Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.

Lent.

The Lenten Fast.

BOOM!

I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without

And.

There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.

BOOM.

Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.

 

~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Weren’t Hypocrites When They Got Here

A common objection to the Gospel of Christ is:

CHURCH IS FULL OF HYPOCRITES.

I wish there were another word, because this one makes me thing of Cockroaches.  Don’t ask me why. It has since I was little.

I digress.

Cockroaches.  I mean, hypocrites.

Yes, the church is full of them.  Because, as with every place you go, your business there is not necessarily about your “business”.  Meaning, say, you are a hiker.  And your dry cleaner is a hiker. When you go into the dry cleaners, he knows you’re there to pick up your pants.  You do business for years without ever finding out that you have the interest in common.  Unless you see him on the trail. Because you aren’t there to discuss your hobbies, you are there to do business.

When you are in church, you are there to worship, God, fellowship with others, be equipped to live out your faith.

Not air your dirty laundry.

We are ordinary human beings, no more able to attain to our ideals, than to leap off the roof and fly.

When someone objects to consorting with people who are not living what they believe, they are rejecting the man in the mirror.

Who does Jesus love more?  The guy who never makes a mistake?  Or the guy who can own his @#$%?  The sinner?  Or the guy who thinks he isn’t one?

The Bible is conclusive.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  He died for our sins.  Not our excuses, not our rationalizations,or good reasons.  My children will put me in an early grave telling me the ‘good reasons’ they don’t need to do what I say, the way I say to freaking do it. How God must feel when we do the same to Him?

The church is called the Body of Christ.  The body, at least where I live, is sick.  It’s members are plagued.  Living lives of pain and degradation, while showing up every Sunday and making fashionable, interesting, competitive, Christian chatter.

We’re shaving, showing up, and shmiling.  Sitting the pew.  Dying on the inside.

I’m an oddball.  My business is usually out there.  I’m constitutionally unable to act fine when I’m crumbling. Dealing with stuff head on.    People don’t like that.

2013 sucked. I found out about a lot of hurting people.

A.  Lot.

Not just the messy public ones.

Lots of men.  Who are supposed to be initiators, protectors, leaders.

Lots of kids.  Who we’re supposed to be loving and teaching the way to go.

We didn’t start out as hypocrites, but somewhere along the line, we forgot Jesus, like Billy Joel, preferred the sinners for dinner companions.*

That the prodigal’s dad was waiting for him to come home.  To party.

That the prodigal guy was sick of his sin.  A real hypocrite isn’t.

At our house, we don’t act like it didn’t happen.  If I yelled at Mickey, I yelled.  If I threw a book, I threw it.  If they told me they hated me, I said, “I know, but we’re talking about chores, right now.”

I get the impression that isn’t what’s going on around the community.

Kids are feeling like it’s burdensome and uncool to do what Jesus did.  Act out of love for the Father and others.  All the time.

Hypocrite?  That’s God’s call.

Sinner.  Yeah.*

The fault line is under pressure.  The tremors are coming.

We are about to get shook.

Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Up

Growing up is when you stop expecting people to already know what you are thinking.

Growing up is when you realize the laundry not being done is as much your problem as anyone else’s in the house.

Growing up is when you can admit you don’t know something.

Growing up is when you ask someone who knows better than you do.

Growing up is when you can trust their answer and use it.

Growing up is when you know what you like and don’t let your friends talk you into something else.

Whether that’s fashion or boys or food or colleges.

Growing up is when you can clean up another person’s vomit without having a holiday named in your honor.  Some people do this.  Some never ever do.

Growing up is when you take personal responsibility for turning off lights and water and closing doors and putting the leftovers away before they become a biohazard.

Growing up is when you realize that if you shouldn’t complain about a mess you aren’t willing to clean up.

Growing up is when you realize that if you aren’t willing to clean it up, you don’t really care.  You are a bitchy slob.

Growing up is when you realize that life isn’t a contest to see who can do the least.

Growing up is when you stop needing your mom to nag you to feel like you have permission to do the tasks that belong to you.

Growing up is when you keep loving someone who doesn’t love you back.

Just because God gave them to you.

Growing up is when you know that love doesn’t mean hanging out.

Growing up is when you have been lied to and lied about and you don’t demand apologies.

Growing up is when you are willing to wait to let the truth come out.  The easy way or the hard way.  The other person gets to choose.

Growing up is when you live with the hurt and pray for the other person to heal and have the best life God can make for them.  Without you.

And you let God be God while the pain sizzles, knowing He wastes nothing.  He’s growing something beautiful in you.

Growing up is when you get that Christmas isn’t presents and love isn’t kisses.

Growing up is when you learn to wait your turn.

Because it’s coming.

 

 

 

 

I’m Not Gonna Lie

I’m offended.

Those are really hard words to say.  I don’t know why, but I realized day before yesterday, that I had been trying to fight it out with myself.  Taking both sides (I don’t know the other person’s side).  I think it’s been so long, since I was able to admit I had been treated disrespectfully by someone I cared about, that I don’t know how to approach it.  Call it what it is.  Deal with it appropriately.

Move on.

I am a doofus.  Incredibly awkward.  Probably an acquired taste.  In my usual style, I thought, “This is not a big deal.  All I have to do is quick state my position. And be done.” In my haste, and because I wasn’t more judicious in my behavior, this person proceeded to shut me down.

Only I didn’t even realize it.

At first.

I could make a lot of excuses here.

There’s a 99.9% chance that I said something other than I meant.

But the other person said some things that were illogical to the most simple mind.  Some unbiblical things.  Some legalistic things.  Some shockingly insulting-by-implication things.

Pleasantly, to be sure.  Not like a friend.  Like a person who knows they are talking to someone with less understanding.

There are a lot of things I’d like to say back. But it wouldn’t do any good.

I mean, it might.  But based on the way it was handled, I don’t think I would be heard.

If I had waited on God before, it would have mattered.

But I went against the still, small voice and with an audible one.

So now, I am retreating.  Letting the wound wait.  Seeing if it will heal on its own.  Struggling with the idea that when you mess a beautiful thing up, rushing in to cover it may not be the best idea.  Maybe, you need to step back and see if it can become part of the work.  Intervening only in the least measure.  Using a delicate touch.

I get to do the hurting.  I hope the other party isn’t hurt.

!@#$%

I don’t have a right to be acknowledged.  I don’t have a right to be understood or to have my agenda be met.  Those are privileges.  Luxuries even.

I want to see great things from God.  And that always means to “seek peace and pursue it.”  To seek healthy relationships.

I have no idea what to do.  Letting go doesn’t always mean walking away.  Sometimes it means walking back into the line of fire.

 

 

Being Still

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Not really very easy in this age of distraction.

Be still…

Until you can smile at the mess.

Until you can say, “It’s beautiful.”

Until you can say, “I have no need.”

Until your mind is changed.

Until you are okay without the answer.

Until you let go of what you want in favor of what is given.

Until you let someone stronger lift the load, someone wiser solve the problem, someone more loving fill the cup.

Be still…

Be quiet.

Be satisfied.

Know.

And be known.

The dork.  The cowgirl.

The patient.  The impatient.

The loner.  The liar. The lover.

The mind. The body. The soul.

Be still.

Until you know.

 

 

 

 

 

Was There a Victoria’s Secret in the Temple Courts?

In the Spring of the first year I blogged, a blogger I was unfamiliar with issued a challenge to “Biblical Submission for Wives”.  A blogger who doesn’t hold the same beliefs presided over a firestorm of fury the idea that a blogger would invite those of her same beliefs to join her in practicing them.  It catapulted them both to blog fame and notoriety.

I was offended by the whole mess.  I thought the blogger was a hater and if the submission gal had been of another faith her challenge would have been ignored or thought of as a beautiful expression of a unique system.    I have since re-canted this position.  I thought the challenge was legalistic and simplistic.  And with my own good reasons.

For a long time I strived to demonstrate the kind of submission she talked about.  One where I wore dull old lady clothes, made my home and family look like a photo drawn by a 3rd grader with flowers and birds and a big yellow sun.  Where he was supposed to be the one who called the shots and lacking orders I labored to apply all the “Christian” images of a happy home and family.

It’s just not that simple.  No one ever said what to do if he didn’t participate.  No one ever told him what he was supposed to want to tell me to do.

Oh, I figured out to hide behind him when there was something I didn’t want to do.  And how to get him to command my will and think it was his. Because that’s so healthy.

I even went so far as to attempt to wear skirts and blouses, rather than jeans, because it would be feminine.  I learned nothing.  I looked a lot more like Mrs Doubtfire than I’d started out to do. There is nothing holy about Robin Williams in a dress.

Finally, I abandoned the model.  It was a roaring failure and I chucked it in the bag with all my others.

It occurs to me today, as I am one big raw mess of “I’m-Out-of-Time”, I possibly, get submission a little better now.  Biblical submission is first of all not strictly for women.  Men are to submit to things, too.  That means all of us.  To God.  To the rulers and authorities. To each other within the faith (meaning don’t make conflict by hanging on to something non-essential).  Jesus, Himself, submitted to the rulers of his own people and the national government.  Even when they were wrong.

Oh.  Sometimes submission is easy.  Like in situations where you meet criteria and receive a good thing.  Like in adoption…  I fill out paperwork, collect documents, get medical evaluations, complete reading and classes, pay fees, and wait.  Then, most times, a child comes.  But I have to submit to the process.  I can’t say, “No I think it makes sense for you to do it another way.”  That is an easy kind of submission.

What do I think it looks like?

Deep in the middle of the Old Testament, is a book called Song of Solomon.  It’s racy.  It describes a couple driven by their need for intimacy with one another.  That the voices of all the other demands on their lives are hushed when they are together.  They have no fear of rejection or danger.  They are free to be completely vulnerable and unashamed.

People teach it as a tutorial for married sex.  People teach it as a model for the relationship between Christ and His church.  I am no Bible Scholar, so I am going to launch out here and get in trouble.

In the hidden life of a husband and wife, there is a moment when she abandons herself to him.  Sometimes in reverent awe.  Sometimes in teasing, raucous fire.  Even when she is initiator and taking the ministry to his need.

It is simply no different in the kitchen in the morning rush. Or the Thursday evening “arsenic hour” with overtired kids and overdue bills.

Biblical submission is the moment when I lay all of my defenses aside to let him take over the authority to cherish, nourish and help me maximize my potential.

See, when I submit to God the same is true.  When even when Mickey trusts me to guide a project, because I know more about it than he does. When a child does what a parent has told them because they trust.  Even when you work for an idiot, who can’t find their hind end with both hands, and you do what he or she says, because…  Because.

It isn’t obedience from a subordinate to a superior.  It’s letting go the self agenda for the unified purpose.

It’s serving to receive, to serve to receive, to serve to be fully known and to know fully.

Ahhh.

Everybody gets theirs.

I guess I should also note that if the Bible isn’t something you feel is for you right now, there’s no reason I’d expect this to appeal or call you to anything.  This is just to respond to something nearly three years old that’s a discussion between my own inner thoughts and the thoughts of a person of my same faith who I think has a lot of joy waiting for her when she gets free.  And you are always welcome here to agree or disagree if you’d like.

 

Flying Surrender

In previous posts, I’ve alluded to my opposition to using medicine to numb an unspecified pain to the neutralization of pleasure.

Week before last I gave up.  In a haze of pain, a clouded mind, I  got the appointment.  By the time the appointment came around, I delivered myself bawling to the doc.  She shares my faith and respects my feelings about drugs.

Mid-week they called me with results and asked it I just wanted to go ahead and start the anti-depressants.

I said, give me until the follow-up appointment next week to decide.

Thursday, I read this post by Diana.  I asked a question.  Got a couple of answers.

Yesterday, I felt better than I have in years. I’ve slept all night every night since Wednesday last week.  My focus is 100% better.  I have a high powered anti-inflammatory and am not yet pain free. Three visits into PT (One of the girls has a crush on the PT’s intern. suh-pri-ize.).

I’m ready to stop being smarter than the meds, the doctors, science and God.  I wrote all that the other day about coffee, sugar and exercise, and the deal is– part of the reason I feel bad is that when things are falling apart I add to the plates I want to keep spinning.

The achilles heel of the good girl.

It’s been nearly a quarter century since I took the medicine.  Science has had time to work on it.  Science, like it or not, produces things that God uses to care for his kingdom.

Friday morning,looking at logistics for next week, I realize it’s not going to happen without moving things around.  So I call and explain my situation and ask if I can have my follow-up visit TO-day.  They said, yes.

I determined to ask all my questions.  And go with what the doc said.

Bend my neck. Humble myself.

Surrender.

The doctor said that based on the results so far, I don’t need them at this time.

(She said she couldn’t believe the difference between the person she saw in office 9 days ago.)

It seems it’s never the insomnia or fear or stressful events.

Maybe it’s only ever opening my hand.

Letting go of what I’m holding onto that I think is keeping me safe.

Handrails, steering wheels, reins, joysticks.  The control.

I used to call it letting go.  Now, I call it surrender.

Surrender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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