I had a conversation with a young man last week that left me feeling a bit queasy.
His question made me contemplate labels and definitions, and quite frankly led me to reconsider what it is I truly believe.
So many of my opinions have been shaded by the shadows of others; people who I subscribe to as experts, or who I think have more moxie than me. Practically everyone has fallen into this category for me, to be honest. I've wanted my self to become imaginary, picking up pixie dust and sprinkling it over my head. If I could choose any superpower I have said I want to be invisible because being me has simply seemed too scary.
Learning is something I've done with great passion and attentiveness. Not math learning or history from books, but the kind that would make me wise and better than I am. Improving myself was for so long a constant preoccupation and quite frankly, a sickly obsession. I have a close friend who says I know myself better than anyone she knows. Her comment is no longer something I am proud of, as it wreaks with such a putrid stench of self idolization.
I felt like I was dying a long, slow, gruesome death that leaves holes in the chest.
A gutting out was the way I described it. Shame came hot and heavy and my eyes burned at the sight while my nostrils flared, overwhelmed by what I tried to portray as good when the truth was hidden deep within me. Pride is downright disgusting and too unbearable to face.
Slowly, I began to discover what love is and how it has absolutely nothing to do with what I do.
I could abort, abandon, and have an affair. Or, I could atone, accept, and be all there. Regardless, no choice would be too far or too short from His grip and truly, no-conditions kind of love. I believe this because I've chosen some of this and amazingly I've lived to tell the story.
And here is where the power of grace lies.
Truth that miracles really do exist . . .
Proof points, because I'm not that good at making things up.
I can't always pull out of the Bible and find where it talks about this or that kind of issue. And when I can, it doesn't mean that I can theologically explain its connection or relevance. I live a lot by what some may say is feeling or intuition, while to me it's really more like a leading. I have chosen to recognize the stirring and tugging I sense within me as Holy. I believe God took up residence within me from the moment He chose to make me. This is my choice, to believe; a choice that simply and profoundly wrecks me every. single. day.
My life is full of pain as I slowly learn to loose control and grow in my capacity to trust The Maker of me and all of this blessed world. Because, my comfort is often what I want more than doing the thing that I know is most right.
My life is admittedly a lot of the time all about me.
When I chose this kind of life, to say less of me, more of you, and uttered the dangerous words: Any. Thing., I had no idea what kind of crazy I was speaking and what the translation of that seemingly understandable and simple language really means. I had no idea that every single thing about my life would be tipped upside down, and over, and inside out, and spun around and around again.
I came crashing to the floor, smashing both my mouth and my face while I bled from the inside out all over the place.
I still have lots of bruises hidden underneath the surface of the pretty my life sometimes makes. What might appear as easy or intense is so much more than anyone could ever possibly guess.
When people pray prayers like change me and heal me, they need to be prepared for what it really might entail. Because it isn't so much the circumstance He wants to fix, it's radical sight He wants to bless us with as He changes us.
And in seeing, we can never go back. We're for. ever. changed.
There is a tremendous a price for this. Habits that were familiar become a challenge to break, friends are sometimes hard to keep, and what was once a good choice suddenly becomes a throw-out-the-window type of thing, for the wholeness and health of our self. What was comfortable becomes clunky as we learn what it means to truly live.
I've found peace that comes when I do the very thing that niggles at me and makes me on edge; when I finger point the ache in my shoulder right where it hurts and stab it to speak of why it feels this way. Confession oozes out in the poking and prodding and miraculously, ribbons of healing cascade down and around through the cavernous places of my soul.
It sounds anything but what Holy-like pictures have painted glory to be.
All this dying is something I thought was done and over, yet here I am facing it myself and I think: didn't someone else already to that for me? are you serious about this?!
The joy that comes in the new of my sight is overwhelming. I even thought it to be too much and said: what am I supposed to do now, and with this?
Be still, the prompting told my soul.
Eat this moment, as it is.
And then come here, into this moment.
See my glory. And don't leave.
And then, GO.
So I took and I ate. And I gave thanks. And there I saw . . . beauty splashed across the dark.
I decided that there is no where else I'd rather be than here, in this place where all Glory be.
There isn't a definition that works for me to describe how my life is, other than to say I've been transformed and I've been given sight to See.
I challenge anyone to take the leap.
Decide to live for Him and See.
The description of being a Christian is too complicated and confusing for most. It raises more questions than provides answers, and that makes me sad.
In thinking about the journey that brought me to where I am, it's more personal than any brand or name. It's a pull-up-the-chair-and-lets-talk-over-tea kind of thing. Be prepared for me to share all the juicy details and let me warn you, I won't be in the least bit brief.
I'm learning to accept me -- as. I. am. -- and truly, that's no small thing.
I ache with an impatient restlessness for big visions that make no sense for today. They seem ridiculous to say the least. Foolish and perhaps even a waste. Yet, I can't shake them and I can't explain them away; they simply are -- as. they. are. -- and I've found that to even try to denounce them makes me sicker than sick.
So when a college kid tells me all matter of factly that he's gay, and he's obviously troubled at accusations that he won't go to Heaven, and he asks me what I believe . . . next time, I'm just going to say: Grace. The kind that loves us, as. we. are.
And then I'm going to invite him to pull up a chair, and sit awhile, and maybe, just maybe he'll encounter the One who made Him, as I share with him these very Real and humbling truths:
Love bowled me over . . . wrecked my every being.
And, I sin just like anyone sins.
What I do isn't any bigger or less than anything you do,
and I'm certainly not any better than you.
I make myself sick at the habits that I can't seem to break
. . . and I have only a glimpse at my piousness and hypocrisy.
Your struggle is your struggle, yet you resemble so much of myself and my struggles.
And then I'll sit back and listen. I'll hear the flow of the blood in the beat of a human heart.
I'm not saying I'm a Christian again.