Last week, I had an opportunity to look back at an essay I’d written three years ago. I had been so proud of it, otherwise I wouldn’t have submitted it for publication. It got rejected and for good reason. Yikes. Reading that essay was like wandering into a Bed Bath & Beyond store with no idea why I was there.
I meandered into bedding and fingered the high thread-count sheets. Then I zoomed by curtains to the kitchen department where I hefted an anodized skillet. On my way to check-out, I sighted hair products, sniffed scented candles, admired geegaws, and snagged a candy bar. Was that what I was there after? A feel-good candy bar?
Perhaps you know the old joke about people my age. A pastor asks his mid-life parishioner, “Do you think about the hereafter?” and she replies, “All the time. I walk into a room and ask myself, ‘What am I here after?’”
Apparently, my essay was after everything in Bed Bath & Beyond but the kitchen sink.
A popular expression when I grew up in mid-century United States, this cliché often referred to packing one’s suitcase with everything, a Soup-to-Nuts everything meal, or bombarding the enemy with everything you’ve got, including the kitchen sink.
At least in my essay, I had shown that bit of restraint—no sink. But in truth, I cooked up everything I could get my hands on then bombarded my reader with everything I had to say, as if there’d never be another opportunity to get stuff off my chest.
Yesterday morning, God sent this timely message from one of my online subscriptions:
Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.
That’s what I’m here after. So. I’ve declared a cease fire. When I get back to that essay, I’ll unpack the bulging suitcase and cut the multi-course menu down to one central dish with a few sides. It’s okay for me to wander around in self-awareness while writing a first draft—God expects that. But in order to write something worthwhile, I must ask Him to put His awareness in me.
That’s what I’m here after. Completeness in Him.