This journal entry was written in July of 2014.
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him— our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. (Isaiah 53:2-6 MSG)
1. Comprising the full quantity, amount, extent, number, etc., without diminution or exception; entire, full, or total: He ate the whole pie. They ran the whole distance.
2. Containing all the elements properly belonging; complete: We have a whole set of antique china.
3. Undivided; in one piece: to swallow a thing whole.
4. Mathematics; integral, or not fractional.
5. Not broken, damaged, or impaired; intact: Thankfully, the vase arrived whole. auninjured or unharmed; sound: He was surprised to find himself whole after the crash.
6. Pertaining to all aspects of human nature, especially one's physical, intellectual, and spiritual development: education for the whole person.
a. The whole assemblage of parts or elements belonging to a thing;
b. A thing complete in itself, or comprising all its parts or elements.
So, what does human wholeness look like when measured against Webster's definition of "Wholeness"? Does it mean that we are undivided in our thinking, feelings and behavior? If so does that mean that achieving wholeness can ever be completely achieved in this lifetime? There are always things going on in our lives that challenge our own personal unity and emotional health. When my youngest son decided that he wanted to move from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles I was divided inside myself. Does that mean that I wasn't "whole"? I became great with his move after a very short period of time. Does that mean that I'm whole again, at least momentarily?
Is there ever really hope of us "having it all together"? I would really like to know the answer to this most difficult question. I want to be the best version of myself. Since I've never been perfect I could take that to mean that I've never been "whole". Is that a fair assumption or is that too extreme? Wholeness is surely a compelling goal, however, how achievable is it, really? Let's say that in its purest sense that it cannot be actualized. Do we then settle for simply living a functional existence? If so then the question must be asked, “What does functional look like in secular terms?”
Normal (by whose standards) behavior?
Consistent eating habits?
Normal sleep patterns?
Are the above items the attributes that a human needs to be declared whole and not just functional? If my goal is wholeness I must know the indicators that tell me that I've arrived at said goal. What role does culture play in defining wholeness? In some cultures women do most of the work, even the heavy labor. By American standards we would declare the men that allow such a thing to be lazy and not whole.
I think that, if we are to be honest, most of us would disagree with the way women were treated during bible times. They were told to be quiet in the church. They weren't allowed to speak before the assembly of men. Were the men in the New Testament not "whole"? Were their marriages dysfunctional? Or, have we just evolved to a higher level of understanding concerning the meaning of scripture? If so, is wholeness an ever changing target that changes based on our new cultural paradigms?
Are there some scriptural constants that lead to human wholeness? Are there components that transcend time and culture? I think there are a several possible signals that reflect personal wholeness. As a Christian I believe that God is the foundation of ALL wholeness. I'm not saying that people can't function in wholistic fashion without God but I do believe that without Him there is a very large void in the life of every human. And, I believe that there is such a thing as "learned wholeness" where we learn to do what's necessary to survive in this world. Let me take a stab at a few things that I believe to be paramount in authentic personal wholeness.
1. Love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30 NIV)
2. Humility. Consider others better than yourself. (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
3. Deference. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31 NIV)
4. Discipline. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.(2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)
5. Sacrifice. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:39)
6. Surrender. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. (Matthew 5:40)
7. Servanthood. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. (Matthew 5:41)
8. Giving. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)
9. Forgiveness. Jesus answered, “I tell you (forgive), not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:22 NIV)
10. Death (to self). [I assure you] by the pride which I have in you in [your fellowship and union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self]. (1 Corinthians 15:31 AMP)
There is one thing for sure, time may help us to forget but time is NOT what makes us whole. Our use of time, however, is a key component that leads to our living a whole life. Two years will not heal me. Even a decade cannot make me whole. I must use time wisely in order for time to have an impact on my personal well-being.
I recall a story of a school teacher that was regularly overlooked for a promotion. Year after year she would apply for better paying positions within the field of academia and every year her application would be declined. Finally after many years of being declined a promotion she decided that she would ask for a meeting with the Chairman of the school board. She was fully prepared to present her case. Her opening line was, "I have twenty years experience as an educator." She believed that tenure, time, favored her for promotion. The Chairman was fully aware of the woman's tenure having reviewed her application every year and replied, "No ma'am, your have only one year of experience twenty times."
The point is that the teacher had not used her time well and had not become a "whole" educator that would make her eligible for the promotion.
For the past ten weeks I've made it my passion, and my discipline, to be a wise steward of my time. I've determined that, in my case, it's not the number of days, weeks or months that pass that will bring me wholeness but what I do with the number of days that I have. I have been given the spiritual tools to be made whole but God requires our human engagement in the process to personal wholeness. So, every day I spend an average of three hours in personal development, praying, reading the bible, writing/journaling and reading supplemental materials. I have also been averaging about five hours each week in counseling. I believe that the right use of time will produce the right results, wholeness. I'm sowing and I'm growing.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Isaiah 53:5 AMP)
Christ did the work necessary for me to walk out my wholeness now I must cooperate with His work by applying the things that I've learned during this season of life. One thing for sure "perfection" and "wholeness" are very different. I will never be perfect by I am promised that I can be made whole.
Time doesn’t heal but it does reveal. My behavior will reveal how well I have used the time I’ve been given on this side of heaven. So, time is not a "healer", it is a "revealer" of how we used it. I wrote the following poem months after this blog.
(Psa 90:12 NLT) Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.
For years I was busy trying to make these precious hours productive,
But time suffered as I acted like its master, treated as a slave time is only destructive.
Now with nothing to do but think and to heal from my abuse of hour after hour,
I realize that my remaining minutes on earth must be submitted to a Higher Power.
I can now see that time should be treated as a gift from God above,
Therefore it must be respected as something or someone that we love.
I have discovered in recent months that time is a friend that may not speak,
However, it seems to be the most constant ally to those of us who are weak.
We may complain that time is not on our side,
However, at no point in my life has it ever tried to run and hide.
I've wasted time, spent time and even killed time throughout my life's quest,
Yet it lingers in lazy fashion and beckons me to enjoy a good nights rest.
Time has been like a trainer in my corner as I have fought this good fight,
He has never failed to encourage me every day and even in my darkest night.
Fairy tales are cute with their stories and rhyme,
But could there be some truth in one of these stories, that God is "Father Time"?
And, if so, I make a pledge to my heavenly Father.
That my use of future time will be no bother.
I commit to honor time in my every endeavor,
Knowing that my use of it will affect my forever.