I have a confession to make...well actually two confessions. I tend toward pride and nothing I say is original.
We'll take the pride first. I love hearing the replies after I send out an update because they often feed my ego. Now I am not saying that we don't all need to hear nice things about ourselves. It is just as the Nicole Nordeman song "Legacy" says: "I don't mind if you got something nice to say about me. We all need an "atta boy/atta girl" (I hope I got those right...most of you know I tend to butcher lyrics if I am not reading them straight from the jacket cover.) But when I find myself checking my email every couple of hours to see if I have received any new replies that tell me how wonderful and brave and inspiring I am then that is pride. And guess, what? I have done that on more than one occassion. The legacy I need to be concerned with is not that I said the right things, but that I loved well. And so I return to that Nicole Nordeman song: "How will they remember me? Did I choose to love?"
Okay onto the second one. I have told my friend MC on the occassions when she tells me I have said something that makes sense to her "you know that nothing I say is original." I read and listen a lot. I take what I hear, try to digest it, put it together with everything else, and out it comes. It makes me think of a cotton candy machine...pouring in the sugar and spinning it around until it turns to that delicious fluff. It's still sugar, but its just been spun differently. You know how their is always a piece of clumpy sugar in even the smoothest cotton candy that messes up the texture a bit for that bite...I am sure that would fit in with this analogy as well, but I haven't quite worked it out.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that I don't have to agree with someone to learn from them. Reading or listening to others who have an opposing view or who just make us think about something in a new way challenges us to grow...it will either give you food for thought and maybe give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in you in some area or it will help you solidify why you believe something they don't. The goal is not for us to become cookie cutter images of one another...it is to be made more into the likeness of Him who formed us in His image...and it is obvious that although some may get closer to the truth than others, nobody gets it all right. There are many authors I enjoy reading with whom I don't agree on all points--and maybe neither one of us has it "right." I like to pay particular attention when something I read or hear wrankles my chains and makes me defensive. I have learned that often there is something that needs to be explored more deeply there...why am I so upset by what this person has said? What am I afraid of? I am not talking about rhetoric that is clearly designed to push your buttons or attack...that is something different entirely--I am talking about when I read (or listen to) an opinion or position that is different from mine, and I get all upset about how "wrong" this person is. Those are some of the times the Holy Spirit has done His best work in me, but it only happens when I let down my defenses and let Him uncover, dispense with, or move things around in new ways.
Here is a list of authors/teachers I have enjoyed over the last few years...certainly there are more, but these are the ones who come to mind. Some of these provided comfort food and some provided the spice, and some have provided things that initially tasted bitter but I have come to love...and, of course, sometimes there are things you just have to spit out because no matter how you try to swallow it, you can't make it go down.
William P. Young
Although you may not be published, most of you reading this have impacted me in profound ways. And if I have said anything that resonated with you, then it probably came from somewhere else ;-)
By the way, I do subscribe to the belief that God embodies both the femine and masculine. I use Him and He because I refuse to use "it" and I am just old school enough that the use of the masculine in grammar does not bother me one iota.