Friday, September 24, 2010

Captivated by God

Those who know me well know that I am a bit of a word nerd.  I love words and all the nuances of meaning that words hold for us.  I often am stuck on a word in a particular sentence or passage in a book, or perhaps I hear a word in a song and the word seems to take root and develop a life of its own.  It grows and becomes so overpowering in the sentence that I almost do not see anything expect the one word.
So it has become with the word Captivate.

The word, captivate, is derived from a Latin word meaning to capture.  Long ago, the word was used in the same way we now use the word capture.  When we say we have captured something, or someone has captured us, we often think of it as against our will, are overpowered by, or something over which we have no control.  However, over time, the word has come to mean something different, not entirely different, yet different nonetheless.  The change is subtle, but has turned the word into something so much more positive.  We are captivated by so many things, but willingly so.  A sunset over the lake captivates me.  I have a hard time focusing on anything else when I am at the lake and the sun is setting, so captivated by it am I.  I can only sit and bask in its wonderful glow.  Likewise, my husband and my children captivate me.  They have all taken a piece of my heart and claimed it as their own.  I am no longer whole without each of them.  I am unable to drag my focus away from them when they are around.  I don’t feel constrained by my captivation.  I have willingly allowed each one to captivate me, to take me as their captive.  They are part of me and I them.

In the same way, on an even deeper level, my God and his son Jesus have captivated me.  From the moment I first remember knowing for sure who God was, I was hooked.  Captivated and in awe of  God and of Jesus with his mind-bogglingly selfless act of sacrifice for me.  I thought - How can I not be captivated, taken in, enthralled, by this?  I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude.  I was taken away, never again to be the same person I was prior to that knowledge.  Yes, I was captured, but I was not enslaved.  That is the beauty of true captivation.  We are powerless to fight against the feelings of love and a desire to serve, but we are not resentful and we don’t feel oppressed by it.  Even as we understand that our faith requires us to be obedient, we have a great desire to serve.  It is as if our service is a reward in its own right.

It is a very complicated and complex and paradoxical, this captivation we encounter in our lives as Christians.  We do struggle against it at times, but then we realize that it is but our own inadequacies that make us want to step outside the captivity of our faith.  When we realize that it is we who have loosed our grip, we are drawn back in to the captivation that puts us within our arms reach of God.  He never moved and we are safe.  We do not feel bound up or confined because we have made a choice to be exactly where we are, and there is no place in the world that we would rather be.  We are comforted, safe, and secure and loved beyond measure.  Why would we ever want to leave?

Yes, I really love the word Captivate.  One might say I am enthralled, or captivated by it.  It is a beautiful word with so much history and meaning behind it.  I think I will mull it over for a while.  Or perhaps I will move on to another word that piques my interest.  Who knows?  All I know is, I am having a wonderful time and that I am right where I want to be - at the feet of Jesus.  Completely captivated by his love.

Captivated - Shawn McDonald

Every day He was teaching in the temple complex. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him,  but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard ~Luke 19:47-18