Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Putting Jesus in a box

You need to separate your faith from your life, they say.  This Jesus stuff, it's alright on Sunday morning, but come on, Monday morning?  That's the time to live your life and go to work and school kids and do your thing.  God is alright for Sundays, but it's best to just relegate him to weekends and leave the Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays for the rest of your life.  Let's just compartmentalize it all, shall we?  Let's put Jesus in the box we like him in, and leave him there, and maybe pull him out on Christmas and Easter, or when tragedy strikes.  Anytime but a normal boring weeknight. 
God doesn't care what you eat or where you work or how you spend your money, so long as he gets the little bit you have leftover after a week of running and doing.  It's like we forget that we're not human DOINGS; we are human BEINGS.

Sometimes, I feel like a freak.  I think of him all the time; by HIM, I mean HIM, the maker of my soul.  The one who formed space and time and put it in a box and presented it to mankind.  The one who loves me and knows me better than I know myself.  I am hungry for him, to know him more.  I am weak and ignorant and helpless, and for the first time in a long time I am OKAY WITH THAT, because I finally see it's HOW it's SUPPOSED TO BE.  I wasn't made to have all the answers or be all things to all people.  I was only meant to know the one who does and is, and share the light he puts inside me.  

I am a mess, let me tell you.  But I am a better woman as a mess than I ever was when I was a woman who thought she had to have it all together.  I thank God that he delivered me from that pit of pride, and that he continues to do so.  It's a beautiful thing to see that even when I stumbled, as I did so many years ago, that even in the stumbling God had my back. 

I know what it is to be 21 years old, to be pregnant outside of marriage, and a youth minister to boot.  I know what it is to feel rejected by people you had hoped would love you, but I also know what it is to be accepted and loved by people you were sure would reject you.  I have felt the sting of wearing my sin like a public badge, a scarlet letter.  Of feeling there is nothing you can do that will ever wash you clean again, and all the plans and purposes you thought God had for your life are so broken and bruised you can never recover them again.  That all of life just becomes this vain attempt to at least not screw things up worse, to just not be any more of a disappointment than you already are.  To feel that you are no longer useful to God or yourself, and maybe if you just keep your head down you'll get through to the end of the song and dance called life without humiliating yourself further.  I have been that woman. 

But praise God, I know now that those are just lies.  Life in Christ is never about being perfect.  It's about being PERFECTED BY HIM.  It's about HIM working in me, setting me free from myself and the prisons of expectations about what I have to be to be loved by Him.  And while I will never say I was proud of my sin, I can say I am proud of my GOD.  A God who redeems brokenness, who took my sin and turned it from emptiness into one of the greatest blessings in my life: my daughter Kate.  To see how before that moment of pain, I would have continued to do my best to minister to people in my own strength.  But after, I was too broken. And though it took years for God to open my eyes to all of it, I see alot of it now.  I see his love and his grace and his compassion and how he takes broken things and makes them strong in Him. 

So when I see how in our culture we want to compartmentalize God, it makes me weep.  NO, I SAY! If God is not God in your life on Monday morning in the office or in your home with small children, then WHEN is he God to you at all?  Sunday is wonderful.  I cherish a day of rest, and contemplation and study.  But it's Monday morning when my soul is thirsty.  It's Thursday night at dinnertime when the kids are whining when I need Him to be real and there and guarding my heart and teaching me what it means to LOVE unconditionally and speak kindly.  It's Friday night, around the dinner table, when I want him there with me, savoring his word as a family or praying together or just laughing together and loving and BEING.  Because I for one am tired of all the DOING. 

And I want him OUT of the box.  I want more of Jesus and less of me.  I want to let go of my idea of what He has to be for me to say I will worship him, and worship him as he IS, which is always better than I come up with anyway.  I want the fullness of His word,and not just the verse that suits me today.  I want to be uncomfortable with the hugeness of God and the smallness of myself and run back to him just the same.  Because he is it.  He is all I will ever want or need.  And he is MORE than ENOUGH.

I want to be like John, pressed against his breast, listening to the heartbeat of Almighty God.  I want to know him and the power of his resurrection, not just to raise the dead in body, but to raise the spiritually dead.  I want to be like Moses, who spoke to him face to face.  Who stood before him, and knew he was holy and trembled.   Like Paul, who was once Saul, but no more.  Who knew that EVERYTHING else, all the STUFF we run after, it's just DUNG compared to knowing HIM. 

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