on what might hide a slide

Posted: February 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

Recently in church our pastor shared measurements that he can tell he is getting away from God: agitation, sarcasm, and not liking people.  While I thought his list of three was interesting, in Karen’s world, absolutely everything rolls back around to being about ME sooner or later.  In this case, it was sooner:  I immediately started wondering:  what behaviors or attitudes manifest in me when I am wandering away from God? 

So, one day I sat down over lunch with a paper and pen, on a mission to make such a list. 

It was hard.

In the end, I found that my list was all “inside” stuff.  It was things like:  measuring or judging others, evaluating how I am treated by others, focusing on “my rights,” being excessively worried about what others think of me, and suffering from low self-esteem.  Try as I might, I couldn’t really find outward signs.

That’s when it occurred to me that being the Very Compliant and Mostly Well-Mannered Person that I am contains a specific danger:  my decline is generally not quickly detectable.  Like this:

My socially backward bent kept my nose in a book at recess at school – which made it easy for me to keep my hands to myself on the playground. 

My lack of hyperactive tendencies can look deceptively like peace.

My people-pleasing nature keeps me from bringing forth honest issues that may need to be addressed, for the health of the relationship or the situation. 

My default setting of conflict avoidance can create the illusion that all is well. 

So basically, I realized if I were a little less inclined to play nicely, it might be a little more apparent when I am struggling.  The yuck might come to the surface faster, and be more quickly detectable.  I might come face to face with my need to run back to Him sooner.  As it is, I can fool myself and others into thinking I’m still doing swimmingly, because I’m not “acting out.” 

I am a bit surprised to be surprised at this little revelation.  On some level I already knew it.  I remember that when I worked with teens, I saw the most potential in some of the worst behaved kids – the potential was hiding behind the behaviors, but it was huge and highly visible for those who had eyes to see.  I note that a large percentage of my close friends have tended to be extremely outspoken people – I find something innately trustworthy about someone whose truth is close to their surface, not buried down where it can be layered over with manners and nuance (you know…like mine is.) 

Am I going to start acting up and acting out, to change myself so that my little forays off to the Land Faraway from God will be more detectable in me?  Nah.  I reckon it’s just a reminder that I need to be intentional about praying that scripture that asks Him to search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me.  Just gotta stay aware that I’m pre-set to miss the signs…and thus I’ll need His constant guidance on this one.

It’s never a bad thing, being reminded of the importance of my reliance on Him!

 

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