Monday, January 4, 2010

The Avatar

We went to see The Avatar Saturday night. It was a really great movie. It was visually beautiful. Of course I have something to say about what I have taken from the movie b/c I always have something to say.

Their is one line that struck me and has rolled around in my head since we left the movie. I won't talk anymore about movie specifics so I don't ruin it for anyone who wants to see it.

The line that really stuck out to me was....

"It is impossible to pour into a cup that is already full" (paraphrased).

That really struck me. It is so true. When we already know all there is to know, then we cannot learn. We must realize there is always so much room for growth and change. The minute we stop changing and growing, we die. One of the greatest things about maturity is flexibility. We have to be flexible. When we are young in our spiritual walk or even young in a physical way, sometimes growth and flexibility can be difficult.

It seems that the more we learn, the more we are able to see how much more we have left to learn. In my experience the more wisdom someone has, the more humble it makes them. "Knowledge puffs up," says the word, but wisdom brings humility. Proverbs says, "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord." I think that is why Jesus said to "come to Him as one of these children." There is a sense that a child realizes that there is more to learn. When we are full, we cannot be open to what He wants to offer us. Proverbs 27:7 says, "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet." Who has not realized this in the physical world? Isn't dessert so much sweeter when we are not stuffed to the gills with food. The same can be applied to our spiritual life. If we are full of our own desires and satisfied with material things, we aren't really very hungry for what the Lord might have for us. (I'm not saying the have material possessions is wrong. It is all where your heart is.) When we are really hungry for the Lord and what He has for us, we can look at trials and suffering and see them as sweet, b/c, though they may be bitter, they are a vehicle to draw us near to Him and to learn what He wants to teach us. When our cups are full, we have no room for Him to poor into us. We have to allow Him to help us become empty vessels. We must empty ourselves us bitterness, hurt, wounds, self sufficiency, and all of our wrong perspectives, priorities, and motives. We have to empty ourselves of the identity and definitions that the world or our lives have given us. We must be empty of our accomplishments and all the things we think make us something, b/c ,before Him, we are nothing. We have to be empty of our self will and let our dreams and desires be subject to His plans. Proverbs says, "commit your way to the Lord, and He will bring it to pass," and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." We must seek Him to give us His dreams for us and then seek to see those fulfilled.

Speaking of emptying yourself, though, being an empty vessel does not mean that we all have to become the same vessel, empty of the individuality that He gave us. We are to empty of self, but retain who He created us to be. If he wanted us all to be the same, He wouldn't have put so much diversity in humanity. We all look different; we have different temperaments and gifts; we have different tastes, drives and dreams. I used to think that we were meant to be generic and that being a unique individual was"self". I have realized, now, that He made us all unique. He works through that uniqueness to accomplish his purposes in our lives and in the world. It's like we are all teabags. He pours the water into us, but a different flavor comes from each of us. We are meant to be empty vessels; I believe what we are to empty ourselves of is self will, self righteousness, self sufficiency, selfishness. When we are empty of those things, God can pour His Spirit through us and it comes out with the flavor He gave each of us uniquely.

If we realize that there is always something to learn, in every situation, then we can grow each and every day, in every situation we encounter. We can be open to all that there is to learn and life becomes an adventure. This takes some humility, but it is so worth it. When we write off anybody as having nothing to teach us, we are missing an opportunity to learn. From children, to older people, to less educated, more educated, the homeless person, the checker at Walmart, everyone has something to teach us. There is always something we can learn and always something we can teach. No matter how good at something we may be, someone else knows more than we do. And even someone who may know less than us, could have a new perspective or technique to teach us. As a make up artist, I have to be open to learning from other make up artist. We can learn from other parents, teachers, Christians, non-Christians. I read in one of the hundreds of books I have read over the last year, that truth is every where if we choose to see it. I may not agree totally with a religion or philosophy, but that does not mean that there is no truth we can take from it. Gandhi had much truth to teach us whether we believe every thing he believed or not. There is really no one who cannot teach us something. Being an empty vessel also involves realizing that there is always more to learn about anything in life.

So when we think we "know" and are unwilling to be teachable, we are stifling the potential for growth. "It is hard to pour into a vessel that is already full.

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