Luke 14:11 states: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” I can’t help but think of all the “duck lips” and selfies and derrieres I’ve seen within the past couple weeks or maybe years. People are proud. Proud of what? Their face? Their booty? A certain amount of self-confidence and a healthy dose of self-esteem is appropriate, sure. But I have to wonder: What are we constantly seeking? Approval? Compliments? Someone to notice how worthy we are of attention? As a whole, I think we are placing priority not on the God Who made us, but us.
I don’t want to exalt those who shouldn’t be, namely me. Anything I do is only because God allows me to do it. I have no talents that He hasn’t given me and until I have prayed about a situation, my ideas are limited at best. It’s not easy to live in this world and be set apart from it simultaneously. We were called to be renewed and transformed by the Word of God and some (I dare not say “most” for fear of my stomach turning) don’t even know what it says because the only time they open their Bible is on Sunday mornings, if they didn’t forget it at home. Ouch. That one stung me just a little bit, too.
It’s for that reason that for the next 30 days, I will be carrying a Bible with me. Anywhere I go, the Word of God will be readily available and at my fingertips, much like the smartphone I’m tired of eyeballing. I’ve come to a place where I need more God. More peace. More wisdom. More of anything He’s offering. “God30” begins tomorrow and I look forward to the insights I expect to receive. My priorities must shift. Instead of studying the “art of myself” and how to take the perfect selfie with ideal lighting in the greatest of angles, I’ll study anything the Creator Himself wants to point out each day. I can practice my Daffy Duck mouth another day.
So today I look up at God saying, I’m not strong enough. The pep talk I thought I might hear/feel (I don’t remember a time of auditorily hearing God) did not come. I believe He looked at me like I look at my kids when they need a fourth band aid for an invisible injury. Instead of “You can do this!! I’ve got your back! Goooooooo team!”
He says “I know.”
Not what I was expecting to say the least. And as I sit here typing, I feel so helpless and inadequate. I want to be filled with faith so badly and yet…I feel so bad.
I truly think I’ve been running from what God wants me to catch this trip around. Hence the Jonah study. Talk about a slap to the forehead moment. I’ve dealt with and lived through this chronic illness for lack of a better term (after 8 years, the doctors are still perplexed. Even House. I contacted him. Or maybe that was a dream…)
I use the word chronic because it is ongoing and yet there are breaks from it. Oh the good days/hours. However, I have done things through the bad days. I work, I pray, I travelled to Honduras and taught beautiful children some dance moves (not impressive moves at all, but the smiles were), I competed in a Bodybuilding/Physique competition, I raise children (the ones the doc told us to hold off on), and I cherish time.
In a way, I wouldn’t trade this journey for any other as it’s taught me to cherish. So when I look at God, stating obvious things like, “I’m not strong enough,” I hafta wonder if He sits there, in all His amazing, majestic glory and says: “Duh.”
I’m over it. I’m over listening to everyone else. How they think God wants them to do this. Or that. But certainly not that. Why, oh why, would he ever want me to do that?? Ugh. Get over yourselves. No really. Get over it. I am and I did. This is a journey I had to get real on. And by getting real, I mean more than posting pics of my latest haircut or color, or (Gasp!) Me without makeup. I mean turning the tv and the phone off. Really. All the way off. I started a journey to find God that day, fully convinced I would, yet somewhat “meh” about it. I needed to get “un-meh” about God again, so here’s what I did. I am beginning a personalized Meditation (notice the “t” is not a “c”) Challenge. For 30 days, I will meditate.
Now, if you’re about to quit reading already:
1. Go ahead. I gotta tell ya, I really couldn’t care less at this point. I told you I was over it and that’s what I mean.
2. Meditation is Biblical. Look it up.
3. I don’t have a number 3.
I’ve tried to meditate before but mainly just made a grocery list in my head and got distracted by the ticking of the clock. This time I am more determined. I feel like life is lacking something. The spiritual war going on in my head and body is as real as fat-free ice cream. It’s there. We don’t want it to be, but it’s there.
The challenge consists of 30 days of repeating your mantra/Scripture/God-thought 30 times. 30 days, 30 times per day. Now, the Bible states that we’re supposed to renew our minds and this seemed like a good way to do it. I also liked that if you missed a day…guess what. You start over. None o’ that namby-pamby “it’s-ok, just-try-again-tomorrow”crap for me. I love a good challenge. At least I used to. I’m indifferent at this point. Possibly leaning toward disgusted as well. I’m at a place where I’m either going to head to Honduras to hug small children or set something on fire here. (Don’t worry, I set things on fire all the time. And all of the things belong to me.)
I’m somewhat disgusted that other human beings feel they have something to teach me. I’m not saying I know it all, but I AM saying I feel a lot smarter than some. And people trying to tell me what God thinks is especially sticking me like an itchy t-shirt tag. So, tom it begins.
Jesus loves me this I know. Ahhhh….Jesus loves me even when I’m grouchy, unthankful, smart-alecky, misunderstood, forgettable, unforgettable in a bad way, moody, ugly, icky, stupid, boring, lacking, left-out, alone, stressed, worn out, exhausted, discouraged, unbelievable, loud, cowardly, messy, unprofessional, blah, bluh, bleh, critical, judgmental, unsatisfied, sarcastic, disgruntled, misled, unforgiving, atrocious, scared, melancholy, mediocre, messed-up, ill-tempered, mad, sad, overwhelmed. Jesus loves me. If I know nothing else, I know this…and that is everything.
As it turns out, you can give up some things in your life and still not grow any closer to God without an honest effort. I have been off Facebook for 18 days now, (not that I’m counting, I just noticed the date…I truly haven’t missed the noise of everyone else’s random thoughts.) and just realized I’ve spent only some, and by some I mean a few hours, if that, with God. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful, serene, let’s-hear-from-God-time. Without that determined effort, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, there will always be yet another distraction that can take the place of quality time with the Creator.
I’ve been trying to breathe. Literally and figuratively. I get to a point where it’s easier not to breathe. My body sometimes thinks it takes too much energy and effort. So I just stop for a bit. A few seconds as if to allow my body time to catch up. I just stop. And the world doesn’t. It continues. There is no medical team rushing in as a machine beeps, there’s no concerned loved ones thwacking me, it’s just me and God. And a reminder that I will live the abundant life and that His promises are forever true and always there. My prayer today is for those who don’t feel like they can go on, who feel like they can’t do enough. Maybe not breathing isn’t the answer, in fact, I’m almost sure it isn’t, but taking the time to breathe in and out and just knowing that the God Who created you loves you, is the answer. Search no more, child, here He is. In your midst, all-knowing and ever-faithful.
So here I sit. I want to be lying on the couch, watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, feeling guilty about watching Grey’s Anatomy, but here I sit. I’m a wallower at times. This is what I’m learning. I like to wallow in my “sorrow” whatever it may be and some days, I’ll make it up. The postman will give me “a look” or a passerby won’t smile and I’ll stomp like a 3 year old in my mind and give a “HMMMMPH!” in true, snotty princess fashion. Then I dwell. I dwell there like it’s my couch when Grey’s Anatomy is on. (I literally just started watching this show less than 2 months ago and like any good nighttime soap opera, it sucked me in.) In true fleshy, human fashion, I like to dwell and mentally rehearse situations over and over ad nauseum in my head until I can’t possibly stand to think about it anymore for at least 14 days. I’ve also been in some sort of revert pattern where I block out anything that I should do and blatantly choose to do something I want to do instead. I wonder if it’s a mom thing. For instance, instead of buying toilet paper, I buy a new lipstick. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I already have lipstick.) I rebel against myself. It’s not helpful to my, oh say, life. I find myself behaving like a 17-year-old, shrugging my shoulders, shaking my head, upper lip jutted more than Jagger’s, stating defiantly, “I don’t have to do that. There’s no way I’m gonna do that.” It’s all-encompassing and selfish and I am resentful. I don’t get to live the life I want right now. I get tired. And I hurt. And I don’t get to do everything I want to do. I don’t even have the energy at times to stomp like that 3 year old. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe, on some level it will help someone. Sometimes you feel like you’re in the boat alone, but in reality, it’s a packed cruise liner. I’ve gotta be really honest and say I hope it does, but I don’t care if it doesn’t. (It’s my blog and I get to make it about me whenever I want.) God’s bringing me through some stuff. I don’t really want to learn anything new right now. I’m fighting him the whole way at this point. I wanna get sucked in to McDreamy’s next surgery and Korev’s childhood issues instead of dealing with my own. And truly, something in my heart just got set free. I think maybe because I was honest with myself about my own idiotic, scowling selfishness. I gave it a name as I heard a therapist, possibly on Grey’s Anatomy say. Maybe now I get to shake it off. Day 6 of God30 and I might be on my way to enlightenment. The 17-year-old who seems to be living inside me gives a sarcastic eye roll.
Man I wish I had time to write. My teachers and parents succeeded, I guess, in instilling the importance of reading and writing. I can’t get enough. If I had a week, I’d lay/sit around, reading and writing. Waiting for the breath of God to flow down and rejuvenate. There is nothing greater than the presence of God. And by Tuesday, I’ve forgotten what it feels like. Sunday was amazingly great, worshipping with 100s of fellow believers, Monday was reality when schedules change and nothing is as planned, and Tuesday is begging for a refresher in God 101. So as I sit typing like a madwoman before my kids discover I’m in the den, I ask God to come down and renew me in the next 3 minutes, as that’s how much Curious George is left. I have dishes to wash, clothes to clean, and training to do. I have work and plans and dinner to fix. I have money to make and lives to change and I don’t have time to not have any God. I’m doing my best to ignore any symptoms that inevitably come up. I’m trying my best to let go of hurts that people have caused because I know this is not conducive to healing. The mercy we show others is the direct line of mercy we will be shown. I feel like I need my brain replaced some days, to erase what I don’t want and to start fresh. While typing that I think of the guy on 50 First Dates in the institution who introduces himself every few seconds…I’m pretty sure that’s not a good plan either. How do we get into the presence of God when the busy-ness of life consumes?