Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Living in the Shallows

I have often confessed that I have been shallow and would have been content to remain that way but that God wouldn't let me stay there. I have seen my shallowness as sin and refusal to be all that God called me to be.

That's why I love yesterday's devotional in My Utmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers tells me that "the shallow concerns of life are ordained by God." He says that, "To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps.” What a relief! He even goes so far as to say that I should “Beware of posing as a profound person.” How often I have done that because I viewed my shallowness as a character flaw. But Chambers tells me that, “it is not my devotion to God that makes me refuse to be shallow, but [my] wish to impress other people with the fact that [I am] not shallow, which is a sure sign that [I am] a spiritual prig.” Ouch! What crude sounding language from Oswald! What is a prig anyway? I looked it up. It’s not as crude as I thought, but makes good sense: “Somebody who is regarded as taking pride in behaving in a very correct and proper way, and in feeling morally superior to others.” Very humbling—God, forgive me. It’s not my shallowness that is sin, but my pretending not to be!

I’m relieved to know that my shallowness is not a sign of wickedness or that I have no depth—I know that I do. But, as Chambers says, “our safeguard is in the shallow things.” Sometimes we need to quit taking ourselves so seriously and just enjoy life. Sometimes we need to pull ourselves out of the grief, self-pity and condemnation that we often get bogged down in and just live in the shallows.Chambers tells me that if I refuse to allow anyone in my life who doesn’t meet my standard of depth, then the first person I’d have to kick out of my life as being the biggest fraud I’ve ever known is… myself!

So, starting today, I’ve decided to quit beating myself up for being shallow. I’ll also quit judging anyone else for living in the shallows. I know that I have depth and I will visit there often, but I can’t live there all the time, and I certainly can’t pretend to be there when I’m not! As Oswald Chambers says, “[even] the Ocean has a shore.” And so do I.

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!