I found all these old journal articles from when I first starting moving away from trying to make church relevant in my life. I’ll post a few for your reading pleasure….I was shocked to remember the things I wrote – it’s one thing to know you thought something, but to see it in print is a little unnerving, as if it’s more real and substantial and must be grappled with. Which I suppose, is true. When you care enough to write it down, it takes on more meaning. It’s the mind’s action.
Here's the first one: ( I mentioned you even back in 2006. We were having these conversations then too, and you didn't know it...or maybe you did :o)
July 9th, 2006
Something is missing and I don’t want to give up hope that one day I’ll figure it out. I have a choice; I can choose not to give up hope.
Because here’s the thing, I went to church today. A different church, partly because I miss community, partly because I think I should and want to belong to a group of Christians, and but I still feel like I’m missing the point. The point is not to attend church in an attempt to “keep my life straight” or to make my life fit some accepted mold of what a Christian is, but the point is to love and be in relationship with Christ. Sara got that – I read it in her last blog – she understands and embraces that despite other peoples’ assumed misgivings or even her own. Because that IS the truth – the truth is Christ, and him crucified. Paul said it.
And I want to see that. I want to know that and rest in that knowledge. I want to rest in who I am, who God made me to be. I read Mark Batterson’s evotional last night, the Neurology of Faith IV, and how God made us each to fit our own niche in HIS world. Not a testament to our own individuality, but a testament to God’s perfect plan for LIFE – all of life, not just our own. And how learning to be me, is really learning how to exhibit God’s creativity, and exhibit God fully. Because no one does a better me than I do.
And today at Bethel United Methodist, where I went, a visiting mother from New York told me I look just like her granddaughter who’s an editor for a newspaper there in New York. And whether it was just being the new visitor there, or feeling like I don’t belong in this county or out here in the country, the odd man out, or entertaining thoughts of being an editor for L.A. magazine or Inform Design magazine, I was really encouraged by the association. That there was this little old lady with a Filipino accent telling me I look like this person with a life completely different from my own, meaning I look like I don’t belong here, but belong elsewhere – I might be taking it out of context based on my own desires, but I was inspired to not give up.
Because I know I’m missing something, and everytime I think I’ve figured it out, it slips just a bit to the right or to the left and I’m back to looking at the clues again and wondering. And I hate being blind, but I also hate a false confidence, or sense of place in this world. I hate being on a false rock of the “Christian” life, one where I listen to the Newsboys, and PAR FM, go to Fishnet, look at my coworkers and classmates as potential conquests and continually try to “fit” God into conversations. It’s arrogance. Arrogance that I’VE figured it all out, and if only you would listen, I could tell you how to have happiness. And I think I’ve always had that opinion, just have squelched it when the time was necessary because I’d always get this heart-skipping fear when it would come time to witness to someone about Jesus, because it’s supposed to be a sale about how great life is, and even if it isn’t, it still is.
Because he isn’t some magical cure-all, or incantation I can chant and summon to get me out of sticky situations; the truth is, life sucks sometimes because we all make stupid decisions that affect the lives around us even when we aren’t trying to or meaning to. WE ruin life – not God. God IS faithful, God HAS and DOES prove himself over and over in my life, he has protected me and guided me with a consistency I only realize a very very small percentage of the time. By saying he’s not a magical cure-all I’m saying that He can’t be controlled, and I would find myself telling people things that would belie that statement. If you do A, then B will happen. And who am I to say what will or won’t happen? We learn to love God out of happiness, then down the road have to learn to re-love Him when something terrible happens.
I remember underlining a passage in my paperback NLT New Testament that I got from LT 2000. It was the opening line to Psalm 23 and the version stated, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.” That’s what I want to know. Not, the Lord is my shepherd, I attend a great church, have a great creative job and a Christian boyfriend, I have everything I need – but just rest in Christ. There was also another passage in Philippians that I underlined, or at least I think it was Philippians that simply stated “I want Christ”. Wasn’t even a full verse, just that phrase struck me and I knew it as truth.
The times I was content, there was always this sense of a very precarious balance. That if I even breathed too heavy, everything would come crashing down around me. Maybe it was because I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but also realized the frailty of the situation. And that though I was here now, I still couldn’t control it – or know the future, or know what would happen next – there was a knowledge of being with God and knowing God as who He really is – understanding my place with Him in this world. Knowing He gave me the balance, that I didn’t create it, but being able to enjoy it for the time I had it. And knowing HE GIVES joy and peace, but making sure WE know that it’s HIM who gives the joy and peace and not something we can create. The sense of where I belong in conjunction with him. I know I’m repeating myself; I’m just trying to get down in words what I mean in my head.
So the whole point of this Lord is to cry out to you again. I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow, or even 10 minutes from now, but I know that your faithfulness doesn’t depend on mine. And that I have to trust myself as much as I have to trust you. And that this relationship won’t THRIVE on me coming to you out of guilt, or fear – but as a realization of the truth, of you. You move me, and I want You. You yourself, not people around you, music around you, anything. Just you and me, talking, listening, living in relationship, in community. I want to be ok with you, and I am because YOU declared it to be. And I want to be ok with me. MORE than ok in both actually. I want to be the best me in the best you I can be. That’s it.