I’ve decided to write an article on where I am right now in my life. After all, we mustn’t forget this blog is entitled, “Journal of a Sinner.” I want to acknowledge to you guys that I too, experience those annoying and reoccurring battles of sin every day. And also, I experience seasons of utter discouragement and even deep sadness. I have a sneaking suspicion that because I have a God-given passion and an intense necessity to study and write about deep biblical truths – there may be a misconception about me. This misguided view sometimes causes this writer to feel alone. After all, when everyone thinks I have it “all together,” who comforts and encourages the encourager? If you guys have decided in your heart that I have all the answers, then certainly, I have nowhere to turn (humanly speaking) when I am disheartened. This article is not about a pity party, rather, an honest discussion of my (and probably many others,) Christian journey.
You have probably figured out by now that what I say or write (whether speaking to a group of people, an article on my blog or a post on social media), is predictably, consistent with a fervent quest for sharing spiritual truths. This energy, however, brings much risk and heartache. What do I mean by “risk?” You see, what I have found to be startling, is that speaking about these things, surfaces visible and even invisible wedges between myself, colleagues, friendships, and family. This was not the case before I obeyed the voice of the Lord. Nonetheless, Christ did say,
“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but conflict. I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own family. The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me doesn’t deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Mat 10:34-40
Additionally, I can relate more now with Jeremiah (in the Old Testament) than ever before. God put things on his heart and required him to speak His message to the people. These messages were not “food for thought” types of messages. As a result, Jeremiah had to face the negative consequences from his peers. Look what he wrote to God in response,
“O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughing stock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision (ridicule, mockery, taunting) all day long. If I say, “I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
I cannot express my emotional state any better than that. I have said in my heart many times…I will not write about this, nor will I talk about it. Also, I have said, I will not open God’s Word today because if I do –it will unravel another urge to speak it or shout it or write it. (As though I can actually say “No” to God.) The crux of the matter is – just as Jeremiah said, “…there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in.” I am realizing that it really doesn’t matter whether I try to avoid the subject or not- I can’t. Unless I’m perfectly fine with walking around full of baby elephant. 😕 The sad thing is – looking at the book of Jeremiah, we see that his criticizers came from within the church. I certainly feel the coolness predominately coming from within the church. Isn’t this so discouraging? We expect outsiders to reject us but to experience what Jesus, the disciples and the majority of all the radical followers of Christ experienced for thousands of years, is eye-opening. Some things never change.
There are days I wake up and decide, I will not open the Word of God because I just can’t take the overload of data. I know that sounds crazy but this is how it is for me. I am so overwhelmed by what is pouring in. I’ve prayed over the last ten years for understanding, wisdom and discernment but obviously I did not pray for the integration, sorting and processing part. I feel like part of this problem comes from not seeking God enough to help me communicate plainly and thoroughly to you guys, whether by word or by my writing. So please pray that God will take all this information He has given, that is crammed in the small space of my brain and use it to glorify Him – eventually. Right now, I’m just an overflowing well with no bucket.
The other day, I was talking to my boys about being compliant and how it is a good thing. I explained the proper order though, obedience to God first, and then to the authority figures we have in our lives. On the other hand, I had to break the news that being dutiful is not always a good quality or a Godly characteristic. For example – if their friends want them to participate in vandalism, using dangerous substances or harming others; being more devoted to the friendship than God is not good. They understood these things. However, the thought of losing people and friendships that they value, because they stand for righteousness as being a real possibility, was discouraging to them. One of my sons said, “But Mama, you have lots of friends and people,” and I said, “Really? Are you sure about that? And both of the boys became quiet. Obviously I have friends – but the truth is….the more I release the “fire shut-up in my bones” as Jeremiah so eloquently phrased it, the more I do not. Do you understand this? Loss is a very real and tangible epidemic in the life of one who tries to do right by God. This loss doesn’t just happen once in one fail-swoop but over and over. Day by day, thin layers of this world are gently being removed by the Master. And yet other times, we sense His aggressive precision as he surgically divides us from those massive glacial islands. And all that remains in us, for a time, is that resounding and deafening crash.
Placing our hope in Him and Him alone has never become so apparent.