Photo Credit: Nicole LeBoeuf
Yes. You read that right. My first blog post of the new year is about a butt. Mine in particular. I know. How profound can I get. Oh, just you wait. There's plenty more where that came from.
So it was a work day. I was finishing a classy live television show with one of my most favorite people and co-workers on the planet. We were both so thrilled that our day was ending early, and successfully at that. Everything was falling into place.
It was time for me to greet the gentleman owner of a particular company and handle some last minute business. My right-hand girl and co-worker was right by my side to help facilitate with any last minute assistance. All three of us were in a light small talk conversation. Meanwhile, I noticed that the owner of this company had an awfully sweet and jovial demeanor. I could see why he was a successful businessman. He was proving to be a fun conversationalist, full of confidence. I was enjoying his company and our conversation. He mentioned something about Disco, and I found myself cracking up.
And he, without hesitation, without skipping a beat, without an ounce of fear--smacked and grabbed my butt--in the midst of his conversation. And then he just kept on talking.
I'm not quite sure what else he said after that moment.
All I remember, is looking at my co-worker to verify if what took place was actual reality.
The look on her face confirmed that it was so.
And he's still talking.
I find myself back inside my body. And cut him off mid-conversation. With as much grace as I could muster up, I excuse both myself and my co-worker from his presence. He's absolutely unfazed.
As I look to my right-hand girl, she looks a little red with fury. I calm her down. And beg her to not punch the back of his head while he's not looking.
Okay. See, what this post is really about is not my butt, rather it's about this whole idea of "ownership".
I haven't yet written to you in full about my vow of singleness for 2013 and I how I fully arrived at such a decision. I'll share more about that journey in future posts.
But in the midst, I've been wrestling with what I've been calling a dream, a desire, the equation that would equal a fulfilled and whole life.
The way in which God often speaks to me is in the form of questions. For example, as I was offering my Singleness as a meaningful sacrifice to spend more intentional time with God, a question began to rise up in my spirit.
"What do you own?"
Um. I'm pretty sure the correct answer is..."Everything that you give me, Lord..."
He asks me again.
"What do you own?"
Crap. This means, my previous answer was off.
Okay. I think a little bit longer about the question.
"I own....I own...nothing, because it all belongs to You."
And in such a reassuring and comforting fatherly voice, He asks me, "And, Patrice, do you own anyone?"
And without hesitation--"Of course not, that's absolutely ridiculous."
And then He was silent.
See, much of my desire to have a husband was to simply say, "My husband". As if I controlled and had ownership over him. As if his existence and partnership could define my identity in a holistic way. And would somehow make me look better, fulfilled, and accomplished.
But honestly, these are the things that God already does for me, because of His outright crazy love for me.
The root of having my very own man, my very own boyfriend, my very own husband was established probably around 8 years old. Yes, I was just one of those girls. And I couldn't wait to be "Someone's Somebody". Again, implying this theme of ownership. Plus, I loved exclusivity. Who doesn't? A someone belonging to me. A place or person carved out just for me, therefore I could only fill its space. Such bliss and so identity confirming! Mine, mine, mine and would only be mine...forever. With no doubt that no one could remotely come close to replacing me, because that someone belonged to me.
I wanted tangible romantic evidence that I would always be held, always be taken care of, always kissed, always listened to, always valued. And those desires were greatly connected to having a boo. Because wouldn't he do all those things, all the time...perfectly.
I know. Delusions of grandeur.
Only God can fulfill in such a way. And I'm learning that again, somehow for the first time. A paradox, but nevertheless truth.
What's interesting about the "tangible evidence" of my life being taken care of, is first jumpstarted by faith. Believing God is real, that He loves me, and He truly wants to take care of me and will. Point blank. That's the starting point. The rest becomes a fun and crazy adventure, watching how God does the impossible in my life day after day.
No I don't "own" anyone or anything. God owns everything. We take nothing with us when we die, but simply who we are. But you and I get to steward the gifts in our lives. Meaning we get to take the absolute best care of every single person, thing, or circumstance in our life for a set amount of time.
They are on loan to us.
But the one thing that is ours, and ours alone, is God's unfailing and fierce love towards us.
We already have a place in which we belong.
Because He is ours, and we are His.
"There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to posses, always posses. It covets things with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns my and mine look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pul up on rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.
Our Lord referred to this tyranny of things when said to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)"
- A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Page 22