Confessions of an Imperfect Christian–#5

Standard

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

Confession #1–It’s been a long time since I last wrote a post!  It was a good summer with the kids, but they’re back in school (cue the angelic choir) and I’m back to the blog 🙂

Confession #2–I can be spiritually blind and deaf

Photo Credit: RonAlmog via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: RonAlmog via Compfight cc

Alright, here’s another confession, since I’m on a roll: I love football.  Nobody is more excited about the NFL season opener Thursday night between the Green Bay Packers (Go Pack!) and the Seattle Seahawks than me (well, maybe my son).  In the meantime, I’ve been getting my football fix with preseason games.  About two weeks ago, my son and I were watching the Packers play the St. Louis Rams and I was standing in the kitchen over a sink full of dirty dishes when I suddenly realized that about five to ten minutes of the game had passed, and I didn’t have a clue what was happening.  While my eyes were technically fixed on the screen, and I had seen the players moving around the field, I wasn’t really paying attention.  I’ll chalk it up to the wide margin in the score (sorry Rams fans), but it made me think about all of the times that I technically “see” something, but don’t really take the time or invest the brainpower to comprehend or appreciate it.

Many of you may know that our family moved to a new community this summer, and I have the delightful privilege of driving over a bridge nearly every day that spans a beautiful little waterfall.  Looking at the water as it rushes over the rocks, smooth like onyx on top and then frothy white at the bottom, literally makes me happy.  However, as gorgeous as it is and as much as I love it, sometimes I don’t even look in it’s direction.  Or other times I see it in a very vacant, disengaged way, not allowing it’s restorative power to move me.  I’m ashamed to admit, I often read my Bible in much the same way.  I see the words on the page, but my mind wanders and I fail to comprehend or appreciate what it’s saying to me.  I don’t take the time to really listen to what the words are whispering to my heart and forfeit the restorative and life-changing power they can bring.

Today I’m praying to live more fully in each moment, whether it’s taking in a beautiful sunset, waterfall, or football game, or reading the word of God.  I want each moment to be filled with appreciation for what’s before me and my mind with comprehension so that I don’t miss out on all the incredible things that God wants to do in and through me.  If you relate, drop me a note.  I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Confessions of an Imperfect Christian–#3

Image
He's a good man!  He puts up with me!

He’s a good man! He puts up with me!

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

Confession #3:  I don’t do what I say.

I used to think it was quirky.  I was spontaneous, living on a whim.  I just couldn’t be constrained by such mundane things as commitments, promises, and deadlines.  I needed to be free to be flexible!  In February I told my husband, Jonathan, that I would do the Daniel Fast with him for six weeks….sometime around week two I started to fudge it (yum, fudge!) and decided that I only needed to eat like that during the week.  So I started to eat whatever I wanted on the weekend while Jonathan continued with his steady stream of beans and vegetables.  While he looked at me over a bowl of asparagus, I thought What’s the big deal?  It’s just a diet.  Sure, I had told him I was in for six long weeks of dietary torture but, really, five days out of seven isn’t bad.  Right?  I thought it was a small thing, but the more I thought about it, the more it started to nag me.

In fact, the more I thought about it the more I began to realize it wasn’t an isolated incident.  It was part of a pattern that I had been establishing.  I squirmed thinking about the backhanded promises I had made to my kids to do some thing or another and then never followed through with.  Of course I was keeping the big commitments to my husband and our marriage, but all these little things were starting to pile up.  All the things that I thought were small things were adding up to one very big thing; I was becoming an untrustworthy and unreliable wife, mother, and friend.

It wasn’t just a quirk, it was a character flaw.  Over the years I have been on the receiving end of this same behavior and I did not like it.  Not. At. All.  So I knew from personal experience that this particular flaw could damage a relationship.  I now had a picture of what I could be–what I would be–a few years down the road if I didn’t make the choice to be different.  I wish I could say that I’ve got this one mastered, but it’s dying a slow death, hanging around much longer than I would like, but I’m grateful that God has allowed me to recognize it and is helping me take steps to change!

*Happy Spring Break everybody (that gets to enjoy such a luxury!).  In honor of the occasion (and to save a little sanity on my end), I will not be blogging on Friday.  See you Monday!

Confessions of an Imperfect Christian

Image

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

My plan is for the Confessions… series to become a regular part of the blog, but we’ll see just how much confessing I can stand!

Confession #1:

I’m a sinner.  Shocking, I know.  But seriously, what is shocking is that I lived my life, up until a few years ago, as if that wasn’t the case.  Sure, I knew that I was a sinner, I had read it repeatedly in the Bible and memorized verses that spelled it out in black and white, but I never really knew it.  In fact, I never would have admitted this out loud, of course, but I felt like I pretty much had the whole Christian living thing down.  Asked Jesus into my heart? (Um, when I was 5-years-old)  Check.  Didn’t cuss?  Check.  Youth pastor’s wife?  Check.  I was mentally checking off the boxes on my “good Christian” checklist without ever recognizing that, deep down, I was a Pharisee.  If you’ve read anything about them in the Bible you know that they were known for all the things they were against, and Jesus repeatedly rebuked them for getting between him and people who really needed him with all of their religious rules.  But when we moved to India in 2007, I was finally confronted with how much I had in common with those reviled religious leaders of old.

Spiritually speaking, living in India was like walking into a cage full of brown bears with a salmon strapped to my chest.  It was a daily assault, and in the midst of the pressure cooker of Third World living my religious facade began to crack, and I began to see the true condition of my heart in a way that I never had before.  What I saw wasn’t pretty.  But everything changed the day I stood, shaking with a rage (about something stupid, loud Divali music) like I had never felt before, and I realized that, in that moment, I was capable of a level of violence that I never imagined possible (I didn’t act on it, in case any of you are worried) but that’s when it finally hit me.  I was (am) a wreck without Jesus.  I am a sinner, and I needed someone to rescue me from myself.  In that moment I realized that my sins weren’t any smaller or bigger than the brothel madam or the murderer in prison–in the eyes of Jesus they were the same–we were the same.  Up until that point I had found it very easy to look down my nose (or turn it up in disgust) at all of the other “sinners” that I encountered, until I realized that I was just like them.  The only difference was Jesus, and his grace and forgiveness.

The book of Luke recounts a story that Jesus told to Simon, a Pharisee, in response to his disgust that Jesus would allow a prostitute to wash his feet with her tears and hair.  Jesus said, “‘Two men were in debt to a banker.  One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty.  Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts.  Which of the two would be more grateful?’

Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.’

‘That’s right,’ said Jesus…(speaking of the prostitute, he said) ””  (Luke 7:41-47  The Message)

Reading that passage, I weep for all of the years that my gratitude was so minimal because I believed I needed so little forgiveness.  Now I know better, and I am so very, very grateful for God’s love and grace, and the opportunity to share it with others!

Have you ever been guilty of knowing something about God but not really knowing it in your heart? 

How has that affected your relationship with people around you?