i have realized, at long last, what i have always known but never took time to practice: all the things i have imagined as "the stuff of life", mean nothing. my face, your face, they mean nothing. my size, age, home, financial status, nothing. my personality, my tastes, as well as yours, again, nothing. my art, your art, they mean nothing. accomplishments, nothing. good deeds, nothing. although these things may be good, like my art or your art --as it may help express our emotions and even touch other people's lives-- but the fact is: our art, our work, our tastes, personalities, home, size, face are temporal. in fact, all these things we take such great stock in are so very temporal, that unto the eternal, they are considered as chaff in the wind.
good lord, how frightening this realization is at first, for all of spend years --our lifetimes-- believing otherwise. i realize the mentality of many artists --myself included-- often count ourselves as something special that the world has not yet discovered, or maybe the world is beginning to discover --or worse-- if the world has snatched us from the crowd and put us on a grand display, then we feel we must strive to maintain our work, we set the bar higher and higher, to prove that we are, indeed, the unique one among the rest, worthy of attention and praise and love. i have yet to meet a secure artist. we have moments when we feel powerful, yet in truth, we are constantly powerless and frightened, just like the rest of humanity.
Matthew 16:25 Jesus says, "Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their
lives for me will find them."
or more interestingly said in The Message Bible: Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
one month ago, my counselor shared two important things with me, one, do not resist your suffering, accept that you have it. this does not mean you have to be happy about your suffering, but acknowledge you have this disorder. too much energy is wasted resisting it, and it causes depression. two, invite God into every part of your suffering. e-v-e-r-y part.
since then, God has been revealing many things to me by his spirit and word...like what i wrote above. old, ancient teachings about dying to self, and i am now just scratching the surface. indeed, he knows the pace at which to teach each of his children about his mysteries. some catch on quickly, some slowly, some not at all.
so i am currently mimicking Mary, who "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart," as i explore with Christ what it really means to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him.