“Going From A One-Hit Wonder to Getting Off My Laurels”

Walking the Talking

Wow… reading “Ozzie”* brought interesting things to the surface this morning.  Of course I know it was the Holy Spirit that He may be glorified in my life.  Jesus asked that of Him in John & God answered Him by saying “ I have glorified My Name and I will continue to glorify My Name”  He will do it again & again…if we ask Him to.  The people around thought it was thunder.  Let him who has ears to hear…listen. (*Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest)

It’s a wonderful experience to be chastised, convicted, prodded & poked by the Holy Spirit but not condemned.  Today I had a glimpse of how self-serving I am in the midst of trying not to be.  Self has many faces that need to look into the mirror.

Ozzie made a statement that brought me “up by the short hairs”.  “The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the prideful self-satisfaction of a past experience, but is not working that experience out in his everyday life.”  I am that difficult to deal with person. I am a Pharisee.  How can I get so far off the mark?  I even had the audacity to think that I was actually doing pretty well taming “the flesh”.  You don’t want to ever let yourself get away with that unless you want to deal with some insightful revelations.

The remedy?  Get off your bed of laurels and get current with the move of the Holy Spirit in your life.  Walk in the light as He is in the light, in your physical life, in your moral life, in your spiritual life.

Let him who has ears to hear…LISTEN!!

“Resting on His Laurels” means:

To be satisfied with one’s past success and to consider further effort unnecessary.

The laurels that are being referred to when someone is said to ‘rest on his laurels’ are the aromatically scented Laurus Nobilis trees or, more specifically, their leaves. The trees are known colloquially as Sweet Bay and are commonly grown as culinary or ornamental plants.

The origins of the phrase lie in ancient Greece, where laurel wreaths were symbols of victory and status. Of course, ancient Greece is where history and mythology were frequently mixed, so we need to tread carefully. The pre-Christian Greeks associated their god Apollo with laurel – that much is historical fact, as the image of Apollo wearing a laurel wreath on a 2nd century BC coin indicates. The reason for that association takes us into the myth of Apollo’s love for the nymph Daphne, who turned into a Bay tree just as Apollo approached her (anything could happen if you were a Greek god). Undeterred, Apollo embraced the tree, (aha! the first tree hugger) cut off a branch to wear as a wreath and declared the plant sacred. Their belief in the myth caused the Greeks to present laurel wreaths to winners in the Pythian Games, which were held at Delphi in honour of Apollo every four years from the 6th century BC.

Following the decline of the Greek and Roman empires, the use of wreaths of laurel as emblems of victory seems to have taken a long holiday and didn’t re-emerge until the Middle Ages. Geoffrey Chaucer referred to laurels in that context in The Knight’s Tale, circa 1385:

A ‘laureate’ was originally a person crowned with a laurel wreath. We continue to call those who are especially honoured laureates although the laurel leaves are usually kept for the kitchen these days. Nevertheless, laureates benefit in other ways; Nobel Laureates get a nice medal and 10 million Swedish Krona and Poets Laureate (in the UK at least) get a useful salary and a butt of sack (barrel of sherry).  Cool.

As to the phrase’s meaning, to ‘rest on one’s laurels’ isn’t considered at all a praiseworthy – it suggests a decline into laziness and lack of application. The original meaning to ‘rest on one’s laurels’ was coined invariably as part of a valedictory speech for some old soldier or retiring official.

Of course, it was figurative – no one was imagining someone sleeping on a bed of laurel leaves.

As soon as the move into the energetic 19th century, the meaning changes and the phrase is used with a distinctly disapproving tone. The review magazine The Literary Chronicle, 1825, which praises the work of Maria Edgeworth:

“We do not affect to wish she should repose on her laurels and rest satisfied; on the     contrary, we believe that genius is inexhaustible…” For Miss Edgeworth there must be no rest on this side the grave. Poor thing…

We are hardly any more charitable these days. ‘One-hit wonders‘ are sneered at and, with proper Anglo-Saxon earnestness, Anthony Burgess dismissed his fellow author Joseph Heller’s inability to write a second book for 13 years following the success of Catch-22 by sniping that “Heller suffers from that fashionable American disease, writer’s block”. (Anthony Burgess was an English author that was best known for “The Clockwork Orange”. eeeewwwhh, I hated the movie. So Tony, back off Heller.)

(Much of this research was taken from Wikipedia)

 Lord, I apologize to You for the way I have allowed my “self” to become so prominent.  Thanks for revealing things to me that I can deal with because I would never notice them on my own.  I would tuck them away so easily.  I don’t want to be prideful of the past experiences that You & I have had.  They are just so wonderful that I do like to remember them.  They undergird me for knowing what You do in our lives.  I need to have new experiences, current experiences, new everyday experiences.  Give me revival, let it start with me, let the “world” rock with Your presence.  In Jesus name & for His kingdom’s sake, Amen


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