Monday, First Week of Advent

I have pledged to join Pastor Jodi Haier in an Advent blogging discipline. We are both using the same Advent devotional with our churches (click the picture below for more information on the devotional), and we will both be sharing nearly-daily personal responses to each day’s readings. We’re excited to see how different our responses might be, and also where there will be places of convergence. If you are using this devotional resource and would like to share your own reflections, post them in the comments of either of our blogs, or send us a link to your own blog–we’re happy to post links!

Advent

“Can I choose to make innocence my home, think from there, speak from there, act from there? It is a hard choice because my insecure self wants so much to be part of a world that controls, rewards, and tells me whether I am good or bad.”

Innocence as the antidote to insecurity? Wow. I never would have thought of that. It sits right, though, with my experiences. I’ve definitely felt the ways that insecurity can make me want to seize control and sort the world into well-labeled boxes. Innocence, which in this case I think Nouwen is using to mean a simple trust in God’s provision and love, allows life to happen.

I think of the difference between my 16 month old son and my 4 year-old daughter. My daughter is already developing those insecurities that plague us all, and as a result, she is slightly less trusting, and slightly more controlling. Rather than trusting that I will do what is best for her, she attempts to control my behavior to get the result she wants. My son, on the other hand, is still young enough that he mostly goes with the flow–as long as Mom or Dad is close by he trusts that his needs will be met.

Of course, a big part of the difference, too, is lack of ability. My son has less impulse to control his world because he doesn’t know how to do most of what he wants done–he can’t peel a banana, or fill his bottle with milk, or change his own diaper. My daughter, however, is just capable enough that she likes to believe she can do anything and everything.

And that–that describes me, pretty well, too. Just capable enough that I like to believe I can do anything and everything. It is frightening to imagine relinquishing control and trusting God to provide. Is there a difference between this simple trust and naivete?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Well I guess the first step in determining the difference between the two (simple trust and naivete) is recognizing what we do have control over and what we don’t, which is a difficult first step. I mean we know we need food to live, but to just sit in our house and wait for God to materialize food right in front of us is naive (if not just downright stupid). But if we have paid all the bills and we now have X amount of dollars to buy groceries for the week, and it is really not enough and yet we have done everything that was in our control to do. In those moments we look to trust God and it’s scary. Trust that maybe some how there will be some sales so the money stretches further than we thought, or a local food bank will have a full pantry to share with us, or neighbor’s and friends will allow God to work through them and share some of what they have, and that we will allow ourselves to humbly accept the help God has offered. So I guess in a nutshell what I’m saying is that Naivete- believing that God is going to do everything for you and you never have to make any decisions ever again. Trust- believing that God will back you up in your efforts, and that when you think you have exhausted all the options he/she still help you find a solution to your problem(s).

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