As I was posting yesterday’s rant about taking back Thanksgiving and rejecting extreme consumerism by fighting the grip it has on me — on us — I found myself also considering that the most important occupation question I have to answer is this: Who or what occupies me?
I’ve heard and used the phrase about someone who has an inflated ego that he is full of himself (or herself, as the case may be). I suppose one occupation option is to be self-filled.
Being filled with myself is a pretty lonely venture.
When I have found myself taken captive by the need to accumulate more stuff I would say that I am occupied by that. Any of the things that become, for me, a source of definition and hope, comfort and satisfaction are my captors and they, in their possession of me fill me up with themselves.
This is a very empty filling.
Left unchecked, we can die of malnutrition with our bellies swollen from overconsumption of Diet Coke and Twinkies. Metaphorically speaking.
I’ve found that when I am seeking fulfillment from all the stuff — some of it better stuff than others, for sure — that I also tend to flit about from one master to another with ridiculous fickleness. I am tossed about like a leaf blown by the wind (biblical allusion intended) from one empty promise to another.
When, on the other hand, I set my heart and mind on things above all this stuff and remember who I am and whose I am, everything changes. Yes, sometimes I have to go through a season of detox — those metaphorical Twinkies leave an odd residue in the system — but the transformation is astonishing. Filled with God — leaning on His strength to hold me up and His grace to address my every need — I am finally satisfied.
And here, then, is the absolute crazy of my reality: I am prone to wander. My tendency is to see something shiny or fluttery (oh look, a bird) or sweet and chase after it all the while knowing that I will not find any of what I need or want in it.
Every day — with full confidence that the Holy Spirit lives within me and is always ready to fill me up with Himself — I must choose to deny my own tendencies and take up the cross on which I sacrifice myself and follow the One whose love and grace really do complete me.