Monday, October 19, 2015

Passive Faith

We put a great deal of emphasis on activity - in our lives, in our faith. We always need to be doing something, as if were we not doing something, we would be doing nothing. And it sounds like, of course. The opposite of something is nothing. 

But there's more to it than simply this. 

For instance, we spend a great deal of time trying to "find" ourselves. This is what our culture has told us we must do - we must go out and seek ourselves, discover who we are, put together a self, a life, from what we find. And most of us take this to heart and spend our lives searching, finding. We think that finding is the thing. It's the something. And the opposite of finding is abandoning. It's the nothing. So we either do something - find ourselves - or we do nothing - and we're lost forever. 

It's almost true, except...except if you are really set out on finding yourself, you must at some point become a self who can be found. And being found is something, too. 

Or we say things like how much we want to grow in this life. And we set about trying to grow ourselves. We provide ourselves the food we deem necessary for growth, be it spiritual or physical. We tie ourselves into networks intended to grow us socially or relationally. We seek out water, running or living, to quench our thirst. We turn toward the light, allowing it to nourish us. We're doing all the right things to facilitate our growth.

Except...we have not stopped to consider whether we are able to be grown. 

We talk about loving better, but are we able to be loved? We talk about becoming stronger, but are we able to be strengthened? 

It's easy to get lost in the active life. After all, active feels like something. Finding, growing, loving, becoming - these are the active things that we do. Being found, being grown, being loved, being strengthened - these are not as much our doing. They seem like very passive things.

Passive things, yet perhaps the most powerful things. 

If you cannot be found, all the finding you ever do in your life will be futile. You can search for yourself literally forever without ever coming any closer. But it's a hard thing to do, this being found. When you set out to find, you can look for the things that you hope you are or that you desire to be. When you allow yourself to be found, you must embrace who you actually are, warts and all. That takes incredible faith. It takes faith to stand wide out in the open and say, "Here I am. This is me." Now, if you don't like who that is, then set about - by prayer and discipline - to change it. But understand that you can't just set out to find in yourself someone who you're not. Being found requires that you be wholly who you are. 

If you cannot be grown, what's the point of all your nourishment? You may expand your boundaries, but not your horizons. And what good is that? But it's a hard thing to do, this being grown. It's one thing to say that you know you must grow; it's another thing entirely to take that message into your heart and allow yourself to change. To be grown means to admit that right now, you're not the full manifestation of yourself. It takes faith to say, "I am not who I was intended to be." Now, if you know that you're not who you were intended to be, then set about - by prayer and discipline - to change it. But knowing that you need to grow inherently requires knowing all that you're not. Being grown requires that you be wholly who you are.

Are you getting the idea? There's so much of faith, even our active faith, that rests on our passive faith, our willingness to simply be wherever we are. It's our willingness to admit our shortcomings, our fallenness, our emptiness, our ache. That little word be, it indicates the passive. It indicates not that we are doing something, but that something is being done to us. It sounds like...nothing. 

But it's really everything. 

Because if you can never allow yourself to be, how do you ever hope to become

And just look at that beautiful word. Become. It's the active and the passive drawn together, the doing and the being done all at once. It is be, for we have no choice but simply to be, and it is come, for we ache to move. So become. Become to the Father, just as you are. Let your passive faith speak and your active faith hear. It's okay. 

Seek, and be found. Eat, and be nourished. Drink, and be quenched. Love, and be loved. Believe in who you are today, in the God who knows you just as you are. Be that. And be come to Him. 

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