the faithful ramblings a late bloomer. . .

the faithful musings of a four letter word user on a quest for authenticity.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

He Meets Us Where We Are

What keeps people from following Jesus isn’t the scandal of the Cross but the scandal of Christians who don’t love. ~ Rick Warren

My counselor gave me a couple of assignments as I was facing the difficult reality of being freed from my marriage covenant. The first was to get some accountability on actually following through with my plan to move out of my house, and the second one was to read The Shack.

What resonated in me about the book was the simple fact that Jesus meets us where we are. He knows our beginning and our end. NOTHING we do surprises him. He understands our feelings of betrayal, isolation, desperation, joy and sorrow because he experienced all of them during his time here on earth. He knew the situation we find ourselves in when we’re crying out to him in pain and suffering long before there was a single hair on our head. He’s not shocked, nor disappointed.

The bible beaters of the world will tell us that God hates sin and we’re sinners, so this can’t be true. They have built up walls around the heart of Jesus through condemnation, criticism and judgment that rational thinking humans can’t tear down those walls to see the heart of Jesus. But, I believe the heart of Jesus is nothing like the “Christians” that proudly bear his name.

He is kind, compassionate, overflowing with love, grace and mercy. He wants nothing more than to delight with us in our successes and teach us, as a loving parent, in our failures. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, because he knows that in our human condition, we simply aren’t capable of it. Having experienced our conditions on earth, he knows it so intimately that he’s not in the least surprised when we screw up as royally when we do.

However, we walk around forgetting that progress is actually the goal, not perfection. We hang so much value on being right and good, and are so disappointed in ourselves when we fail that we end up pushing God further away. But, I would argue, that he absolutely does not care about the stuff we get so hung up on, because he always meets us where we are.

He meets us where we are.

We don’t have to “raise up” to some level of refined spiritual and/or physical behaviors before we can know him.

He meets us where we are.

Broken and shattered, needing the peace and comfort only he can provide.

He meets us where we are.

To carry the burdens this life continues to offer and to provide us peace, joy and love that make us whole.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Asshole's Abound

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ e.e. cummings courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

From these two little gems, we can garner that in order to grow up and become who we really are we’re going to HAVE to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. There’s no avoiding it, it’s a part of life. Growth requires pain. We’re not going to travel down the path of life without uncertainty, heartache, and facing difficult truths. We’re going to have to look them face to face, mano y mano, becoming one with them, discarding the ones that are simply lies and accepting others that are out of our control.

For the fun of it, let’s call these difficult truths, “assholes”. No one wants a bunch of assholes ruining their day. What would you do if you found yourself in a room with 10 bonafied assholes? You would leave, that’s what you would do.

So what about the assholes that have infiltrated the cortex’s of our brain? They are certainly there you know. They are the demons and insecurities we’ve picked up over time from life experiences that have hurt us. They’re the scar tissue if you will. They’re not necessarily disabling but they’re there, living testimonies of the pain we’ve felt in the past.

For years, I thought I was stupid. I was far more social growing up than academic by nature. School wasn’t really my thing and I started to believe that I wasn’t smart (asshole). In fact, I never believed I would graduate from college. Somehow though, that little lie manifested itself in me and became a part of who I was for a very long time. It became an excuse for not taking control of my own destiny, but it was totally a lie. I am perfectly capable and able to do anything I want to do, become anything I want to become, but for years, that asshole made me feel otherwise.

So, how did I deal with that asshole? I just started calling it out. When the thought occurred to me that I couldn’t do something, I just began saying, “that’s a lie”. When you start seeing them for what they are they really start to get under your skin and piss you off. Action must taken. The asshole that keeps telling me I am lazy. . . I’ll show him, I’ll go run 5 miles. The asshole that tells me I am not pretty, I’ll dress up for work for no reason (chicks know the amazing power held in a pair of heels). The asshole that tells me I’m not worthy of my friends . . . watch what nice thing I can do for them to make their day brighter.

I love the definition of idiocy that’s been viral for a while now: doing the same thing while expecting different results. If we want things in our lives to improve we have to make a change, we have to do things differently. Often that involves a knocking out a few assholes. And bar fights require courage.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't Get Mad

I received an email this morning that began; Let me start off by saying, “Don’t get mad.” Of course my first thought was, Uh oh, but as I read on, I kept thinking, How could I possibly be mad???

My friend, Gil, had recognized something I needed to do and gone ahead and completed the task on my behalf. I suspect he feared he was overstepping boundaries, but I was completely and totally overwhelmed with gratitude! Not only had he given thought to some steps I need to take to protect myself on here, but also took the time to get the ball rolling and then he bothered to take the time to explain it all to me.

How could I possibly be mad? How could I possibly reject the attention and the assistance? How could I not rejoice at having such amazingly loving and supportive people in my life? I’m sorry that for one millisecond, he even had a moment of concern that I would be mad! I am completely humbled by his willingness to invest in what I’m doing here and completely overwhelmed by his support.

My point in telling this story though is that I think God responds the exact same way.

Since publishing “Next Fall” on here, I’ve been a little concerned about people’s response to me essentially telling our heavenly Father to sit on it and spin, albeit in a moment of pain and weakness on my part. My response to what God was telling me in that instance was hardly reverent or humble and I can certainly see why most folks would certainly take offense to what I said. While I’m not touting making this a regular occurrence, let’s take a second to look at it from the perspective of the throne.

Every minute, every second of the day, God is there; watching over us, providing for us, guiding us and loving us. He is always looking out for our best interest even when our feeble little minds can’t see that since we are not necessarily “getting our way”. He is always there waiting, patiently, for us to see him, stop and wave, and acknowledge him, as he sends light and love our way.

So, I’m thinking that if God got an email from me that began, “Let me start off by saying, “Don’t get mad. I have done this and this and this because I thought this, this and this.” He’d likely have a similar response that I had to Gil’s email, which was “omg, honey, thanks!! Thanks for coming to me and having this conversation with me. Thanks for trusting me with your insight, let’s figure this thing out”.

For not one second, should we hesitate to take him our pain, anger, or our frustrations; our shit, if you will. He can take it. He doesn’t care. It’s not exactly like he didn’t know it was all going to happen a billion years ago. It’s hardly news to him that we’re full of crap, egos and hubris. He doesn’t care! How amazing is that! He is just so stinking excited that we took the time to look up and come to him and he’s grateful for our attention. We are his children; his hearts that are walking around outside of his body. He just wants us to look up, and let him take the rest from there.

**i LOVE the soundtrack selection for this one. Click on the title link and be blessed!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Use Me

One of the baby steps of spreading the word about these words was my starting a Twitter account last week. I had an account a few years ago, but didn’t really get the point, so I quickly abandoned it. When I googled my name my twitter page was the first thing to pop up and I simply couldn’t have my reputation being caught up in such silliness. I was that bound and chained by fear of rejection. Someone might see it and think me silly, stupid, childish . . . whatever the adjective, I just couldn’t have that, so delete.

While the reality of having my heart and soul available for the entire internet to see is continuing to settle in, what has made it easier to share is the amount of relevant tweets I now see on a daily basis. It’s like a sweet tonic of Jesus, Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Goethe, and Nelson Mandella all wrapped up into one!

When you’re following Bob Goff, Louie Giglio, Mark Driscoll and Tony Dungy it’s like pearly wisdom coming at you night and day (omg, what if Jesus had a twitter????). I have to say I’m quite relieved to have this stream of inspirational ethics flowing into my conscience. I am pretty sure this could rock my world in the long run as God gave me this example this morning:

Text last night from a friend:

“I feel like my life is insignificant and that I have not done anything. My obituary would be extremely lack luster. I really feel like I would not be missed at all. Don’t take that to mean I am going to kill myself.”

Tweet this morning from Louie Giglio:

“We all preach our own funerals. No one else can say more or less than who we really are and what we gave our lives for.”

So many of us (myself included) have yet to find who we really are and even more importantly what we’re willing to give our lives for. Perhaps it is at that crossroad that our obituaries begin to take shape. Without sacrifice, hard work and determination for a cause outside of ourselves we are doing nothing but serving ourselves. Considering we won’t be around for our own funerals, who would bother to show up?

Use Me, Jesus. Use Me up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Living Out Loud

This is my friend Mara.

Yesterday, in New Zealand, jumping off the Kawarau Bridge .

While an acquaintance for years, I’ve recently gotten to know Mara much better as we are training to complete a half marathon together in January. I recently told another friend, that what I loved most about Mara was that she is always up for anything. When I said that, I really meant, drinks. She’s always up for getting drinks.

But when I saw this picture on Face book this morning, I realized precisely what it is I love and admire most about Mara.


She doesn’t let little minutia’s of fear get in her way. She lives out loud. She is living a great story!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Next Fall

Almost a year ago, I had my first real divine revelation. While I have heard “that still small voice” on many occasions, this was the first where I honestly heard God speaking to me.

On the flight home to North Carolina last Thanksgiving, I succumbed to what has become an all too often occurrence for me when flying, an uncontrollable and overwhelming bout of sadness. Every flight I have been on in the last three years, I have found myself crying, and this flight was no exception.

It makes me lonely. I don’t really know why the loneliness manifests itself so keenly since during my 8 year marriage I primarily traveled solo. Because of his demanding work schedule I can count on one hand the number of flights we actually took together. It’s the knowledge that there’s no one at home missing me or waiting to hear if I arrived safely, and that a quiet, empty home awaits my return that gets me every time though.

Considering the proximity to the holiday season, you can probably imagine the exacerbated state of my emotions when I was flying for Orlando to Greenville/Spartanburg last Thanksgiving. The result of which ended up being an all out battle with God. I let him have it in my mind, thinking: “Why? Why? Why? What are you going to do about this? None of this fair, yada yada.” To which, he replied, “Next Fall”. “NEXT FALL????” I responded. “NEXT FUCKING FALL??? What in the hell am I supposed to do in the mean time, you jerk?” “Get ready”, he said. UUUGGGHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this point, I’m pretty sure I may have told my most merciful and holy God that I hated him. Good thing he’s forgiving.

I got over it though, went about my merry way, and endured the dreaded holidays. During that time though, I decided that “Next Fall” was simply not an acceptable answer, and I would continue on my quest. Considering I was keenly aware of how I had simply been letting life happen to me for the first 30 years, the idea of waiting around for a year for the love of my life to waltz up to my door and knock on it simply wasn’t sitting well with me. I must be proactive, I thought. I had to put myself out there, I thought. I thought WRONG.

So, here I sit, alone, with “next fall” quickly becoming next winter, wondering if my refusal to “let go and let god”, may have set me back a little bit. The good news is that while I’m reflecting on the last year, I can see that I did, in fact, “get ready”.

Knowing full well that I didn’t enter 2010 with the patience God would have delighted in, I find myself asking what three happenings highlighted the past year? The answer: I had my heart broken, I began running seriously and I finally started writing. (Whew, two out of three ain’t bad)!!!

Those are three most profound events of the last year for me, and what I find most interesting is that each one, directly fed into to the next. Without yet another failed relationship, I wouldn’t have had the time to get serious about running, which gave me the structure I needed, and the time alone with my thoughts to finally get down to business about the writing. The latter events have each given me the self confidence and purpose I needed to find acceptance within myself.

Perhaps what God was telling me was that “next fall” I would be ok with me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Something's Gotta Give

One of the more difficult realities of life for me is facing is the need to make a change. Be it circumstances, attitudes, values or habits, we often face the difficult reality that “something’s gotta give”. This new writing venture has been a huge change for me, one that I resisted for months, and one that I’m still ambivalent about (shout out to Gil). But something had to give and I was starting to shrink under the weight of the life I wasn’t living as a result of staving off change.

At its most basic level, change requires risk; risk of being hurt, rejection, and/or failing. None of these little gems of emotions inspire warm fuzzies, and all too often we let the associated risks stop us in our tracks where change is needed and thus everything stays the same. What we know though, is that those who are willing to take risks do great things. So for us to grow and evolve, change and risk are required. It is not optional. The need to confront the change will continue to nag at us until we face or it or like a gravitational pull conflict will be created in which we are forced to deal with it.

So the option then is to take control and face the change or wait it out until it becomes ugly to do it. Sounds to me like the way to go there is take the risk and go for it.

Two things to remember though: no one is going to do it for you and there are no quick fixes.