Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lose yourself

The feelings that compete for my heart's attention these days are fast-coming and varied. Love. Joy. Fear. Anxiety. Dread. Loneliness. Satisfaction. Confusion. Fulfillment. I came back to work part time last week and this week, and next week I will be back full time, so things have been changing in my life (yet again), and we still have some big changes coming up. I've never done too well with change, but truly find that often the dread of it is worse than whatever may actually happen, and am hopeful that's the case this time as well. Next week I start back full time, which means I'm away from my baby full time, and she's with someone besides me full time. And the week after that she'll start daycare. These baby steps of easing back into things have probably been very good for me, but they're opening a whirlwind of neurotic and incorrect thinking entwined with those competing emotions.

At the same time, I am absolutely convinced that in this whirlwind, my rock must be Christ. He must hold me fast, he must validate and define me. If I were to look any other direction for my self worth, I would fail and flail, and lose myself in the chaos of my heart. If I look towards my baby, who night by night varies even in her sleep patterns, not to mention her moods, and her willingness to smile or coo at me. If I look to my husband, who is himself a person of his own, with his own heart and days to manage. If I look to my work, filled with serving and catering to other people who are not nearly as important to me as my family. If I look to my own abilities. In any other direction, I will be let down, I will be given a false identity, and I will lose myself. So whether I like it or not, whether it's difficult for me or not, I must be found steadfast on the rock of Christ to thrive in any other relationship or endeavor. To thrive just in living my life!

Much easier said than done. Easier to find myself seeking a 2 month old's approval! Or in reading into every nuance of my husband's actions and attitudes towards me. Or in my own abilities, or who I can be at work. Those things seem concrete, even if they are in reality nothing more than shifting sands. But God, the solid rock, often seems obscure, and impossible to possess.

Yet I was struck the other morning by my own words to my child. In looking at and watching her during our early morning feeding, I whispered my love to her, and the words escaped my lips, "I want you to love me."

It occurred to me that I could never understand God's heart for me until I became a parent. I am filled with exuberance and joy over my baby. And an overwhelming and surprising aching for her, both for her good and happiness, and for her to share in love with me. And it occurred to me that perhaps at this very moment Christ is also whispering over me, "I want you to love me."

It's a shocking idea! Having Adria has given me a whole new understanding and appreciation of my own mother's love for me. But it is absolutely shocking to think of Christ himself loving me that way. And again, easier for me to relate it to my own earthly mother than my sweet Heavenly Father.

Could he really love me that way? Even me? Wayward and wishy-washy? Undisciplined and ungrounded? And then I think of my baby. She has never done anything to earn the strength of my love for her except exist. It would break me if she were ever ashamed to be with me or hid from me or rejected me because she didn't understand how much I love her and want her. Could it be that Christ loves me, accepts me as his daughter, in the same way?

At Christmas time we celebrate Christ's remarkable and miraculous entry into the world. He would do anything and go to any length to ensure our protection, to prove his love, to have relationship with us. I do not know greater love than he does.

I want my baby to love me. I want to be her #1. I want for her to laugh and smile whenever I walk into the room, and for us to delight in each other and the happiness of our love.

Christ, help me to reciprocate the free kind of love you have for me! Help me to lose myself and find myself in the security you and your love alone can give me, and fulfill me with. What a gift! What love! What I need!

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