Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thoughts on Feet, Freud and Grace

I think that most of us can say there are things we don't like about ourselves, things we'd like to change if we could.  How many times have we said, "I wish I were more _________?" or "I hate that about myself!"  In an effort to compensate, we put our best foot forward and try to hide the parts of ourselves we don't like.  We stuff them down into deep, dark corners and hope they will remain quiet and hidden.

That doesn't work so well, though, does it?  Those hidden weaknesses or flaws often rear their ugly heads, and while we may be blind to our own faults, others around us are not! I believe it was Freud who noted that the things we refuse to acknowledge actually increase in power and influence because of our very failure to accept them. In other words, the things we avoid are the things that most tyrannise us.

As Christians we are admonished to "crucify" the "old" nature, but I think we often interpret that by denying its existence, stuffing it down, hiding it away, and again, putting our best (dare I say false?) foot forward.

This morning, I read something profound:  "Until we are prepared to accept the self we actually are, we block God's transforming work of making us into our true self that is hidden in God...We must receive it with hospitality - not hostility.  No one - not even your own self - can be known apart from such a welcome...

"You can never be other than who you are until you are willing to embrace the reality of who you are. Only then can you truly become who you are most deeply called to be." - David Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself 

What would it look like if we were more honest about our "feet" - if we didn't try to hide our worst foot, didn't try to force our best foot forward all the time, and just acknowledged our mismatched shoes?  I think (though I can't prove it) we might just take ourselves a little less seriously, accept each other more lovingly, and maybe - just maybe - we'd come across Someone who has a matching shoe for us.  Grace cannot give what we refuse to accept.

(and yes, those are actually my shoes)

1 comment:

Dianne said...

I have also heard it said like this: "we must acknowledge that we are sinful before we recognize that we need forgiveness...we must admit that we are lost before we acknowledge that we need salvation; we must know that we offend before we truly understand grace."