Spring Cleaning My Soul

DSC_6587aa-1Samantha Strong Murphey aspires to be the next J.K. Rowling, but so far, every time she sits down to write her masterpiece, it comes out as a masked version of Harry Potter. Until an original idea strikes, she’ll continue working as a freelance journalist, copy editor and blogger. She graduated in communications and philosophy from Brigham Young University and has worked as a reporter and editor for the New York Daily News and Utah Valley Magazine. Now living in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Samantha is passionate about karaoke, evergreens and media literacy. Check out her blog at www.scarlettcalledscout.com.

Spring has made its way to me in Georgia. And, as always, I feel weight lift from my body as I watch the season creep up the trees. Spring makes me want to see the world as it is, in all of its glory, green and growing. It makes me want to grow myself, to open my eyes inward and upward. Spring is a season to celebrate Christ—with Easter and all—and it’s also a season to celebrate marriage. I got married in the spring.

If there’s one thing marriage has taught me, it’s this: Humans are terribly self-deceived creatures. We think we know ourselves. We think we have a pretty good read on our strengths and weaknesses. We think we can predict our emotions and behaviors. We’re fools. All of us.

If there’s one thing Christ has taught me, at least this year, it’s the same thing.

Let me explain.

I was reading in Moroni a few months back and came to verse 48 in chapter 7. I saw something new in the words and have been thinking about them ever since.

 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”

What does it mean to see Christ as he is? And how will that make me more like him? Don’t I see him as he is already? Don’t I know that he’s the Savior of the world, the perfect example of love, mercy, sacrifice and selflessness? Don’t I know his character? Even if I don’t always choose to follow it, don’t I always know the answer to the infinite, ultimate W.W.J.D. question? Can’t I predict with certainty how he would feel and behave if he were in my shoes?

No, perhaps not. Perhaps my inability to perfectly know myself spans outward. Maybe I can’t immediately see Christ as he is any more than I can see myself as I am. Maybe it’ll take as much time and work and humility to see Christ, to know Christ, as it will to know myself. Maybe when I act under the conviction that I’m doing what Christ would do, I should look again. Is something else at work there? Some warped motivation deep within me? Some misread of Christ’s character? Is Christ, as he really is, more forgiving than I see him to be? Or more principled? How much is the Christ I see my own invention, tailored and trimmed to comfortably accommodate my personal strengths and weaknesses?

As I celebrate Easter and my anniversary this season, I want to celebrate with rigorous, honest self-reflection. I want to bask in the warm realization that I am a human, blind, foolish and proficient at seeing myself and my Savior through a lens I’ve colored on my own. I want to use all of the energy of my heart to pray for love, inward and upward, a love to open my eyes.

3 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning My Soul

  1. Yes, Samantha. We often don’t recognize that our view of God is a reflection of our own limited view of the way things are. It’s arrogant to assume our interpretation of the Divine is the only “right” one. That’s why I love that verse in Moroni — when we see God as He (and She)is, we will see truth. We will finally BE truth.

  2. It is amazing how well we deceive ourselves and not even on purpose! I read a study once that said that when asked to accurately rate themselves everyone rated themselves above what they actually acheived, except the people in the group who were clinically depressed. I don’t know the cause and effect but it seems as though some amount of self-deception allows us to be happy. If I knew all of the faults and sins at once I would be so overwhelmed it would be hard to carry on. It seems merciful that God slowly unveils myself to me, then I can work on those things one at a time.

    I don’t know if in that process I project myself on to Christ necessarily. I think it is more that my sins and weaknesses block my view of the Savior. As long as there is something about me that isn’t in keeping with his teachings I will not truly know him. We more fully understand God’s love for us when we are parents. We know what it means to love and sacrifice for an imperfect person when we are married. We understand how being a servant makes us great when we serve. We really know Christ by being like him.

  3. I love that recognition that it is going to take time to see Christ like he is. I think we often feel like “everyone else” knows Christ and we long for that friendship too. But it is all a process. Great post!

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