Tickell Expressions

Monday, 2 February 2015

TMD Week One - Part Two

Hello Friends,

If you have been following you know I started this blog mainly to share my 2015 Take Me Deeper art journal, a group project over at His Kingdom Come. Each Friday the TMD team presents a bible passage for the members to meditate on throughout the week. Week One (January 2) the scripture was Romans 12:1-2. Each verse spoke volumes to me so I made a separate page for each. On Friday I posted my page for verse one. This post is about verse two.

The verse reads, "Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is; his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
The word, "pattern" caught my attention particularly. As I thought and prayed about it, I saw something that I had never seen about this verse before.
Tag is stapled to the page by the ribbon
I had always thought the verse meant, "Don't live a wordly, sinful life." It does mean that, in part, but when I dove into the meaning of the word "pattern" I saw something different. A pattern is anything that is repetitious and predictable. Like the gingham checked paper I used for my letters, the pattern is predictable: a pink square, a white square, a pink square, a white square and so on. It repeats itself; it is knowable, it is familiar, comfortable; safe. Not so with our God. As Mr. Beaver stated in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", "He's not a tame lion."
Tag flipped over

No one can ever fully know the depths of our God and his unfathomable love for us (Ephesians 3:18). We can search his depths and increase our knowledge of him, but we cannot do so by following a pattern.

As I meditated on this verse and the word 'pattern' I realized that sometimes my prayers are more dead ritual than living communion. I find myself saying the same things in the same way. This usually happens when I am ready to go to sleep or hungry to dig into a meal. I often pray, at those times, in a way that says I am not really expecting to connect with God at the moment; I am just in the habit of praying at these times. It is the pattern I have followed for many years. Am I going to stop praying before sleep or before meals? No, not at all. These are good spiritual disciplines and they do have value.

My husband kisses me whenever one of us leaves the house. Most kisses are light pecks, but I appreciate that he values me enough to do that. Now and again he stops long enough to give me a real kiss and I love those times.

In the same way, I think God appreciates that I value him enough to thank him for my food before I eat it and that I pray before I fall asleep, even if I am very tired. But he also wants me to take the time so he can give me 'a real kiss'.

When I breathe out his name and wait for his love to pour over me; when I meditate on his word and ask him to reveal its meaning to me; or when I go to bed early so I can pray before I am exhausted and longing for sleep -- these are the times when he will reveal himself more fully to me and when I can learn what his good, pleasing, perfect plan is for my life.
Another thing that can obstruct my being transformed by the renewing of my mind is holding fast to old patterns of belief. Let me say that I emphatically believe all scripture is given by the inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16). I also believe the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). My understanding of God and of his written word should be continually growing.

Recently I read the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. The Lord revealed himself to her in profound ways that were not familiar to many of her religious leaders. She received many rebukes and was told that she was being deceived. This caused her great distress of mind and emotion.
Finally one wise priest prayed with her and advised her to submit herself to God, begging him to not let any deceiving spirit come near her. This priest believed that God's love for Teresa was greater than any deceiving spirit. Even though her many revelations, raptures and trances were not common to others at that time, she was growing in her understanding of God and of his love, for herself and for others. The beautiful transformation of her nature that took place as a result of her 'way of prayer', convinced most of her former critics that God was truly pouring his grace upon Teresa.

My phrase for 2015 is "make space". Its application for this verse is, "Make space for fresh revelation. Don't be held back by old patterns of belief."

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my new blog and to let me share a bit of my faith journey with you today.

Blessing hugs,


Angela Hoynes said...

Your posts are always inspiring, but the ones here particularly so. I love how you have explored the deeper meaning of "pattern". I find you echo a lot of my thoughts and feelings. I wish I could write it all down as you have done. Well done my friend xx

NanaConnie said...

I just want to share with you that you've inspired me to read St.Teresa's biography again. I remember reading it many years ago when I was much younger. Thank you, my friend.