Monday, April 8, 2013

Inverted Living

We were deep in discussion in our "Helping Teens Become Adults" class at church...the awesomeness of the masculine and feminine expressions and how we can affirm identity in our kids. We were talking about the ideal of living from the inside-out when it dawned on me how easily we live backwards. Inverted living.

Ideally, we live from the truest things about ourselves. The core identity...the "who" of who we are. In terms of our position and relationship to God, concepts like "Abba's Child" reside here. Being the "beloved son" or the "precious daughter"...and all of the beautiful and uniquely human elements of "being" that the Father placed there in our designing. Hopefully, we live in such a way that our identity is something we bring TO our roles, responsibilities and relationships. That our identity brings definition to those places instead of those places defining us.

The problem is...the less-than-human tendency is to live inverted. To live from the outside-in. We can tend to use roles, relationships, jobs, etc. to meet core needs and hopefully give ourselves a sense of identity. I think of boy- or girl-crazy teens who are absolutely convinced that a relationship will mean they are "wanted", "loved", "important", etc. Certainly, positive experiences in those lesser realms (places where our passions can be expressed) can affirm things about who we are...but they should never breathe life to our identity. They should celebrate...not authenticate.

** Addition since first posting...Not all "outside-in" approaches are negative, by the way. We often use discipline and challenge to bring forth identity. But that's exactly the point...the purpose is to create a scenario that allows more of an inside-out way of living. To keep it as the sole pattern of living, not good. has me thinking. Evaluating inverted patterns to unleash true identity in terms of my own design. It also has me thinking about faith...and the sadness of inverted living that haunts people trapped in "religion" versus "relationship" with the Trinity. It's a far more limited life...outside of the wide open spaces of grace. Such a backwards flow makes people forget or never discover who God really made them to be...who God truly is too!

Oh, the joy...that could be.

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