Somewhere between Manning and Maze…

March 16, 2009

I was thinking about what it means to be the beloved of Jesus, and that truth being the center of my identity. Whenever I come through a trial, challenge or “season” (so hating that term) I always look to see if I’m more patient, more at peace, less selfish. If I see that I have in fact grown, I thank God for His work in my heart long enough to see my new found freedom become the mark of my worthiness. Desperate to measure up to the standards I assume others hold me to, I manipulate His gracious transformation into my own personal bill board for spirituality.

But after a morning of Brennan Manning’s Abba’s Child, and Shawn’s sermon, I’m thinking that the only question I should bother my overly introspective heart with is, “Am I more convinced of Christ’s love for me than I was before this happened?” After all, if I am more satisfied that He loves me, then it doesn’t matter if I’m still messy inside.


For RFM

March 9, 2009

I’ve been trying to do something with the thoughts in my head, but I can’t seem to see them clearly. I’m embarrassed by my questions to Him. My faith should usher me past such elementary questions. Why do you have me here? Is this all there is? When will you rescue me? Over and over, He says, “That’s what I’m doing.” Funny. It feels like every place He leads me is a place more lonely than the last, more unsure, and more chaotic. I guess I was mistaken in thinking that the more I walk with Him, the easier it will be to trust, or the faster my faith will quiet my fears. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? And since I can’t see with His spiritual eyes that are, no doubt, engaged in what really matters, my gaze wanders off to the earthly, self-absorbed concerns of my life. I find myself prattling on endlessly about trying to find contentment in the place He has me. I cling to the passions He created for my heart, fist clinched and shaking because He has not lead me to a place where I can live them out, 40 hours a week with benefits. In His magnanimous generosity, He has placed small pieces of His heart into mine, and I have honored that gift by crafting them into idols. I kick against His peace because He has chosen something new for me. And I live outside of His blood bought freedom because I demand my life look a certain way. But what if it looked different?

What if I had everything I’ve ever dreamed about? What peace would be inside of me if I woke up tomorrow to a day planned to my exact specification. As I write, Jesus is revealing the darkness of my heart that longs to live apart from Him, to run my own show, to be my own god. He shows me my prison. And I don’t know how to get out.

He’s always sweet to me, though. He never leaves me with a picture of my need for Him without showing me that the passion of His heart is meeting that need, shining light on the darkness, and breaking the chains around my heart. The only picture Jesus has given me (sometimes He speaks to me in pictures) is of a tangled knot inside of me, and His fingers are slowly pulling the strands apart. Too slowly, if you ask me, but He doesn’t ask me. But His pace is more gentle. He is so gentle. Still, I have a pain in the pit of my stomach brought on my the sneaking suspicion that the process of untangling these knots in my heart will be a long and painful one. And I’m not ready to face the complete truth of who I am. I am too quick to be what I know people expect me to be. What will the fall out be if I just stopped? I know I’m not as good as my ideals. What happens if Jesus’ fingers not only untangle the knots in my heart, but also filter out the truth of who I am, destroying the impostor, leaving just me. I fear the deafening thud caused by the disappointment.

I don’t know why I offer this candid snap shot into the life and times of one 31 year old traveler. Please don’t think I write this without cringing at the thought of everyone who will see the truth of who I am inside. There is no pithy resolution coming to neatly wrap things up. In part, I am willing to expose my struggles because someone I love said it helps her to watch me struggle. She meant that in the good way. Partly, it’s because in the end, it’s all His story. I’m just a player, and I can’t withhold displaying His work in my life for the sake of self-protection. Seeing the new me He is creating makes Him look bigger when you realize the mess He is working with. Good heavens, the mess.