Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Interlude

I read a very beautiful post recently from another blogger. She writes in eloquent prose:

"It's Him. It's the fact that when He leads, it isn't to a place...it's to Himself. It's to follow Him...Jesus, who bids us carry His cross to death...but to carry His yoke and have rest.

"He's amazing. He's surprising. He's Jesus who loves us infinitely, enough to bleed for us. Jesus, who went to church and got so angry at the hypocrites that He threw furniture down the steps. Jesus, who didn't look 'religious' enough to be religious at all, but who loved everyone and got down in the middle of their mess to love them."

You can find the entire post from her blog here. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eighteen

Yup, that's me, on the left. I was freshly 18 years old when this picture was taken. Here I am with my friend Kelsey, doing our  laps around the high school track for the annual Relay for Life event. It's hard for me to believe that nearly six years stand between she and I. Six years full of life, of breath, of experiences I seem to have forgotten I've accumulated, joy, hardship, glory and failing.

Six years.

Look at her. She's so happy. She's young and calm and full of vibrancy. She's centered. She laughs at the days to come.

I often have 'hindsight snobbery' when I think of my past self, particularly my 18-year-old self. The girl in that picture had a lot of things that she didn't even know needed to be worked out in her heart. A couple of those six years are not years that she would weather very well. The me on this side of the chasm has no particular desire to relive them. The me on this side of things sees myself as having earned my place, so to speak. I have worked hard. I've had some struggles.  I have become so knowledgeable. If I am honest with myself, I feel that I am entitled to some greater level of acknowledgement or grace for not standing in her shoes anymore, for being too wise for that, for having surpassed her..."She is not me," I say, shaking my head.

But I did a scary thing the other day. I cracked open that girl's journal and snooped through our collective past. And you know what? It's true, she had a lot to learn. But for all she was ignorant of, she leaned into God with a fervor that, honestly, challenges me today. God was all she had, and her heart had a peace that this heart quiets at the remembrance of. Maturity or none, her heart kept time to the heart of God, it beat and swelled and swayed to the rhythm of what God was doing in her life. Sure she was a mess in her own hidden ways - ways that I am proud for having "discovered." But the economy of grace for which I have undersold her becomes evident when I realize what I'm doing.

Grace is no economy, friends. And maturity is no cause for pride.

I may have been simpler then, but God asked the same thing on the day this picture was taken that He asks of me today: my faithfulness. And He offers the same thing to this girl that He does to me: His abounding love, His presence, His joy, Himself. God does not weigh us on the scales we weigh ourselves on. His astounding love is for a creation He adores, and none of it is deserved. It was for this girl and for me that God ran out to greet and rejoiced over (Luke 15:11-32). It was for both that He pursued. It was for both that He died. And it was for both that He still cares, day after day.

Friends, don't turn grace into an economy. For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world (1 Tim. 6:7). We are saved by grace, by faith. I hope and pray that God opens your eyes to understand that for a moment, wrap your heart around it. Can you comprehend a God that loves you passionately, no matter how much you think you don't deserve it (or do)? Can you fathom that??


Friday, October 12, 2012

How to Tell the Truth

I'm wary about blogging about things that I am "working on." One particular quote from Mark Driscoll left me a little convicted: "Blogging is often a way to feel like you've done something about an issue without really doing anything about it." Awesommmme. Guilty.

But I have been thinking through these things for a few weeks now, and want to continue to walk in them as well as share them with others.

So I wrote to you recently about being "too nice." I've gotten myself in some sticky too-nice situations since! But I made some commitments to myself about how I will speak to other people that help me to define the issue, and may help you. Healthy communities and relationships are determined by good, open, healthy communication, and I want to begin to foster that in my own life.

So here goes, the "list":


  • If asked tough questions, I will answer them completely honestly, not hiding behind nice or insincere words, or half truths. I will be 100% honest.
  • I will confront people when I see a need to, whether or not I think it may be hard for them to hear. I will do this with love and gentleness.
  • I will own the power of my words, and endeavor to make my words healing.That means no gossip. No white lies. No insincerity. 
  • I will not hope that situations go away. I will deal with them.
  • I will have a clear yes and a clear no. I will communicate my needs in all circumstances and lovingly keep my boundaries completely intact. I will not bend on those boundaries for anyone.
  • I will be mature in how I encounter conflict. I will not shut down, but will force myself to speak up. I will make myself face the issue and talk through it as necessary. 

You see, we really owe it to our dear friends to be kind and open with them. We owe it to others to lay aside our prideful fears and be honest. There is a way to be open and direct without wounding, and maybe it's a lost art. Pray about this today, pray about how to say what you need to say. Pray for your friends, your family, your dear ones. If the church is lost in miscommunication, in failure to speak truth, we are lost indeed. 

...I also just read a really convicting post about listening, so maybe I'll write about that next. ;)