Thursday, May 2, 2013

Upside Down

My friend Louise has a unique way of celebrating her birthday. Every year on her special day, she stands on her head while the rest of the family cheers her on. In March Louise turned 76.

Her entire way of seeing things, her perspective for the small amount of time she is upside down is all changed. I wonder if she sees things in her living room that she wants to switch around, or finds the lost earring that somehow rolled under the sofa. New ideas might surface; problems might be solved.

Upside-down seeing is helpful, insightful, and, I'm finding, a wise spiritual practice.

I often pose questions to myself during my time with God in the mornings. What would it look like to trust you today God? Or, how can I live out my child-of-God identity today? This often helps set my trajectory.

Sometimes my questions are more specific based on my reading. Colossians 1:19 says, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” The Message translation clarifies these words for me, “So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding.” I might pray, God, where is my proper place today? As I sit silently and wait, often I hear His answer.

What if I turned that question upside down? My mind wanders down the trail of, God, I don’t fit anywhere; there is no proper place for me. I know this thinking is not truth; it is not what the scripture says. But by turning the words upside down I realize I sometimes live like there is no place for me. Very sad.

I find it helpful as well to think about the characteristics of God from an upside-down viewpoint. God is all-knowing—omniscient. I might ask what it looks like to trust God who knows everything. Or, turning it upside down, God, if I don’t believe you are omniscient, what do I believe about this? My hopelessness stares at me; I know I need (and want) to believe truth. The upside-down question clarifies my choices.

Martin Luther King Jr. put it this way: "The first question the priest and the Levite asked was, 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But the good samaritan reversed the question,[turned the question upside down]  'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" 

These upside-down questions are a good practice for me. My belief system becomes clearer. I need to keep growing. How about you?

“… I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24.

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