Sunday, March 2, 2008

Normally It's Easy

I'm sitting here trying to find my anchor, but there just isn't anything jumping out from the depths of my gut dying to be put down on paper. I thought I'd write about my dad and his cancer, but that really just depresses me; at least right now, when he's in the hospital with a bad bacterial infection. I could talk about my 19 year old cousin who knocked up his 17 year old girlfriend, and is getting married in April in Georgia, but that just frustrates me. Then there is a myriad of rants I could go off on, but none of them seem all that pressing today. It's not that I have nothing to talk about. Really, I think I have too much to talk about and can't gather my thoughts enough to formulate any one good opinion. I thought about not writing about anything, but then what help would that be to my jumbled mind? Maybe by rambling on, my mind can somehow find a way to organize these thoughts, like spring cleaning of the mind. Most of the time, that is how I pray. I simply spill out all my thoughts and feelings and allow God is make sense of them. After all, He knows me better than I know myself. Normally, I end my time feeling refreshed and, for a moment, clear and free. Isn't it weird how our minds can often feel like a junk drawer? Now if you're like my friend Jen, you might not know what a junk drawer would look like. But I grew up with them. It's the place you put everything that doesn't have a place. I remember in my mom's old house, used to be my house when I can little, we had this drawer under the microwave that was an absolute pit. I think, buried in it's depths, was some sort of plastic drawer organizer, but you wouldn't know it by all the papers, batteries, clips, pens, old McDonalds toys, and such piled so high you had to hold them down to get the drawer to open. That's what my mind feels like lately. I guess it's time for a little spring cleaning. But how does one do that? How can you put things out of your mind? The more I try to not think about something, the more it consumes me. But there is this theory; the best way to really rid your mind of something is to just think of something else. There is a fatal flaw in this theory though. It's not really throwing anything out, it's just adding to the clutter in the drawer, piling it high, creating more of a mess. But atleast the drawer closes right? So no one can see the disaster inside?

Maybe I found a rant afterall. Junk drawers are , by very nature, vehicles we use to fool unsuspecting onlookers. When I invite someone to come over, I thoroughly clean any area I think the guest may be able to see. Where my living room, dining room, guest bath, and even Owen's room may be spotless, my bedroom may be a disaster and heaven forbid they open a drawer in the kitchen, or door on the desk. We clean up nicely when we know people are looking; judging. When I have company, I might go all day in my pajamas, hair up in a tangled ponytail, and absolutely no make up, but an hour before arrival time, I jump into the shower, freshen up, and make it look as though I am always dressed this way. Funny how, if you know me at all, I almost never wear make-up or dress up properly, but there is something different about having guests into your home. It's almost like preparing for a performance. Isn't that what life is for us...a performance. What we look like on the outside determines our place in this world. So of course, we shove all the bad stuff into our junk drawers, put on a smile and some mascara and pretend to be "real." But are we? My old boss, when interviewing me, said that one of the things he admired about me was how genuine and honest I was. I, of course, thanked him with a shy smile, while the entire time thinking, "if only he knew what went on in my mind." Sometimes I think my "realness" is more a defense mechanism than it's is a blessed gift. If I seem real and open then maybe no one will continue the search into the depths that is me. Maybe they won't look in my junk drawer and discover my fears, insecurities, or sins. I can admit that one of greatest fears, besides being in a plane crash, is being revealed for as a phony, a fraud. I wonder is anyone really knows me. I think that's what I like so much about Jesus. He already knows all my flaws and still considers me his friend. I don't know many people that would share those sentiments, none at all actually. People judge. I judge. I don't like to admit I do, and to be honest, I'd rather not, but I do. I stereotype, I gossip, I prejudge, I assume, I jump to conclusions...I'm flawed, fatally flawed. There I said it, I admitted it, but notice how I'm not specific? This is not my confessional. Luckily I don't have to go to confession or tell the world my sins, just the One who cared enough to die for them. But not only did He die, but he rose again. I think a lot of Christians miss that point all together. Jesus died, paying the ultimate price, so we could relate again to God. But he didn't stop there, he then came back to life, defeating death and sin, so that we could live eternally, or at least our souls could. Now, don't go asking me any deep theological questions about how that works. My mind could not even begin to grasp what heaven is like. But I trust it's there, and I trust there's a hell, or eternal separation from God, and I know where I want to be. So often, people think being a Christian is just about having a "get out of hell free card" so you can do whatever you want then judge everybody else who don't jump on the "heaven train." But that's not it at all. It drives me crazy, and I mean crazy, when I hear people tell stories about how they were looked down on because of what they looked like or what they had done or still do. Church isn't a place for good people to go and sing cutsy praise songs. It's a place for broken people to be healed, and we're all broken. I know I am. Church isn't a place where dogooders congregate and "pray" for all the evil people of the world, like Hillary Clinton (sorry, had to slip that in there). It's a place where we who know the truth praise the God who showers his grace and mercy on us; a God who doens't give us what we deserve, but gives us what we don't deserve. It's a place where we gather, not to judge the world, but to love those in it, where we provide shelter and safety to anyone who needs it regardless of what is in their junk drawer. The church is God's chosen vehicle to show love to the world, to shine light in darkness. Right now, I think, as a whole, we're doing a pretty crummy job. But what can be done? I'm just one person. That's no excuse is it. Time and time again, God took one person, normally one who was not so special in the world's eye, and literally changed the world. Our Great King, for example, came to this earth in swaddling clothing, humbling himself to stoop to our level. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Philipians 2:5-8. Jesus didn't sit on a pedastal and judge us. He decided it would be better to love us, to serve us, and to die for us.

Wow, I went from one rant to another. I didn't even realize I was so passionate about this stuff. It always amazes me where I end up when I start writing in rambles. I even learned something myself.


Emily said...

Wow, I feel very convicted. Now there are some seriously heavy thoughts for a Monday morning. I think I need to "clean out my junk drawers." (both literally and figuratively.)

Becca said...

If only everyone had such passionate truths as you, the world (and the Church) would be a better place.
I respect and admire your words here.