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Monday, December 7, 2009

Temporary Tissue Paper

“God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance.”
–Erwin Rapahel McManus

I am mesmerized by tissue paper. I seek it out at every party store, stock it up in my pantry, fluff it up in every present I give and fold it up tight when I receive it.

I am, at times, more impressed with the tissue paper of a gift than the gift itself.

Isn’t there just something about polka dots, pink and paper so sheer you can see the world through it?

I think, in life, I’m mesmerized by tissue paper as well.

I get so caught up in the wrapping of this place — this earth — this one shot, that I often overlook the deeper, lasting gifts given to me completely.

I see a house with a white picket fence.

I see an office with an actual address.

I see a convertible with my hair blowing wildly in the wind.

And I neglect to look deeper.

Because again, there is just something about the polka dots, pink and paper so sheer it tints my world to a brighter hue.

I say, “I want to be like Christ. I want to know Him.”

And most of the time, that’s a tissue paper statement. It looks good, adds flair, is polka dot and pink.
It’s a Christian wrapping. A gift bag we present – perhaps with good intention, but with lacking conviction.

“I want to be like Christ.”

A dangerous declaration.

It means nails in hand, betrayal in full, hunger for 40 days, temptation that aims to take, the weight of sin, the pull of the crowd, the ache for silence, the sickness of a wayward world. It means suffering in righteousness and patience in affliction. It means the testing of faith, hidden glory, the taking up of a daily cross.

“I want to be like Christ. I want to know Him.”

A gift.

Hidden underneath the tissue paper of this life.

I want to be one who looks past the polka dots and pink. Who means it when she says, “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.” Philippians 3:10-11

I want to live dangerously.

Not worried about tearing up the paper this present is wrapped in.

I want to forfeit my hold on the temporal so I can fully embrace the eternal.

I want to live dangerously.

How about you?

Kristen Schiffman is the founder of Exemplify Magazine. She welcomes you to check it out today!

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Anonymous Angela @ Homegrown Mom said...

Yes, I want to live dangerously, too! Beautiful post :)

December 7, 2009 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I want to be like Christ also means living under the microscope and feeling the weight of all of that... the scrutiny, the expectations, the anonymity of it all. We've felt this recently as a clergy family, and it hurts; I'm reminded again today, through your words and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the crucified life is exactly that--the crucified life.

And some days, it's just plain hard to find my "want to."

Love you, Kristen, tissue paper and all. I know you well enough to know that there's a whole lot of depth hiding beneath the wrapping.


December 7, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a lovely post, thank you.

December 7, 2009 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Recently I had some tissue paper laying on the backseat of the car. Because it was raining, I didn't carrying it inside and it laid there for a couple of days.

A mouse decided to take up residence in my car and she also had a fondness for the tissue paper and shredded it to pieces to carry it away to build her nest.

Oh how temporal tissue paper truly is, here one day and gone the next. I desired it because it was pretty and I could store it up for another day. That day never came.

Thanks for this thought provoking post.

Love and hugs from one of your cupcakes! :)

December 7, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Jamaican Princess said...

WHO doesn't want to live dangerously!? and btw...I love tissue paper too ^^

December 7, 2009 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Laura aka Lolo said...

I just had this conversation with my son yesterday about the same thing. Isn't it so silly that we get so caught up in the gifts and all the hype about giving at Christmas that we forget about what a beautiful season it really is. Our Christ child was born for us! What a beautiful gift we have received if we could just stop and savor the gift of the Savior. Thank you for sharing.

December 7, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Leah Adams said...

Yes, I too want to live so close to Christ that I can almost feel the scars on His hands and the wound in His side. The older I grow, the more I desire that. IF I live that way, then when it is time to leave this earth and go to be with Him, it will be as if I have always been right there with Him.

Great post, Kristen.


December 7, 2009 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

What a wonderful parallel! I'm going to see this call to leave the fluff behind in every day for sure...thank you!

Love and stuff,
Victoria Dangerously
{80s movie style}

December 7, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Catrina Bradley... said...

I want to WANT TO! :) No, seriously, I think I want to more and more each day, and as I read your list of what it means to "be like Christ" I realized I'd experienced almost all of them this month, many of them every day. When I found that I wanted to be a Church secretary, I didn't know it was going to grow me this much! Thanks, Kristen, for the wake up. (I save tissue paper too - I have a Rubbermaid tub just for tissue paper. :) )

December 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Wow. This spoke to me. Wanting to be like Christ is wanting to be all of Him- suffering and pain as well. Thank you, Kristen!

December 7, 2009 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger 3 Blessings said...

I want to look past all the tissue paper too! I want others to see me as HE sees me and I want to live for HIM more than anything. Yet, so many days I spend so much time fluffing all the tissue paper around me that I forget about the real reason I am serve HIM.
Thank you for this beautiful post my friend. You have blessed me so much through this writing.

December 7, 2009 at 8:13 PM  
Anonymous alisa said...

Philippians 3:10-11 is the cornerstone verse I teach in my One on One with God Curriculum. So many times I want to experience the power outflowing of the resurrection, but I'm not willing to to die to myself.

I so want to put Jesus on the throne in my heart, but it hurts so much to put myself on the cross. Hopefully, someday it will get easier.

BTW I am so bad about tissue paper and other decorations. I don't notice it, and I usually stuff crinckled tissue paper in a reused bag. I am polka dot and fluff ignorant!

December 7, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Pttyann said...


December 8, 2009 at 6:23 PM  
Anonymous crittyjoy said...

I love this post. I love how you draw from ordinary things and make it parallel something spiritual. I think that is why your writing always touches my heart so deeply.

I ♥ You friend.

December 9, 2009 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Susan D. said...

Thanks for this beautiful post.
Susan Dollyhigh

January 13, 2010 at 1:44 PM  

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