It has been a terribly long time since I’ve written, and it has not been out of avoidance of posting about Christmas or New Years.
December was pretty busy: I presented a paper at a conference in Poland. I had a great time writing and researching–I mean, how can you not with a topic like masculinity and trauma in The Hunger Games?!? The conference was not well attended, but my paper was well received, and I was able to see a friend in Krakow that I haven’t seen in about 3 years. I am glad that I went; however, it seems that I picked up a crazy computer bug, because as soon as I got back, my computer started misbehaving, telling me it needed to ‘configure’. But once the update was finished, I would get an error message and it would have to revert to its original format. Then I would get a message that the computer needed to ‘configure’ and then I would get an error message and it would revert to its original. And then…*sigh*
I have not solved the issue, but my computer is at least back to functional.
But I have been thinking about the idea of configuring–of being set into a new arrangement or order. Part of it is the annual ‘to resolve or not to resolve’ come New Years–I don’t. I rarely follow through with resolutions, and I don’t want to start the year with a list of failures. Part of it is that my birthday is in January, and I grow a year older. Not sayin’ how old.
So, the germ of configuring, and failing to configure, has been in my mind for a while. It strikes me that any real, lasting change in my life has been initiated, and indeed fueled, but something outside myself. That is not to say that I am not a disciplined person. Though the occasional chocolate bar tempt me, I still would say that if I set a goal, I tend to complete it. After all, I have run a marathon; I spent the last 6 years earning my Ph.D.; I have written 3 full-length novels (still working on getting them published). But when I say lasting change, I don’t mean accomplishments. I am not the sum of my accomplishments–in fact, my accomplishments do not define me or my value. They are neat things to say that I have done, and I am proud of them, but when I say lasting change, I don’t mean one more check off of a list of things I want to do or see or get.
I mean: I once thought my worth was based on what I did; I once thought that if I tried hard enough, I could fix myself; I once was dead, but now I am alive. I couldn’t do that on my own. When I tried, I kept getting a ‘failure to configure’ message. The grace of God in Jesus Christ had to configure me.
It has been over 20 years since He ran His configuring ‘update’ and opened my eyes, yet I feel sometimes as if it were only yesterday and my eyes are opened fresh and clear again. Leaving the computer metaphor for a moment (thankfully), I sometimes wonder if this is what Jesus meant when He said there would be springs of living water flowing from deep within the one who believes in Him. It is life-giving, this water. It configures you (sorry, had to return). Imagine having thought that dial-up was all there was, and suddenly you discover high speed wi-fi. Yah, it’s like that.