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Thursday, December 11, 2008

An analogy for the day

Someone I love once turned me on to the beauty of analogies in conveying concepts and ideas. So, in an effort to more aptly share what it is God has been teaching me, here I go with an analogy...

Just like the opening lines of the song that is playing, "The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear, and I don't know the reason why You brought me here," I am in a place in life where the signs are unclear and I'm not entirely certain where I am supposed to be going or what I am supposed to be doing in the meantime.

I have two turtles (long story....but yes, I am aware that I am weird.). Splash and Scooter live in a 50 gallon tank, and while it is sufficiently big enough for them to happily live, they pollute the water with all kinds of nastiness. As they get fed, they often reject some of the food I provide for them. As they grow, the slough off dead skin cells, which make the water cloudy. And then, of course, the normal everyday waste builds up, just as a product of living.

Sunday, enough was enough. The water was murky enough to where I couldn't even see the turtles in there, much less believe they had a quality of life that was conducive to their growth as turtles. So, I took them out of the tank, put them in a small, dry, high-walled holding pen while I completely emptied the tank, cleaned out the junk of their lives, and then re-filled it. While they waited, unable to see or comprehend what I was doing, they struggled to get out of their temporary holding cell, several times jumping out of it and landing in a place they couldn't survive in. Once the tank was clean again, I gave them the necessary nutrients for a healthy life, fed them again, and enjoyed watching them happily resume a good quality of life.

Maybe our lives are kind of like those turtles. We live in a murky world of our own making - one filled with the remnants of our pasts and the rejection of good gifts. Our Maker desires for us to take everything he gives us and put it to proper use, so as not to "cloud the water," but all too often we reject it and allow those things that were intended as gifts to instead become hindrances to our seeing clearly. Thus, we can only see clearly when God sees fit to remove the muck and junk from our lives - not before and not by anything we do.

In the middle of the cleaning out process, we feel trapped, and unable to see what good this is doing us and where we are to go from here. Therefore, we struggle against the walls of our "safe zone" because it feels like a trap, tiring ourselves out, and sometimes launching ourselves into a place of danger we were never intended to be in - a place that certainly, if we continue to struggle to live in on our own, will eventually be our death. Instead, we must wait patiently for our Maker to place us back into the place we were intended to live in, the one filled with gifts and the necessary things to survive and thrive, and the place where things are clearly seen, knowing He wants what is best for us and will bring us abundant life.

What do you think about my "analogizing?" Maybe it's a bad one, but it has helped me to see things a lot clearer this week. I am left wondering what good things God is trying to give me that I am rejecting or misusing, thus allowing my life to be clouded to a point where I can't see. In the middle of these times of questions, I am learning what it means to trust: Trust that God is doing something good for me, even if I can't tell what it is, and trust that he loves me and desires for me to live an abundant life, His way.

1 comment:

Don Crane said...

Excellent analogy, Lauren. This was another of your exceptional writings!

To apply your analogy to me, I frequently get frustrated and begin splashing and floundering around (metaphorically speaking) in unproductive thoughts and activities. This only stirs up the waters more and makes it more difficult to see what is important. If I'd just take time to sit and listen, the water would settle down and things would become clearer.