I find God when I look away from me. If only looking away from me could be as easy as it sounds.
There’s a chapter in my next book titled, “We are always on our minds.” That pretty much says it all, but of course, I can’t leave it there. I’m too wordy of a belle for that.
More and more I’ve come to realize that we are either selfish self-involved and self-confident, or self-conscious self-haters. We miss God on both ends.
We may not enjoy the admission but it screams truth, doesn’t it? Looking away from ourselves requires a lot of effort, remedial effort since it’s kind of like our default position. I’ve noticed that I have to do it over and over again, but oh, when I do— I get to see God.
I shared a story on ATS LIVE last week that can help me explain the valuable lesson I’ve been learning in the past few years about keeping my eyes off of me and on the cross that is my strength and my salvation. The story involves a little blue nylon tent that has been a source of frustration around this house for a while.
I bought the tent for my grandchildren, and just as I thought, the group deemed it a super duper play house. Setting it up was as easy as the package advertised. It popped right out of its handy dandy pouch, setting off squeals of delight from the All Things Southern Grand Czars. Returning it to the carrying case? That’s where the real fun began. According to the instructions, collapsing it is a one, two, three type of thing. It’s almost comical to watch the beloved hubby and I try to wrangle it into submission. (I said “almost.”) We remain stuck on illustration number two.
Here’s something to think about. The Bible calls these flesh and blood homes that our spirits live in “tents”, too, and when the Lord comes to live in us, we see the New Covenant fulfillment of the Old Testament Tent of Meeting where God descended to meet with man. We’re often slow to admit it, but once we unfold this wonderful gift of salvation, we can find ourselves as challenged with handling this tent of meeting as I am with that store bought job.
I may never be able to man-handle that nylon blue tent, but I’ve learned a crucial lesson about dwelling in this flesh and blood tent with the Almighty. I can’t manhandle my own personal mess and I’m not meant to try. As believers, the Word teaches that we’ve become the temple of God, His sanctuary. That same Word says we’re increasingly transformed into His image, not by our efforts, but by looking away from ourselves and training our eyes on Jesus. Infatuation proceeds transformation. Forget self. Behold the Lamb.
That’s where I find God.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is an author, speaker, and radio host from Louisiana who recently stored that tent in the attic, unfolded. This means she will now be afraid of spiders living in and it will probably not see the light of day again until her man is prepared to wash it down with the high pressure washer. Oh, the plans of mice and men…You can find more of Shellie’s ramblings at http://www.allthingssouthern.com where she regularly celebrates the charm and heritage of the South.