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Monday, April 30

Today I learned...

I should be more transparent. More forthcoming. I plan to put down unfiltered thoughts. I am resolute to work out my faith in this forum. To honor and glorify Jesus Christ to the best of my ability. I vow to to share more and teach/preach less. I hope to:  
  1. Know God Better
  2. Write for Christ
  3. Become a better story teller 
I learned I cannot watch Celebrity Apprentice or support Donald Trump. Not this season. Not the next. Why? Lisa Lampanelli's colorful language that makes Crayola blush and last night's tantrum was a doozy. The audience experienced new territory when she opened a 64-box-of-crayons (instead of the regular box of eight) and doubled down on meanness and vitriol. While I watched, I asked if I wanted my daughter to know her? If my daughter should view her as a role model? Would I want Lisa representing my charity? The answers were no, no, and no.

One's moral compass has been developed over a lifetime and is difficult to change. Character counts. It's vital and routinely dismissed. Character should trump profits and power and fame and talent and skill sets. Sadly, society doesn't value character. Most employers fail to understand character can lead to more success OR character can be expensive and destructive. Most employers fail to understand skills can be acquired and are easily taught.


Where does the thin red line bisect discernment and judgment? Jesus clearly states not to judge and yet I have judged.  Jesus clearly expects me to forgive, to love, to sacrifice, to pray, to help others, especially individuals I don't much like.  We are called to be different.  I am to carry a bag two miles... I am to give up my coat as well as my shirt.

The Christian community would advise my thoughts dishonor Jesus Christ. I am as unkind as the behavior that upset me. My thoughts such as... she is rude, she is horrible, infantile, insecure, bitter... or comments like... she backs the truck up and dumps a huge bucket of hatred on anyone she wants.  She is toxic.  Incapable of being nice, but as long as she feels better... are best left unsaid. 

I had those thoughts. They were real even though I haven't met her. I don't know her. I don't know anything about her life or the people in her life. I have no knowledge of the obstacles she has overcome. I don't know her family or her parents. I have not endured her disappointments and pain.

Below is a recent journal entry. A funny thing happened in my closet and this is me attempting to be more transparent with the hope someone might realize Christians are not perfect.
My Father, My God, My Saviour,
Please forgive me for I am a sinner. I can’t remember the last day I haven’t sinned in thought or in action. I need Your forgiveness in my life. I need You. This is my plea. This is my cry for help. May my cry reach Your ear.
         
I know why I haven't written to You lately or spent time with You alone in my closet. It has been a very long time since I pursued You in the manner You deserve. I say I love You but I haven’t consistently read Your Word lately. It has been too heavy to pick up. Your book is routinely idle for days. I say I love You and call You Lord, but I haven’t listened to You because I fear what You might say. I don't think I'm ready.
         
I know why my prayers are brief. They are easier. Less filling.  Not productive. But easier nonetheless. Short quick shallow prayers stink. They're almost useless. I violate my ‘Easier isn’t Better’ rule that I know to be true. Yet I continue with the brevity because I fear what You might ask.
         
I know why I stay where I don’t fit. A place where every fiber inside me wants to leave and never return. Where do I serve You then? How do I serve You? You command me to serve. I think I might be in the wrong spot. You tell me to slow down, to rest, and if I listen, You will place me where I snugly fit. But, I don't rest. I keep busy with nothingness. I good at it. I am scared of being disappointed again.
Although I know now my behavior is derived from pain. Pain that caused me to become stagnant. My wounds are gaping, so deep and bloody, I could only limp around some days barely breathing. Wounds with a stench so foul few dared to approach. I never addressed my wounds. I ignored the pain inflicted by Christians, by parents, by family, by friends and peers... the pain that has driven me from You despite knowing only You can heal me. Only You can help me. Only You can stop the bleeding. Only You can halt the apathetic infection. I know You are my answer and yet I stay away.
         
You witnessed me tantrum and riot and yet Your silhouette always remained visible. I see it now. You always kept me in sight. You wouldn't allow me to drift over the horizon to be lost forever. Your tether gave me room to wander, to explore, to question, and to doubt. You stood by and watched over me. You kept me safe. You loved me as I neglected You. As I ran from You. As I treated You poorly. You were faithful to me even though the faithfulness wasn't returned.    
         
Now, You call me by my name. I hear You as I did when You first called weeks... months ago. You tell me I have meandered through enough days without You. That my time on the waves has come to an end. I have gone far enough. You say it's time to enter the arena and fight the good fight once again. I don't want to. I'm not sure I have time. You know there are meals to cook, kids to care for, rent to pay, food to buy, pews to keep warm, and whatnot and so forth. I have a busy schedule full of Good and Worthy.   
         
Why do ask me? You know I have fought the good fight and lost.  And lost. And lost. And lost. I don't want to fight. I'm tired. I can’t endure the insults, kicks, beatings, lies, and mocking before I buy a ticket and enter the arena as a spectator. I'm wounded. I can't muster the strength to compete. I can only rise so many times before I no longer want to wield Your double edged sword and engage the unseen enemy. I do not want to wear a crown of thorns. My desire to fight has evaporated. Gone. 

I know King David rose time after time. I know the disciples did the same. Daniel was stripped of his home, his name, his culture and always got up. Joseph, Jacob’s youngest son until Benjamin, rose after his brothers sold him into slavery and rose after Potiphar's wife falsely accused him and rose in prison and rose after the cup bearer forgot him. I'm not them.
You ask me, "What if those men didn’t rise the last time... the time that finally became ‘Their Time’ in the arena?"
Father, if You want me to suit up, to don Your armor, You have to help me. You have to strengthen me. You have to heal me. I can't do it. I need to You. Until my wounds stop draining, stop oozing, until they heal, I cannot pick up my cross to follow You. I cannot lose my life and earnestly pursue You with this pain tagging behind. Whispering. Nagging. Taunting. Until then, I can only stand on the sideline and point and cheer. If You want to, You can make me clean.   
         
I ask You for humility. The humility to forgive those who have inflicted so much pain. To pray for them. To pray hard as my son might say. To serve them. To honor them. To oppose evil by doing good.

I ask You for the craving that I lost. A craving in my heart so I can pursue You, draw closer to You, and know You better. A craving where I seek You and Your kingdom first in all that I do.  

I ask You for wisdom. The wisdom only You give, the wisdom You promise if I ask. I'm asking again. The wisdom not to whittle away my time and talent. The wisdom of a life invested, not spent. I know life with You is so much better and purposeful and bright... even as we navigate the valleys.

I ask for the peace You offer. The rest You offer. Help me sit still long enough and experience Your presence. To know You are God. Jehovah. Yahweh. The Spotless Lamb of God. My Savior. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You are the great I Am. The Creator of everything that exists. Bless me with the peace to listen and obey and know You will take care of me.

I need You and Your power to produce the faith to live a life worthy of my calling. To live a life worthy of my Saviour, My Lord, Jesus Christ. Help me do that. I come to You in Your only begotten Son's name, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen. 

1 comment:

knowGodnow said...

This post really resonated with me and my faith journey. Thank you!