Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I want to blog. I need to blog. But what to blog about. Usually I come into these posts with a preplanned idea; something that has been weighing on my heart. But tonight...nada. Maybe I'll look over my 'cheat sheet' and find something magical. Or at least something to expound upon... 
Coming Clean About Our Weaknesses
One of the most counter-intuitive statements our Lord ever made does not describe very well the day-to-day perspective of almost anyone I know: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" [2 Corinthians 12:9].
Now how about that? We spend our lives telling each other to focus on our strengths, to work in our core skill sets, to dance with the thing that brought us to the party, to perfect our brand, and to protect our image. This is not the beginning of an argument to tell you not to use your strengths, but it is to say [this:]
If you want to see the power of God at work in your life, you'll have to quit hiding your weaknesses from people and from him - as though you can hide anything long enough to actually get it past God or even the people who know you.
 [This teaching] really just means you have to be honest, to deal in truth rather than fiction. This is the requirement of Jesus that scares [the living daylights] out of most Christians.
-Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather, and Sports (eBook) by Wes Yoder
I am not a strong person. Even though the events in my life would suggest otherwise. I've never had a problem talking about my weakness, but the passage from 2 Corinthians is sticking with me; particularly the second half: "my power is made perfect in weakness."

I cannot see weakness as a good thing. I also do not see how God can use me; a person with so many flaws. I think I am on the opposite end of this post's spectrum...I deal in the fiction that my weaknesses are all too real instead of the fiction that my weaknesses are non-existent.

Hmmm...but what if focusing on my weaknesses helps me to push harder?

God is perfect. I guess it would only make sense that weakness is made perfect by perfection. Or at least seen as perfection. What we all need to realize, myself especially, is that God created me. He knows what my imperfections are. He gave them to me. What better testament then to see these detriments turn to beauty with no physical evidence of such a change occurring? Knowing that God changed me because He loves me...but also because He wants to show people who He is and how much He wants everyone to know and believe in Him.
I believe...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rolling Away the Stones

"So ... what you're telling me is, even our God isn't big enough to help you change?"

He got me... Like many other Christian Atheists, I believed the lie that I couldn't change...

Admitting our problems is only the first step. After that, we must invite God to work, because he is the one who can change any problem... With people, change may be difficult, even impossible - but not with God. God is bigger than our problems, no matter what they are. If you've believed that you simply can't change, acknowledge that that is a lie. With God, all things are possible... If you're not dead, you're not done.

-The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist, by Craig Groeschel



For Easter yesterday, I decided to go with my grandmother to her church; the Catholic church. Being raised a Catholic, I am quite familiar with the mass; but decided after high school that it wasn't for me...actually, I decided that NO church was for me...but I'm not here to discuss my "encounter with God" (so to speak) that finally brought me to church or bash any other religion or church. But I will say this: now that I'm older, I can appreciate the mass and get something out of the homily.

Yesterday's message was about, as my post title suggests, rolling away the stones. The gospel reading was about Mary Magdalene finding the empty tomb of Jesus on Easter morning. The priest spoke about the areas in our lives that we have closed off by stones to block access to everyone; including God. I know there are quite a few in my life...especially ones I refuse to acknowledge. I want to believe that I allow God's light to shine into every room, but I don't. I know I don't.

The worst habit I have is biting my nails. I've done so since I was a kid. It may not seem like it's important, but it is one thing I have never included God in. I've never asked for His help in quitting. It's one of those things in my life that no one is allowed to say anything about. If people do; I get angry and do it out of spite.

I keep saying/thinking I want to stop, but I don't really think I do. I don't act like I do, anyway. I've made no serious effort to stop; and if friends or family try to help me quit...even if I ask them to...I get nasty.

Maybe this is one of my stones. Something I can let God into. Ask for His help.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Perseverence



Okay, I'm a pretty smart girl; but when it comes to matters involving me, I think I got a case of the dumbs. I assumed that feeling 'better' was going to be this monumental event...like I was going to wake up one day and be cured. "Well, after I see the psychiatrist..." or "if I can just get some more meds." I've been waiting for this huge transformation, but the truth is that it's not going to happen like that.

Healing and getting better is a process. It requires work and constant diligence to keep from going backward. And I'm allowed to have 'bad days'. It's hard for me to get that through my head sometimes. Having a bad day doesn't mean my world's going to hell in a handbasket. It means my back hurts or I feel sad, lonely, confused, etc... Everyone else can have bad days, why should I not be entitled to one (or ten)?

Depression (much like alcoholism -- in my opinion anyway) cannot be 'cured'. It is an ongoing battle that I must fight everyday; sometimes every minute. The important thing is to keep fighting; keep pushing to be better. In some cases (like mine), medication aids in the battle. If there's a chemical imbalance in my brain, the logical solution is to balance them...replenish those that are missing.

Hebrews 12:2

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It is most crucial for me to turn to God in the times when I feel stuck...and believe that I won't be there forever.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Suffering

“Are we willing to be used by God to accomplish his redemptive work, even when that work includes suffering that we don't understand?”

-How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture
by Michael Williams

I've been thinking a lot about suffering and loss this past week. It has been a rough week for me; emotionally and spiritually. Physically, it's been normal -- horrible back pain one day; not so bad the next 3 days...fortunately, the Aleve started working again.

It's Spring Break (or it was) and that brought up some changes in my routine. I didn't like it. And, no, that doesn't make me weird; some people have a hard time adjusting to change, in any form. And I am one of those people.

Sometimes I can't help but think that my disabilities; yes, I said -ies, are a punishment for something. For what exactly? You got me. I've come to grips with my physical condition: my mother drank and smoked while she was pregnant with me. And, believe it or not, I'm okay with that. I know that God didn't want that to happen, but he did allow it. And maybe I'm okay with the whole thing because people can see it...they know there's a problem. I wear a brace.

Emotionally...well, that's a whole other ball game. You can't see depression. There's no blood test; no scientific measurement. I'm just sad. Which is why it so often feels like a punishment. How can I explain, how can I quantify behavior that there is no visible explanation for? I'm not looking for an excuse; for pity; for a 'get out of jail free' card. I just do and feel sometimes. It's like a life sentence with no hope of parole. What did I do to deserve that?

We should remember and focus on what God has done and not on what we have done.
Luke 22:19


But what if I'm looking at this the wrong way? Perhaps God gave (allowed me to have) this condition because he knew I could handle it. What does that tell me about what the Creator of the Universe thinks of me? That I'm loved? That I'm wanted? That I'm a survivor? All those things and more. God loves me. He wants me to succeed...to overcome...to survive.

"What we can be sure of is that God is about his redemptive work, as he always is, and has chosen us to participate in that work by sharing, at least for a while, in some of the same kind of suffering his own Son experienced [see 1 Peter 4:12-13]."

-How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture
by Michael Williams