The stepladder and the galaxy

“You will live in awe of what you credit with the blessing in your life.”
Paul David Tripp

An interesting thought. I see it in my life. If I credit my happiness with good friendships and being well-liked, that is what I am going to value and chase after. If I credit my fulfillment to hard work and learning, that will be what I come to pursue more and more. Same thing is true for extracurriculars and entertainment and writing and material possessions and the status quo or anything else; if I credit my joy as resulting from God’s blessings, then pursuit of God will be my priority. It’s an interesting little perspective check. Especially when it’s so easy to get thrown off course, even if you’re valuing all the right things but keep getting them in the wrong order.

It reminds me of a metaphor used to explain it to me a few years ago, the stepladder vs. the galaxy. We often think of our priorities as a stepladder: 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on, down the line, ranked highest to lowest. But godly priorities look more like a galaxy–with him at the center, and everything else in orbitals around that. All lit by his light and grounded by his gravity; each held in its proper place as he pulls all of it to himself. A stepladder missing a rung may not be very useful, but a sun without its planets still burns.

Christ-followers, remember not to make too much of this life. Of these earthly pursuits that are so good, perhaps, but are naught but a taste of what our God has to offer. Let us not lose sight of the sun amidst its planers. Let us revel in his brilliance and be filled with his fire.

Happy New Year!


Hello 2015

Sometimes, when I look at myself in moments of reflection like this, all I see is a to-do list–a long one–of problems to be fixed. Like if I can just get those things done, finish the list, I’ll be perfect. My mind will be clear and my heart will be pure. All my relationships will be perfect–especially my relationship with God. All I need to do is make sure my heart is in the right place, and keep working on the list.

Except, I’m human. So I fail. Over and over I fail, again and again until there seems no point in trying. There are times when I move forward–and it’s wonderful–but it seems for every two steps forward I take three steps back. And the list, with every failure, only grows longer, and longer, and longer…

That’s what I was thinking last night, as I worked on my resolutions for 2015. About all the things I need to do to fix myself. Not just what I listed as my actual goals, but about all the flaws in my heart. The things that I know are wrong inside.

And sometimes, with morning comes perspective. At least, in my head anyway. Internalizing it is a whole nother story, let alone acting on it. You see, I have a lot of internal problems. Well, sins. Might as well call it like it is. Things that hinder my relationship with God. I also, to be honest, have a lot of more tangible ones. And the thing is, I can’t…I can’t fix this.

I know it in my head. But somehow a big part of me still seems to think that I have to do it all. I’m on my own for this one. Yeah, God’s out there, He’s that distant Force I pray to for luck while I’m sorting all this out myself.

And I live this way.

And I am so glad that, even when I might seem so, this isn’t how it actually works.

It’s a cool think when I realize that God isn’t just a faraway, pie-in-the-sky, wish-me-luck kind of god. He’s here, he’s now, he’s real. That’s what the incarnation, which we celebrated just over a week ago, was all about, really.

And no matter what–regardless of demands, stresses, disappointments; expectations, irritations, qualifications; the shiftings of my mind, the distortion of my eyes, or the state of my heart–he is faithful, he is true, he is here, he is real, he is alive and he is active! Not only that, but he is personal. He knows my inner workings, he wove together the fabric of my being and crafted every corner of my soul, with all its curves and edges, and so he knows exactly where it is that the dust tends to gather, the rooms that go untended. He knows me, and understands me intimately–and loves me with a passion that sent him to the grave and back. The thing is, God wants the best for me. So it’s freedom, really, to surrender.

Oh, how desperately I need that reminder, every. Single. Day.

God, I give this year to you. Do with me as you see fit.