New Year 2012

“O Lord, you have searched me, and you know me (vs 1) … Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead in me in the way everlasting. (vs 24).”

I grew up in a family that wasn’t polite for being-nice’s-sake.

Criticism was a common occurrence. I grew a pretty thick skin and learned not to inhale when others complimented me. After all, some people give compliments because they can’t bear to tell you the truth: that you look horrible in that skirt, that you stink, that your performance was terrible, etc.

So, I’ve almost always felt like I’m pretty realistic about myself. My motivations. My character flaws. My strengths. My weaknesses. At some points in time, such realism was brutal … and I found myself backing away from it sometime in college.

In the wake of realizing that the New Year had rung in and I hadn’t done my yearly review and resolutions, I found myself floundering a bit for a Bible-reading regime this year. Well after the new year, I tried to order something online, but was having problems purchasing, so I figured, “I’ll just use My Utmost for now, since we have several copies.”

Talk about divine tech-problems.

I found this the first day of my new devotional reading: The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being, which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139. The psalmist implies—‘O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the moutain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my sould has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the night of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.’

This just resonated with me, and resonates with me today. Psalm 139 is probably my favorite Psalm in the Bible — but I had never thought about it like this before.

I cannot really know myself.

I used to think this was absurd. I know myself. I’ve always believed this. Throughout my life, I’ve spent a lot of time on self-reflection, and I probably know myself a lot better than most people out there.

But lately, I’ve begun to think I’m not so sure that I really do know myself. My job is about confrontation, in a manner of speaking. But, in my job, I have trouble sometimes confronting. I realized this the other day on the phone with another attorney with whom I was having a disagreement, but found myself not wanting to actually disagree.

Huh? What else is there that I do not realize, am afraid to realize, about myself?

This is an absolutely terrifying question.

A few days after the above-quoted Oswald Chambers, he says, “We can only be used by God after we allow him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves!…How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?”

And the next day, Chambers asks, “Are we alone with Him now?”

Today in church, we sang: “In the Secret, In the Quiet Place, in the Stillness, You are there.” This song was new when I was in high school – it’s kindof ‘old’ now – but it reminded me of myself then. How earnestly I yearned to know the Lord; but, immature that yearning was. How disappointed I was if God did not immediately show himself, or offer an ephinany.

And today, I thought that, maybe God has given me His own resolution for me this New Year.

Create some stillness and quiet. Let His Spirit reveal those parts of myself that I cannot know; and trust His grace to be sufficient.

I am absolutely terrified.

“O Lord, you have searched me, and you know me (vs 1) … Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead in me in the way everlasting. (vs 24).”

So, if you feel like it, how do you create quiet and stillness? How best to let the Lord seach us and test us?

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