Sunday, March 6, 2011

Without Words

"I just can't believe that is what God means.
I can't believe that is what God wants."

Cloaked in the comfort of a dark evening, words flowed, weaving the uneven rhythm of a searching heart. Stories of people with a law-based belief and people, who name God their own, but live like He is not; church pew Christians who leave God behind at the last Amen, and blend seamlessly with the world. He said, “It is a confusing message.”

I didn’t hear about what people said to him. I heard about what he saw.

"It is no use walking anywhere to preach
unless our walking is our preaching."
Francis of Assisi

Our testimony is WITHOUT WORDS.
We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered
from finding the Lord by the way we act,
and so no one can find fault with our ministry. 2 Chor. 6:3

He recognized something not right. Of that I am glad. I wondered though, has he ever seen enough of the real Jesus to fully understand a counterfeit?

His words urged me. Search.

How can we who call ourselves believers of God, Christians, lead people from the truth? How is it possible that we can give such an altered impression of God that people lose desire to know Him for themselves? How can I? Many times, my actions don't line up with my words.

I am on the worship team at church. I can think of more than one Sunday helping lead worship and wondering if my daughter might be thinking What a fake. It was difficult to remember the fight we had the day before or even that morning and then stand there and worship as if my heart were pure. Thankfully, worship purifies.

How about the new guy at work, who is developing a dislike for me because I am not very kind and patient with him. And then there is family. I wish I could look past my lack of grace toward my family. But I can't. Why is it so challenging for me to be loving, open and accepting with them? Lord have mercy.

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved
and those who are perishing. 2 Chor. 2:15

Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I get it wrong.
I don't want to hinder. I want to be a fragrance.
A fragrance Without Words.
For more impressions on this quote see our host Tami at The Next Step and Writing Canvas.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hide in Plain Sight

I knew when I typed. I wanted to make her real and It always costs me something in my last post, I was in for it.

Welcome to the tennis match of God's workshop. Into my orderly life He lobbed a seemingly innocent stint on stage followed by the cross court backhand of my friend's post The Best Way To Hide and rushed the net for the kill shot by throwing me into a situation I haven't allowed in years. Years!

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:1-4

I learned early to run to God's comfort and security. He is the only true and safe place when any of us face what is bigger than us. But, had I taken it to a professional level? Instead of hiding to dwell with Him, was I just hiding?

When it comes to acting, I work hard. If the character isn't real, people will not relate. A character without layers is not real. Thus my predicament. To achieve a depth of layers, I have to dig deep into my own. Trust me, they are many and deep and have been hidden for a long time. This is where the cost comes. When the script is placed back on the shelf, the pesky tools I dug around to find are not so easily returned. They demand the attention of reality stripped of any character I conjure in my imagination.

Our church Christmas program this year was about loss. I thought I had escaped digging into my past, when I was asked to be the Assistant Director. One night, we worked a key scene again and again. Everyone was exhausted and the actors, though amazing, were struggling to understand what the director wanted. I sat there on the front row, heart pounding, bargaining with God. Don't make me go there! Please, don't make me talk about it. I obeyed and forced my biggest skeleton out of hiding. Telling them what it felt like to have an unfaithful husband was as excrutiating that night as the day I found out. Although I was a mess for weeks, God replaced what I released with another healing step forward.

Compared to Christmas, I breezed through my next play even though God continued His relentless baseline volley. This time the lessons were offstage. I wanted to put the tools safely away. I wanted to say. Let the retreat begin! He said, No. You have to quit hiding it. If you want to be mine, you can't keep hiding from pain. You have to be willing to hurt again.

The ball is in my court. Now what am I going to do about it?
This is for me.

This is for you. Are there things you would rather hide? Please don't let me think I'm the only one. The ball is in your court. What do you want to do about it?