Friday, January 29, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Brutal Honesty... Introduction
Brutal Honesty...Part I
On a very practical level, the emotional reactions are anxiety and worry - the "typical" stress over anything unexpected. I tend to worry if plans fall through, if everything I have precisely laid out on my calendar gets jumbled up due to the unexpected, and my stress level skyrockets when I'm faced with not knowing what's next on the short or long-term agenda. This fear of the unknown manifests itself in panic, pouring all of my energy into planning as much as possible down to the most minute detail, and then being completely reactionary when things don't follow my expectations. I have this constant desire, dare I say need, to have all events planned for and feel like I must have a handle on things. The more I have a firm grip on things, the more I can dictate the outcome and not be thrown off guard by anything unanticipated.
So what is this desire, this need to be in control of the events in my life, whether big or small? Is it merely just me being organized and wanting to keep things in order, or is there something deeper triggering these continual patterns of anxiety and worry? Feeling anxiety over the unexpected is natural and normal...right?
“Woe to him who strives with Him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to Him who forms it, ‘What are You making?’or ‘Your work has no handles’?" (Isaiah 45:9)
The truth of the matter is...I don't trust the One who provides and sustains. I want to be the one in control rather than being molded by the Potter. I don't trust that He knows the future, the plans and all of the outcomes.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
BRUTAL HONESTY - I don't actually read my Bible. Therefore, especially in those moments when I need it most, I don't remember it and don't really believe.
Yes, you read correctly... I don't read my Bible on any consistent basis. I have not committed my heart, my thoughts, my attention to reading. I could easily take pride in the vast amount of attention I have given to reading the greatest books on theology, the church fathers, biblical counseling, and even ones on the very topic of devotion! But not the Bible. When someone asks me questions like, "Why did Christ die?" or "If God is so good, why is there evil in the world?" I am quick to spout off something else I've read about what Scripture says. My initial and heartfelt response is not:
Rather than reading and unpacking such incredible, glorious truth from Scripture (take a moment to read that passage - it is packed with the truth of our hope and assurance!), I revert to other sources that will hopefully impress people and make me sound like I know what I'm talking about. I skim through my mental bookshelf and pick out what sounds best for the situation or topic at hand.
Then, on an even more personal note, when I have gone through a difficult time in recent months, my own "dark night of the soul," I have found myself empty...empty of joy, attempting to draw from a dry well that has not been filled with the water that quenches my thirst and satisfies my weary soul.
BEAUTIFUL REALITY -
and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
What does He promise if I simply come to Him? He promises to satisfy my longing, to bring real and lasting comfort to an otherwise anxious heart. He is the hope and joy and source of salvation I am so quick to proclaim, yet I have failed to believe in the middle of a mediocre workday or when all good seems lost from a difficult situation. I have had to ask myself a very hard and honest question: do I really believe what I say I believe? Whether I am counseling other women, or lying awake at night with my mind racing, do I really believe?
I have not believed because I have not drawn near to Him. I have not devoted my heart and mind to that which was written for me, for you, for the Church. Should I be terribly surprised at how I feel and what the honest status of relationship is with Him if I have not been drawing from the well of living water? Is it any wonder that I am so prone to doubt and worry if I am not pouring over Scripture as one satisfying herself with rich food and healing balm? This has been a significant realization for me: my Father delights to do me good! And the more I know Him, the more I will see and really believe and accept the good He is doing even when I am oblivious to it.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I was given a strong dose of brutal honesty a couple of weeks ago when my husband and I had a very candid conversation about where I am in my relationship with the Lord. After becoming so comfortable with relying on the wisdom and teaching of others, I was faced with the painful truth that my relationship with God has lacked any real intimacy; I have become more content in relying on the words of men rather than relying on Him. And while godly influences are good and encouraging, I had to confess that I have become increasingly less dependent on God Himself. Even good things can so easily become idols, taking over His rightful place on the throne in our hearts. This lacking of real intimacy and trust has very practical implications, ones that are difficult for me to admit, which leads me to this post...
I will be devoting the next several posts here to a four-part series on this "Brutal Honesty, Beautiful Reality" I have been grappling with in recent days. It is much easier to vaguely admit that we are all sinners rather than seeking real heart transformation and repentance that only come after specific confession of specific sin. Even I, a young woman who has been in wonderful churches and who has now received a masters degree from a leading seminary, need to be faced with the bitter reality of my own sin so that I might taste once again the sweetness of being satisfied in Christ alone. You might be shocked, you might be encouraged; I have no idea how people perceive me on a daily practical level. My hope is the latter, that you will be encouraged and compelled to examine your own heart, asking yourself the questions that might be difficult to face depending on where you are really at in your own relationship with Him.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
my best friend, the one I'd rather stay up into the late hours talking with more than anyone else,
my groom, the one who is wholeheartedly committed to reflecting the love Christ has for His Bride,
the man who aims for my joy in Christ over earthly comforts,
the man who reminds me that I was created by the One who has named me His daughter...
I so often lose sight of who I am in Christ, but God in His love and grace has given me a husband who continually helps me to remember.
Monday, January 04, 2010
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,