Friday, October 4, 2013

Systematically undone

I keep thinking about changing the name of this blog from "My Walk of Faith" to "Systematically Undone," because I feel like that is what is happening to me.

All the years I spent with my building blocks, stacking my faith system, my opinions, my viewpoints, etc., into the existence of who I "am." Three years ago I would have told you I had a pretty good sense of myself, what I believed and how I viewed the world. I was comfortable - everything in black and white, clean lines, orderly.

In these last three years though, God has come along to my little monument and begun to undo what I had done. Like a twisted game of Jenga, He has not chosen to tear things down simply from the top, nor has He chosen to just level things by pulling out the bottom, instead, he has carefully removed my blocks from the most random places - sometimes moving them, sometimes completely tossing them aside. Some blocks being removed have caused a great shift, others have allowed for certain areas to crumble, and because He is clearly the Jenga Master He is able to do so without total destruction.

Where I find myself today in this continued work God is doing is to feel "unknown." People who knew me well three years ago (and hold onto those same perceptions of me today) really know very little about who I am now. There are a few who have been "around" for the process and many would testify that I am, in fact, different than I was before. I've on more than one occasion watched the shock pass through their eyes as they received grace from me rather than judgment, or compassion rather than opinion. I can't take any credit for it, nor do I try to, it's only to say, I'm not so full of myself anymore. These broken down walls no longer hold us the facade of who I used to be. Or rather, who I used to think I was.

Now don't get me wrong - I still believe in right and wrong and absolute Truth, I just no longer find myself in the position to have to be the defender of something that will stand no matter what I do. And instead of feeling the need to correct the world on a doctrine, I find myself longing to be the ambassador of the One who rescued me twice - first from my sin, and then from myself.

Sometimes it is painful. The building blocks guarded me from having to care or feel for those around me. And in all honesty there are levels of callous it created on my heart that are STILL being removed, but I see them for what they are, and I know they ought not be there. Sometimes is the pain of actual compassion for another, and sometimes the pain is wanting to be more compassionate. Either way, sometimes I have to sometimes squint my eyes at the shining truth.

What truth? That I am not God. That although He knows my heart thoroughly, no matter how much I want my heart to be after His, in the end, I'm going to fall short. We're all going to fall short. His ways are not our ways, we look at the logical looking for the supernatural and the two will never walk hand in hand.

It's like trying to take a picture of the wind. You cannot capture with your eyes alone what you must sense and experience on a whole other level to comprehend. "Faith is evidence of things NOT seen...."

We are ALL works in process, but it's as though I feel like this is such a season of profound tearing down and rebuilding that even those who are in my life now cannot know fully who I am or where I'm at because even I am constantly surprised at myself. I hear myself speak a word of grace and I wonder "Was that me?" Shocked only more by the depth that I meant it than that it came from my own voice.

It's funny (not haha, but odd) how although I am still struggling greatly with hurts of my past that I must overcome, that God's great work in my life seems to be having gone back "all the way" to the beginning of when I came to know Him and give my life to Him. Like a scene from Dickens, the God of the past stands with me and we look upon the girl who came to the cross knowing her need for a Savior, the depth of her sin, and drowning in her brokenness. I no longer look at her and think "how far I've come," but now I see I did not "overcome" her, I just buried her behind my building blocks, and began to forget she existed - much to my demise.

What I realize now is the only thing that has really changed is a greater understanding of Who God is, and a loss of understanding of who I am. I am still just as wretched and broken, and just as in need of a Savior today as I was that day almost 22 years ago. In many ways I was healthier then than I have been on any day since because I recognized the Truth... apart from Christ, I am nothing.

God forgive me for being impressed with myself, and any accomplishment in Your name, or any talent or gift you ever bestowed upon me. It was always You, and it will always BE You, because the moment it becomes all me or about me, all value is lost.

Today is a good day - my awareness is strong, not only of my need for God, but of His presence and the work He is doing. I suspect this game of Jenga between He and I will be life long. I am certain in my sin and struggle I will put back up blocks that He will again and again have to remove or reposition, but He is patient and loving, and at the end of the day whatever structure remains, the key is simply this - the foundation is secure, Christ alone, and Him crucified.

Monday, September 30, 2013

On the road of faith...

I am always bouncing back and forth between being on and off track with getting healthy bu being active and watching what I eat, etc., trying to be healthy (which is probably a whole blog post in itself) but one of my favorite things to do when I am trying to live an "active" lifestyle is just walking.

I am not a fan of the hamster wheel treadmill. I go nowhere and I lose interest quickly. I'd rather put my tennis shoes on and get outside and start moving, swiftly. Sometimes I know exactly where I am headed, and other times I just move and make up the rules in my head as I go. I've walked to "where the sidewalk ends" and I have walked a certain number of steps or a certain length of time but whatever way I go what I like best about actually walking is that no matter how far I go, I have to walk back. So wherever my will to go on further ends, my body will benefit from the return trip.

I've logged a lot of miles in the streets of Orange County, must of them swift walking steps, a small portion of them may have even qualified as a run, but from my many observations, I have learned a few lessons along the way that can be nicely expanded to cover the walk of faith as well.

Beware of being like those making right hand turns. It's my opinion that these are possibly one of the most dangerous creatures out on the road. Why?

Because they are rarely looking where they are headed. Their focus is always on what's behind them down the road they're entering on. (That's bad grammar I don't know how to fix.) And if they aren't looking down the wrong direction, their focus is always on the other cars around them, and never on themselves. I'll never walk in front of someone making a right hand turn because I have seen too many times how much they will not actually look to where they are moving - and if you happen to be in that path, you might just get squished.

It's given me a lot of pause to think as I stand waiting to catch the eye of those drivers. I've had my fair share turn to notice me and be irritated because they really need to wait to let me pass. I have the right of way, they do not.

I know I have found myself to be a right hand "turner" too many times on my road of faith. I am distracted completely by what everyone else is doing, all those who seem to be moving in the direction that I want to go. I'm looking back at them, and I am looking at the road from where they've come and try to force myself into the move of traffic only to find when I turn to see where I need to go, that the Holy Spirit is standing in front of me taking His right of way, and I am being told I have to wait.

The right handed turn has to be timed perfectly. The right on red especially must be carefully done. Moving into traffic is tricky, you can easily be taken out, serious damage being done to you. If you don't look where you're headed, you can do as much damage as you suffer.

It's a lot like the Walk o Faith - Yes, there are turns we have to make in where we are headed and what we do. We have to mind the cues given to us by the King of the faith traffic, and if He says, "No right on red," then we have to wait. If someone stands before us, again, wait. But with patience and confidence, not focusing on where anyone else is headed, but rather focusing on where we are going, and waiting for permissions to all align, when the timing is right and the green light is there, that is the time to GO.

God's timing is perfect. We need to trust and wait, and He will get us where He wants us to be.