Expert on Secrecy

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Mystery is supposedly one of the most alluring things humans can hold over one another. The idea that one has an upper hand in a situation because it is unknown. Mystery is coveted because it begins a journey, a search, a chase even, to understanding. In novels and film, we love a good mystery because we’re guessing against ourselves -enjoying the thrill of surprise. In relationships with people we interact with daily, mystery can be a draw to be perceived a better fashion of who we are, to hide that which we are not proud about ourselves and to escape the monotony of the day-to-day. Mystery is something that can be all-consuming for the dreamers, those that see only the best in everyone, those with a flair for the dramatic, or the ones that might be a bit overlooked. Philosopher Sissela Bok puts it much more beautifully, “We are all, in a sense, experts on secrecy. From earliest childhood we feel its mystery and attraction. We know both the power it confers and the burden it imposes. We learn how it can delight, give breathing space and protect.”

There is little about myself or my life that remains mysterious, also a quality many pure bred southern women consider a leading edge in man hunting, which depending on levels of expectancy is unrivaled in obsession.  Unfortunately, I have struggled with my leading edge, mainly because I hear crap come out of my mouth like: I haven’t shaved in three weeks, feel how soft my legs are! I have a weird rash on my stomach, what do you think it could be from? I am attracted to you, would you like to hang out at Shanty Town and mentally prepare for the zombie apocalypse? But that’s beside the point.  I’ve always craved mysteriousness, regardless of my fruitless man-hunting or the fact that I tend to verbally vomit my personality. My alter ego would be the girl with the dragon tattoo, I would play oboe on the weekends, and be a surrogate mother, and have a second home in Columbia, Missouri, and be close friends with Teri Gross. If you’re not dying to know who my alter ego is, then you’re messing up my point. The point is, the idea of not being truly known but still pursued by a force, is exhilarating but it’s never permanent. If I’m being honest, I wish to be loved without having someone understand the depths of my inadequacies or even worse, the averageness of who I am -but that’s not how I was designed to interact with others. And with most things outside of myself, I know this is unbelievably shallow and silly. In all actuality,  I would never want to go back in my relationships with some of my closest friends when I thought they were shiny and put together and well, awesome. I prefer them as they are: well made, durable, quirky, dependable, real. The glitter of who they are has been dusted off through years of a slow understanding to uncover a genuineness of a person that is far worth knowing over a fleeting amusement or intrigue. But sometimes I just can’t get over wanting everyone to be just as they are but still wanting to be the put together one – I guess it’s a gut reaction after you’ve disappointed a person repeatedly.

I have been thinking a lot about the mystery of God this week and how different it is to me than the mystery a person holds. Last night I was reading the book of Jeremiah and read this passage in chapter twenty-nine:

“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

I love that even the Lord wants to be found by us (v:14) -but not in a needy, imperfect sort of way that begs for our attention and affirmation. His mystery holds an answer -a future, hope, a deep understanding, restoration, a home. There is nothing selfish in His mystery, unlike my own. I don’t wish to be discovered for who I am and in contrast God urges us to uncover the mystery of Himself because of who He is. There is no letdown in the revelation. And God does not need our love and understanding, yet He offers the pursuit to us – a relationship that for the first time, isn’t anticlimactic. I’m not really sure why God gives us this opportunity to uncover His mystery but I’m really grateful He has. I remember in high school, a close friend of mine used to tell me often, “God wants to be found, but the great thing is that He is not hard to find.” She used to smile so big when she told me, like it was the best news she would ever deliver to me. I’m starting to think maybe it was. I’m struggling with this right now, a lot of things are uncertain in my life and it’s easy to project that onto God and begin to question His mysteries in my life. God is indeed a massive mystery but I wanted to encourage you (but mostly myself) if you’re overwhelmed with it, understand that He desires to uncover it to you as you seek it out.

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