Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fully Alive

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

The words to the following song in the yellow box came to mind as I sat here in my living room thinking about what to write today. Its kind of a sequel to the Wizard of Oz story. In Oz Dorothy just wanted to get home. It talks about what her life after that experience might have been like. I wonder do we often just settle for familiar, comfortable and predictable life in black in white when we could have color with fully alive adventure, passion, purpose and destiny. What would you choose? 

I love the more recent twist on the original story in the Mini Series put out by the Sci Fi Channel called the Tin Man. In that one Dorothy is actually from Oz but sent out of that world by her mother to protect her from her evil sister who tried to kill her. In that story Dorothy is always kind of a miss fit in Kansas but never knows why. Then one day she is whisked back to Oz in a travel storm as the heroine, the only one who can save Oz from the power of the evil queen -aka her sister.  

I'm not sure why, I'm thinking about it. But I seem to struggle with ordinary days when nothing special is happening.  I'm sure I've spent too much time growing up reading fantastic adventure stories. I like to identify with the heroine, and see myself as that warrior princess who saves her kingdom from darkness. She some how overcomes whatever her fatal flaw may happen to be.

I wonder if it is more about the discontent that we feel through out our life. That feeling of never quite being in sync or fully connected because we have our head in the regrets of the past or in the dreams of the future and we don't fully experience today. 

Jesus wants us to live life to the full, to be fully alive. 

Ephesians 4:7-13 The Message
But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people. Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

I think some how we have to with the help of the Lord reconcile the past. Grieve the losses and allow them to rest in peace. Easier said than done and it seems to be quite a journey in and of it self to fully reconcile the past to the place that it no longer haunts you. Then there is the other side of the coin - the hopes and dreams for the future. Some how we need to be able to intrust that to the Lords. We need to figure out where the line between being responsible to plan and prepare and simply trusting that God has it handled. Perhaps it is the curse of the over achiever, the performance oriented to think that I have to have it all figured out and be prepared for what lies ahead. The trouble is that today only has 24 hours and the God we serve lives with us in the present. While he is able to see ahead and behind with the proper perspective and in light of his ultimate plan we are short sighted. Even if we could see into the past or into the future we would not be able to sort it all out with out his help.

I have found in trying to reconcile the past that I have had to have the Lord's help every step of the way. Some things I looked at completely wrong and allowed the beliefs about those incidents to color and affect my life in ways that the Lord had never intended. It has taken Him to help me take off the rose colored glasses and look at the stark painful realities. It has taken him to help me take off the cloak of shame or the scarlet letters that I have allowed others to pin on me.    

I think about the poem about Dorothy and what if she got back to Kansas and brought with her the sense of adventure and the color that she experienced in Oz. What if rather than regret what we lost we lay hold of the lessons learned in Oz. Things like Friendship makes the journey better even if our friends have flaw. There is a good path to follow in life and when we wander from it we get in to all sorts of un necessary troubles. There is no place like home, but if home is where the Lord is - then perhaps I am always home no matter where I may be. Things like the very things we think we are missing are things we already possess but can't see in ourselves. The cowardly lion had it in himself to be brave he just had to over come his fear. The scarecrow had a brain, he just needed to believe in himself. The tin man had a heart it had just grown rusty and he needed to learn to feel again. 

Back to our verse from Ephesians "But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift." 

Hold yourself capable, believe that God has already given you what you need for today. Sometimes we need to decide to try and use the gifts that God has already given us. We have to push past the fear of failure, past the feelings of discontent, inadequacy, and regret and get our head in the game. 

What if I stopped thinking about what I should be when I grow up and simply decide to grow up and be fully present in today. To trust in the gifts and talents that God has already given and been developing in me to make a way for me. What if I embraced today and let go of the faded memories and photographs of the past. What if we silenced the movies clips that play endlessly in our heads reminding us of how we have fallen short. What if we could live a life at rest and at peace and at the same time one that is vibrant and full of life. What if...

Ephesians 4 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

My goal today is to not allow the winds and scheming to toss me but to speak the truth in love and to grow up in Christ who is my Head. He who joins me together with others in his body so that we may grow and build one another up as each of us does our part. I suppose that is also my prayer for you today that you may be fully alive and embrace what God has for you today. 

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