How is this for a sad state of events here in Eden Lost. Last spring I taught English to Chinese junior high students in Beijing. Between classes when they were hanging out and chit chatting, a common topic of discussion was the air rating for the day. Junior highers checking their smog report app on their phones because it was so bad WAS NORMAL for them.
When you live in rather polluted areas, conversations teeter back and forth from horrified to black comedy. What else can you do?!
And often because you are helpless, you ignore signs of the influence, damage really, being done. I tried to wear a purifying air mask but it was hot, uncomfortable and I was so aware of my breathing I wanted to lunge at people and hurt them. So much for purifying the air if it polluted my interactions.
The idea of purity is another victim of Eden Lost as it has too often been narrowed down to what we do with our private parts and thoughts. Now don’t get me wrong, those bits matter.
But purity’s flip side of pollution and corruption are as pervasive as the toxic air breathed in Beijing (and other cities. Hello Taiyuan my old friend!).
I’m saddened every time I leave Beijing for the US, how much better my lungs and nose feel. I want them to be as happy in Beijing. Can you imagine the air in Eden? Oh for a deep breath.
But more than air, we were made for pure motives, pure food, pure thoughts, pure relationships with food, pure relationships with all resources, really, pure joy, pure entertainment, pure delight.
I know this series can be a bit of a downer – this was not my dream for us in this time – but to look up. I don’t know how to do that without being real about the actual muck we’re in. The muck in my own head and heart and on my lips and in my actions.
Let’s get honest about motives for a moment. Do I write to bless, encourage, and challenge you as the Lord leads? Yes, I do. Do I write so that my name will “get out there” and maybe at some point in the future, I might earn a bit from writing as a way to help support myself? Yes, I do. Is it wrong to have a plan and work hard? No, I don ‘t believe it is. But I also know my heart and how it dances a little too much when the hits on a post goes up or how it checks how many comments are made as a way to validate how important a post is.
My motives are a jumbled mess of pure and impure. Communal and selfish. Sharing and hoarding. Genuine and manipulative. And so are yours. Can the Lord untangle them and grown us? Yes, yes, yes! It’s like when I’d hand a jumbled mess of yarn to my grandma and she’d patiently untangle it as we chatted. God loves to chat with us as we untangle things.
And Hallelujah, it will not always be that way! In Eden Regained I will use my God given gifts purely and I will be fully and perfectly me. And you will be fully and perfectly you. Now that is a reminder that never gets old!
I know we all have them, where do you see “a jumbled mess” of pure and impure motives in your life?
All the posts in the series will be added to this page each day of October. If you would like to receive these reminders in your email inbox, subscribe now. I am enjoying the journey together. Amy
Reminders: Love, satisfaction, extravagance, freedom, belonging, recreation, truth, trust, purity
And in relation to yarn un-twirling, a verse I love: “For indeed the Word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul [according to my Greek reading friend, psyche, which means our mind and body, firing neurons, essentially everything about us rooted in our temporality] from spirit [the same word used in Holy Spirit, essentially that part of us which is not temporal but spiritual], joint from marrow, it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
And Jesus says he brings not peace, but a sword: A sword to cut our codependent tendencies from our ability to love with Christ’s love!
I find this metaphor (along with the one of refining fire) incredibly comforting, because it acknowledges that purification HURTS.
Preach it sister! And glad you’ve arrived in your new home!
Examining our motives is a good thing. We don’t want to be white washed tombs. We can, however, look too much at ourselves and not enough or at all at Jesus. He is our righteousness. Several years ago while cleaning the floor I was struck by the fact that I could sweep all day and all night for the rest of my life and never get the floor perfectly clean. I needed ( and still do) to look to the the One who is the pure ever-flowing fountain that cleanses me even here in Eden Lost.
Thanks for these reminders, Amy. I can’t always come up coherent enough thoughts to comment, but they do make me think. :)
Wow, Kristi. Thanks for commenting today. :) That floor-cleaning revelation of yours will stick in my mind. And it was definitely something I needed to hear today.
Though I’m not generally a comment-leaver, I want to affirm, Amy, that I always read and enjoy and appreciate your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and gifts with us!
Oh, where do I start? I think “a tangled mess” pretty much describes almost every part of who I am. In just about every area of my life I can see pure and impure motives.
I want to see my friends come to know Him because I want to see them forever, and because I want to feel like I’m being obedient.
I want to tell people how much I’ve learned from Him through this whole MS process, but at the same time I want to hide it from people for fear they’ll give me a pity party.
I want to sing His praises as loud as I can, from the bottom of my heart, but I notice myself wondering what people around me are thinking about my singing.
And the list can go on. Yep, I’m smack in the middle of Eden Lost and Eden regained. But someday, when I’m finally, truly HOME, I’ll be so focused on Him that everything else will fade to meaningless, and my motives will be completely pure! Maranatha!