So it’s Sunday afternoon.
The last 10 hours of freedom before Monday morning rears its ugly head lurk in front of me.
I’ve had a great weekend. I hung out with some dear friends on Friday night. We sat at the kitchen table, drank coffee, played a game, and chatted about life in general. It was pretty great.
Saturday my cousin came down for the afternoon to see the new house and hang out. We went for a nice walk by the River, went for Chinese, saw a fantastically inspirational movie (Won’t Back Down — it’s pretty anti-union, which I am not, but it reminded me why I became a teacher at any rate). He crashed here for the night last night, we went for breakfast this morning and I dropped him back off at the train station and I went to church.
I went to church and once again sat and was very challenged. I sat and listened intently, despite the fact that I feel incredibly icky today, leaving me both literally and figuratively uncomfortable.
Bruxy preached this morning about the great commission. About evangelism vs. discipleship. About what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. You’re an apprentice. You’re studying Him. You’re learning Him. You’re not just listening once a week to someone talk about Him. In the end, the disciple becomes like his/her teacher. We should be striving in everything we do to be more like Jesus.
We were asked: Do you want to be more like Jesus?
My gut reactionary answer was “of course I do! Why wouldn’t I?”
Then he backed us up. Stop for a minute. Really think it through. Is that what you want?
Again, of course it is.
Do you want to have courage and compassion?
No, listen… being more like Jesus means not being afraid of persecution or of others’ opinions of you. Do you want that?
Well, yes, but…
Having compassion like Jesus means you seek out the least of these… you seek out the poor, the needy, the helpless, the sick. They’re the ones that need you if you’re truly more like Jesus. Or would you rather stick with the popular peeps who can make you look good?
I confess… I like being popular.
This is why I came. This is why I left the last place and came here. Because here I am challenged. I leave feeling uncomfortable and a little bit ashamed. And it’s not a guilty ashamed feeling. It’s that heavy conviction where you know you’re being stirred up. That’s what I went looking for. I found it.
He went through a series of questions. He asked us: Do you REALLY want that…
Is it possible that you want to want that, even though right now in your heart you know that that’ll completely mess with your comfort level, your world, your very identity, and that’s not currently what you want… but you know that in that holds God’s best for you and God’s best for those with whom you interact?
Yes, that’s possible. Because right now, when I’m honest, I don’t want that quite yet. That sounds uncomfortable. It doesn’t sound like what I have planned for my life. Cuz, you know, that’s ultimately what’s most important here… *rolls eyes*
At any rate, yes, I was able to give that much up this morning.
Help me to want to want to be more like Jesus.
Wowzers. I shoulda switched years ago.
Here’s something else that makes me kind of uncomfortable lately… well, there are a lot of things. I’m kinda shaking things up all over the place. It’s good, trust me… most of the time.
But one I’ve truly taken notice of in the last little while…. is the way we as believers handle each other when we’re in crisis. I’m not sure I have an answer, or that I truly know what the problem is, but I do have a theory.
See we get into community with each other, and we’re told this space is safe; Be open, be trusting. And we’re told that without prior confirmation that that statement is true.
And I know for myself, I find that sometimes I take for granted that someone saying “this space is safe, you can trust it” may just be saying it. And I know that, also for myself, I have a hard time opening up. When I’m asked to share something deep and personal, I tend to lean toward making stupid jokes instead of being authentic. Naturally, I find that much easier than, say, revealing the biggest barriers between myself and true commitment to my Saviour. I find admitting things like that very difficult, and I find that it’s a lot easier to say “sugar” than what I know is really the truth. I find too, even if someone calls me out… that it’s easier to make even dumber jokes. Sugar is not the biggest thing between myself and total commitment to Jesus. That’s absurd. My twisted view of God that suggests to my brain and my heart that full surrender may end in my never getting married might be…. but it’s easier to say that I’m afraid to die alone with a bunch of cats because I don’t even like cats. It turns out, God’s a good God. Go figure, right?
Romans 12:2 tells us that when you’re transformed by the renewing of your mind and not conforming to what the world wants from you, you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Where does it fit in with my view of God that He may withhold marriage from me the second I give my life fully over to Him?
Every time I’ve tried to surrender, that seems to be the one thing I try to keep. It’s my Isaac. I need to lay it down lest I never fully get to God. But… I don’t want to. But… how could my own efforts EVER be better than God’s? Really. I’m kind of stupid I think, to be honest, but I’ve digressed.
Where I think we’ve fallen short for each other is in the ability to just listen. We’re asked these big, deep, prodding questions… and then people try to find solutions for us. Advice that I never asked for. Advice that I never wanted. Advice that I’ve heard before. Advice that isn’t really even helpful. And we’re all guilty of it. I know I am. How many times has a friend come to me, I’m sure just looking for someone to truly hear him/her, and I try to solve his/her problem, even when I don’t understand what he/she is going through.
Is that right?
Why do we need solutions?
Can’t we just listen?
Not everything can be solved with a sentence. With words.
I was incredibly blessed on Friday night to sit down with a couple of dear girls who did just that. They just listened. And I in turn, I think anyway… I think I listened for them. I hope they don’t feel this way about me from Friday… but at any rate… we listened.
I think it’s a long lost skill — that of listening. We sit through what others are saying, thinking of what our next sentence will be, always adjusting while others are talking, instead of really hearing what they’re saying.
I am committing to myself, and to all of you out there who consider me a friend… that when you come to me, I will listen, and I will only give advice if and when I am asked. If you need to bounce things off of me, ask my opinion, ask my advice, I’m happy to be there for you. I truly am. But if you need me to just listen…. I’m happy to work on that while being there for you.
Also, random side note: Can I say how much I’m loving both Chip Ingram and Bruxy Cavey right now? Anyone who gives grammar lessons while preaching the Word in order to completely break down what’s being said and make it crystal clear is aces in my books.
Anyway… here’s my list.
257. Fall colours
258. laundry hanging outside, probably for the last time of the year.
259. Catching up with friends.
260. Fresh cut flowers.
261. Deep talks.
262. Friends who know how to just listen.
263. Getting convicted.
264. Knowing I’m where I should be.
265. Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks… in a cupholder on my my armrest at Church.
266. Feeling valued when I’m truly listened to.
267. Fall Strolls.
268. Farmer’s Markets
269. Inspiring Movies that bring tears, and remembrance of why I teach (go see Won’t Back Down. I’m not kidding, it’s fantastic. It’s anti-union, and American, and I’m neither of those things, but it reminded me that I teach for the love of seeing and helping kids learn).
270. Breakfast at Cora’s
271. A stack of books to read, and a commitment to spending at least an hour a day on the stack.
All photos taken with my Motorola Charm.