Ecclesiastes says there’s an opportune time to do things—a right time for everything on the earth...
And I’ve realised I can’t say what’s right and what’s wrong, partially because I just don’t have the answers, and partially because I think the only way we can find an answer is when we peel back the walls of our hearts and look at what they’re holding tight to—individually, not collectively.
I learnt recently that the word genuine comes from the Roman custom of a father acknowledging paternity of a newborn child by placing it on his knee. Which of course got me thinking…
This is what the Father does to us. He claims us in our genuine form—our purest, most true versions of ourselves, places us on his knee and holds us, so proud of exactly who we are. He knows our character in its rawest form. We don’t need to dress it up for Him. But somewhere along the way it seems we can forget that. Not everyone sees our character like He does. People don’t always look at our genuine and raw parts and think they’re pretty, and I get that, but sometimes that’s where we get stuck. Sometimes we just need a little spring cleaning. Call me crazy but I really do love cleaning.
Cleaning encourages me to prioritise—and what all the buzz of the business of life has taught me is the importance of priorities. I’m sorting through my character. I’m standing on the outside of my own life, looking in - just how Jesus does. I’m examining the things I do and why I do them. If they’re genuine I’m keeping them and if they’re not I’m figuring out why they’re not. If I can’t change them then I’m getting rid of them. Brutal perhaps, but necessary. I’m thinking about my intentions and what they are and I’m observing the things I fill my time with.
I’m trapping the times I’m sitting around a fire with the people I love—no phones, no need for confirmation that we’re having a good time. Just happy eye contact, one glance acknowledgment that the moment is pure. Conversations suffocated in only things that bring out people’s passion.
I’m trapping the times I catch myself being cynical too. Of course there are plenty of those. And I’m trying to pinpoint the bitter stuff, but that can be difficult as well. When being introspective, some things are hard to admit and some pills are hard to swallow. But I’ve learnt that if we’re going to truly change the things that need changing, we have to swallow those pills, we have to admit those things. Sometimes we have to follow the trunk of our tree back to its roots to find the things that are killing the branches. Yes, I also love metaphors.
And I mean, maybe we don’t require a radical change—maybe we just need to stop being afraid to look at ourselves stripped bare. A staring contest with the things that need the most change. To tear apart the rooms of our hearts and organise them in a way that Jesus would. When we do that, nothing can be out of place.
Beth is one of our Young Adult leaders at Nexus and is a lover of words and stories. With a background in communications, a lot of her writing is mentally crafted when skateboarding by the Brisbane river or aimlessly perusing the aisles of Kmart.