Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Not So Excited: When I Didn't Walk the Talk

Tonight I take my latest essay for my church newsletter and share it with you, my blog readers. If you are one and the same, I apologize for the preview, but I wanted to get this message out. I need to hear it - again - tonight - and perhaps every night for a while as I go through some very dark nights of the soul. 
Not So Excited: When I Didn't Walk the Talk (for my church newsletter, May 2013)

I was growing desperate for this month’s Visionotes essay topic and when I listened to Pastor's sermon tonight, I knew what to do. I knew when he finished speaking that I wanted to write about the amazing love Jesus had, first, for us.  

“Amazing love…how can it be…that You, my King, should die for me…” (Amazing Love, lyrics by Billy James Foote)

Oh, the moment was palpably exciting. I sat in the sanctuary dreaming of an essay that perfectly painted the marvelous love of Jesus Christ, with words so poetic and touching that the pained and hardened hearts would be set free and realize the Gospel truth of Jesus’ unfathomable love for us. Yes, I got goose-bumps imagining how magnificent this would all be.

And then I came home.

And I failed. Epically.

I lost my cool, spoke sharp daggers at loved ones in a moment of mounting stress.

It was as if all the truth I had just absorbed at church leaked out of me like a sieve and all that remained was a puddled mess of tears.

So did the truth leave me or was God giving me an opportunity to live out this truth?

Tonight, beloved family pressed all my buttons, my nerves felt raw and exposed, the moment slammed me to a shattered halt and all I did was epically fail at loving.

I was so ashamed of my behavior that I hid in my bedroom, not unlike my cat after she pukes on the living room carpet. You just know when you've done wrong.

But upon reflection (and suitable apologies to loved ones) I wonder if – through my failure – the truth of Jesus’ love didn't shine all the more. Because look:

I am now writing about a very real instance of a very real failing and a very real God loving me in a way that only God can.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31

And so we come full circle to me excitedly telling you about Jesus’ marvelous love. Only… I just got off my knees from being in the dirt instead of a place of happily writing at my kitchen table, pen dancing merrily across paper with precise poetry and literary greatness.

Instead, I broke.

Brokenness intrigues and baffles me. I long to read and write about it, for us all to take off our well-positioned masks and reveal just how in need of a Savior we really are.

Brokenness excites me.

But not my brokenness.

Know the feeling?

The topic of the world’s broken pieces fascinates me, but put me in my bedroom hiding from my guilt and shame, and I’m not so eager.

But these essays are meant to be a sharing of the footsteps I follow and the prints I leave behind. And if I can’t fall down, believe I am still worthy of this Love, and get back up with repentance and gratitude, how can I tell you to do such a thing?

I can’t tie this essay up in a pretty bow. Speaking as a writer, there will be no “concluding paragraph” because there is nothing “concluding” about my human failure, frailty, and need.

So I said I wanted to write an essay that softened the pained and hard-hearted.

God has made this piece of paper my mirror.


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