God gets my attention in interesting ways. Sometimes it’s through what someone says or does. Sometimes it’s a movie. Sometimes nature. Most of the time, it’s a book. I’ll be sitting there, innocently reading, and the next thing I know, good ol’ HS is tugging at my heart. (HS= Holy Spirit 😉 )

One of the things that I have been worried about lately is my growth in certain areas. I know that it’s not unusual to have a “two steps forward, one step back” approach to…well, life. But sometimes I wonder if I ever really moved at all. Because the same things keep tripping me up. Whether it’s a fear or thought process or just outright sin. I’ll think that I’ve finally moved past it and the next thing I know, I’m flat on my face again.

I know that one of the things resurfaced lately because I didn’t deal with it properly the first time. Or, uh, the second time. It started to become too much and so I shut down and stopped dealing with it. I distracted myself and didn’t dwell on it. But this time, I plan on dealing with it fully. I want to be over this. I don’t want it to haunt my dreams. I don’t want it to paralyze me. I want to be free. Maybe I’ll never be completely free but I want to be more free than I am now. Because right now, it feels like it will overtake me.

Then there’s just my general fear/hatred of men. Sometimes I truly think that I am getting over it. Then something will happen and all my “progress” will come crashing to the floor. Leaving me to clean up the mess without so much as a broom. I want to be healed. I want to be able to remember not all men are jerks. Not all men use and abuse. Not all men use their strength for doing wrong. But all men *are* made in His image, just like me.

I also want to be able to lower my mask. I want to let people see more than my eyes peeking over the wall at them. It’s hard to “love your neighbor as yourself” when you’re so afraid that they’ll hurt you, you don’t let them in. I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired of hating. I’m tired of not knowing peace. Peace with God. Peace with my fellow man. Peace with myself. I want to be defined by love. Not an easy thing to do when you’re shooting daggers at half the human race.

So as I sit on the couch reading, all of these thoughts and struggles warring in my head, I read these words written by N.T. Wright.

“How do you cope when the world is out of joint? When your world is out of joint? When people you love are at odds with one another or with you? When you can see people, perhaps people you care for very deeply, going off in the wrong direction while claiming that it’s you that’s heading the wrong way? The temptation is either to yell at people, or back off and sulk in a corner. That’s not the way of being Paul….But what does it mean to be Paul in such situations? It means thinking into the problem and the pain of the situation you face, even if that means allowing some of your own raw nerves, some of your own vulnerability, to be exposed. It means being weak in order to be strong. We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least pretending to appear, strong, in order not to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. What is our calling, then? We are called, simply, to hold on to Christ and his cross with one hand, with all out might, and to hold on to those we are givn to love with the other hand, with all our might, with courage, humour, self-abandonment, creativity, flair, tears, silence, sympathy, gentleness, flexibility, Christlikeness. When we find their tears becoming our won, we may know that healing has begun to happen; when they find Christ in being held on to by us, whether we realize it or not, we are proving the truth of what Paul said: God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, so that in him we might embody the saving faithfulness of God……You will never meet anybody, and you will never meet any group of people, that does not need healing in some respect or other; and God will see to it, whether you realize it or not, that their pain and yours are often remarkably similar, so that all you may have to do, to share the work of Christ the healer, is to hold on and pray in silent sympathy….Whatever skills God has given you, be prepared to use them as instruments of the gospel.”

Wow. I can’t do that and hold on to my anger. I can’t be used by God if half the people I “minister” to I automatically don’t trust. I can’t be Christ to anyone unless I am healed of this and step forward with determination, realizing that I will mess up and I will get hurt. But I can’t do it if I rely on myself. It has to be Him. Because I’ve tried the other way and it just doesn’t work. 🙂

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