft and make it my own.  I write; but you already knew that.  And yes, I'm more than just a little bit of a nerd [to whit, I will now impress you with photos of my homemade Christmas decoration from last year].  

 Get the template here
I could go on and on about who I am; but that is not the purpose.  I don’t need to explore what makes me, me.  I need to be me.  I need to live out loud the poem that God created me to be—not a rerun of one He has already penned.        

God, the Creator of all things, isn’t a one-hit-wonder.  We each are different.  Oh thank God that we are!  And we were created to be thus.  God isn’t a maker of replicates.  He has not been interested in repeating the same creation over and over again since He spoke the myriad of galaxies into existence.  He designs purposefully, with precise intent.  He put you and I right here, for right now.  Not so that we may replay Christian victories of the past, or mimic ages long since gone.  But so that we may be us, in this time, to the glory and delight of our King.    
 And this one here
Consider snowflakes.  Out of the billions that fall from the sky each year, not one—not a solitary one—is identical to another.  If God can take such care in creating a tiny ice sculpture that will melt with the heat of the sun, how much more does He delight in making every person unique from any other?   Each one of us, since time began, is one of His poems.  And as such, not a single one of us is exactly like another.  As the poetry metaphor goes, there are those who are Emerson-esque, or Barrett-Browning, or Coelho, or Bennett, or Shakespeare, or even Cummings.  Some are wild and full of thunderous energy.  Others flow with melody and tenderness.  Still others stumble over the necessity to be known and understood.  And others, stoic and still, can only be appreciated when patiently mined for meaning deep within, by unrelenting love.          
 Finally, this one here
Rejoice in the fact that you are you, and no one else.  That you have your life, not that of another.  In this time, in no other period but this.  You are not called to be anyone other than who you are.  Yes, we are each called into greater Christ-likeness; but that is a Christ-likeness that can only be reflected in you.  You, without whom the world and time would be incomplete.  You, whom God delighted in planning before even the foundations of the world was formed.  You, whom God knows so well that He numbers the hairs on your head and knows what words will spill off your tongue before you speak them.  You, not any other person, alive or dead.  You.    

Though this post appears, at surface, to be aimed only at women, it also has application for Christian men.  We mustn’t assume that there aren’t ideals for men to strive to attain.  What about the chest-thumping leader who is gentle enough to weep at the sight of a newborn while courageous enough to run head-long into fire or war to save those under his care; a man who rises every morning with certainty of what he was called to do, and who tireless provides for his family, even to the detriment of his own well-being.  A man who devoutly captains family devotions as master theologian and prays over his family, out loud and daily, with the finesse of an evangelist.  Lion-slayer, foot-washer, witty apologist, and gentle psalmist, who flays his shield at the onset of danger and every moment of every day delights in the bride of his youth as flowery words pour from his lips lauding her place in his life.  Certainly even this hyperbolic ideal, a case for which could be made using scripture, is not what all men everywhere were designed to be.  And it is a mold into which mortal men will not fit.    

Within the twelve who walked with Jesus, and the women we find attending Him, we are privy to glimpses of separate personalities.  Jesus didn’t laude one over another.  So why do we?

Again, I urge you, be the you God created you to be.  For the glory of His Kingdom, and the delight of His heart.    

*For a practical exercise, check out the fourth paragraph of this article.

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