Friday, June 27, 2014

"No longer a Christian"

This blog of mine.  I think this is the longest it's gone dark since I started it six plus years ago.  It's not that I haven't had anything to say, but it's just that I've had so much to say that I haven't found the capacity within myself to filter through it.  

I have NEVER found this "Walk of Faith" that my blog is titled after an easy journey to make.  I look around at other Christians I know and I wonder, "What is it that they have that I don't?"  There was a time when I was able to figure some of that out.  I've shared here a lot in the last couple of years about the turn from grace I realize happened in me over the first decades of my faith in Christ.  What I mean to say is I had forgotten what a horrible wretched sinner I was and got pretty full of myself - I thought I was doing Jesus some sort of favor with my oh so righteous life.  But revelation came, and I got over myself and remembered the "amazing grace that saved a wretch like me," but it didn't fix me, or make this difficult trek any easier.  Maybe for a short season, but not much of one at all. 

I know, or rather I THINK I know, that a lot of people probably think I make it hard for myself.  I especially think that's so with some of those folks who I find myself looking at who seem to make this Jesus walk look like a simple one.  I don't think I actually believe that it IS a simple one, but that's the perception given off.  "Everything is good and happy in Jesus."  I mean, I think there are mountain tops, experiences, maybe even seasons where it feels like that, but in my heart of hearts I believe there are some pretty damn deep valleys in between.  Valleys, deserts, darkness - I don't think any walk of faith is without them.  

Now I think there is a division between the glass half full camp and the glass half empty, but then there is my little camp that says, "Look at that damn glass, it's got a crack, and there are hard water stains, and I think that water - that by no means is half full - looks like somebody backwashed in it."  Yeah that's me - and some folks think I just CHOOSE to see the world that way, but they'd be mistaken.  I have no Pollyanna in my DNA - I don't even have any Polly (unless you want to talk about her pie because I have been known to let a little of that into my DNA.)  I see the wrong in the world around me, it's like it's in neon and 3-D most of the time screaming out at me, and not only is it hard to see the forest through the trees, but I can't even see the leaves through the termites.  And all I can focus on is how things ought to be different.  

And when you live like that (the way I am made up) in your world and your world is the Church, that makes for a lot of struggle and complication.  I always feel like I am hitting up against one more wall.  And I just have to be honest with you, I'm worn out.  A lot of days I want to chuck the "whole thing, "throw in the towel." I'm not saying the Church isn't a good thing, I'm just saying I am really worn out and tired of trying to find my place in it. 

"No longer a Christian."  That is the thought I have had about myself a lot over the past couple of weeks.  When I think of the word "Christian," I think of two meanings: (1) a follower of Christ; and (2) a "little" (imitator of) Christ.  And I don't feel like either one of those definitions applies to me.  I don't feel like I see anything "Christ-like" in me anymore.  And I don't feel like I am following Him anywhere.  My description of my faith right now would be to say it's as though I am looking at the Father, and I am thinking to myself, "I see You, I know You, I just have nothing to say to You."  I'm not mad, I'm not backslidden (despite the old argument "if you aren't moving forward you're moving backward" - that's another thing I'm pretty fed up with, sound bite/ cliche Christianity.)  It's not even that I don't WANT to talk to the Father, I just have no idea what I would even say.  The reality is that the following Him and the reflecting Him go hand in hand, and it's because I don't feel like I AM following (or that He's actually leading anyway) that I am seemingly unable to even reflect Him at all.  

But I guess the reality is that my definition of "Christian" is actually inaccurate. And that I am a "Christian" just because however I feel about the walk, the talk, the struggle and even this "life," at the end of the day I know, believe, accept and rely on the fact that Jesus is in fact who He said He is, that HE died for me, and I confess Him with my mouth and I believe it in my heart...  I AM saved.  At the end of the day "MY Christianity" is about HIM, and Who He is and what He did and not at all about what my life, or my words or my attitudes, make-up or DNA even look like. It's not about me, it's about Him.  

Maybe this is some small part of what Paul meant when he told the Philippian church to "WORK out their salvation with fear and trembling."  WORK being the operative word here. Lord knows I find my salvation to be WORK.  Sometimes there is fear, sometimes even trembling, but for me, consistently, if not always it is - WORK.

I am grateful that the Lord is patient with me - He may well be the only One, but no matter what any other human reaction may be (to my blogs, to my words, my attitudes, my life), God has not grown weary with me.  And God, unlike any other human knows the truth of my love and relationship for and with Him.  It may NEVER look like peaches and cream to those in the world or Church (or church - little "c") around me, but perhaps there will be some hope found or offered in a relentless effort in me that though I may walk away from a lot of things, people, relationships, a church, a ministry, whatever, I hope and pray my heart that is so prone to wander will manage somehow to be steadfast and continually struggle for the faith that may not look pretty but will be thoroughly refined, worked hard and in the end perhaps have the strength that will survive the struggle and never walk away from Him. 

I hope so....  this is my prayer. 

My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my [a]soul.
Awake, harp and lyre;
I will awaken the dawn!
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens,
And Your truth reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
And Your glory above all the earth.
That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and answer me!

Psalm 108:1-6