Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Reverence

Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth
so let your words be few.
As a dream comes when there are many cares,
so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

Ecclesiastes 5:11

I read Ecclesiastes this morning. I've never read it, I don't think. Some of the passages were familiar, and the most well-known verse about the "time for every purpose under heaven..." stuff was the one keeping me away. I just can't stand the repetitiveness of that song, turn, turn, turn...ugh.

But, I needed the wisdom of Solomon and I just couldn't start in with those Proverbs. Great and profound stuff mind you, but my goodness you can only take it in small bites. Not a meal. And, today, I needed a meal.

I've been a bit petulant lately. Okay, okay...not "a bit" a whole lot!

I've been feeling like I'm a bench warmer. When did I leave the game? I was on track, God's wind blowing into my sails, and I was on point.

But, something's happened over the past year and now I'm starting to see it as a transformation of me as a person. God's working on me to make me the person he wants me to be. Unfortunately, I'm still struggling to see it that way. Intellectually I can grasp what he's doing. Emotionally, I feel slapped down.

I've been seeing it as: This is not fair! I'm a player, for cryin' out loud, not someone's who's accustomed to being a bench blanket. I count! I can play! I need to be used!

All the while I sit and watch while God infuses his magnificence into everyone else's lives, and leaves me as an inert member of the team, watching...painfully watching as others utilize their talents for his glory and I sit back and wait for the call that doesn't come.

When I really get going on my little pity party about how God is weaving his Kingdom with everyone else's thread and not mine I can attribute it to my lack of youth or increased weight. If only I were thinner and younger, then I could make a difference, then he'd use me, then others would allow me to join in the game. I am shunned because of time and appearance. (You can see how dangerous it is when we allow the "woe is me" festival to continue--of course, it manifests differently for all of us, your issue may not be age or weight, but we all have chinks in our armor that the enemy will utilize given the chance.)

My father will be 80 years old in August and he is currently building a restaurant empire. When he was 50 he built a business from the ground up that made him his first million. At 32 he fathered me (in an age where 30 was considered over the hill). Now, if anything can teach me age is definitely not an issue, it's watching my dad.

And, the extra pounds? Man, it's hard to lose weight. I work out every day. I eat healthfully. I limit my intake. I'm trying to get the dose on my thyroid meds figured out. It's just plain tough, but I'm not giving up. But it's hard.

And so today I'm practicing more reverence and less petulance. Understanding that sometimes we're the main players and sometimes we support the main players, but it's all for the good of the kingdom and the advancement of the kingdom.

Mostly, I'm trying to become what God wants me to be, not getting God to support who I am.

Friday, May 8, 2009


So I volunteered in son's class. He was excited to see me arrive on the playground in the heat of the day, and met me with a sweaty hug and big sloppy kiss. As he fell into line to head back into the classroom, he grabbed my hand with his big paw, and pulled me with him, "C'mon, Mom, c'mahhhn." The heat doesn't slow the little ones.

As my body met the cool air of the building, son's little classmate Elsie fell into my legs and then others who knew me greeted me with the Kindergarten hug. I think that's the last year they do that. In First Grade they don't need that reassurance. But in Kindergarten they're still mushy and needy little creatures.

Elsie caught me later. "Come, do the book with me." I patted her curly brown hair and said, "I can help you a little, but I'm here to help everyone."

She wouldn't take no for an answer. She tugged at my sleeve and after trying to pull away a few times to work with the other kids including my own son, I ended up helping her write her latest publication, "The Hungry Kindergartener."

When next she insisted I take up a wand and help her read the room, I realized I wasn't going to spend time with any other kids that day. Elsie needed me. She needed someone. She needed attention.

So I gave it to her.

Son's teacher later let me know that Elsie didn't have a mom, and so she clung on to subsitutes in various forms at school.

Of course, as a mom myself, that devastates me. And, at the same time, I'm worried that one of the few times I get to volunteer in son's class, I didn't spend any time with him.

But, son was fine. His Center that day was Legos with his best friend Rialto. Occasionally, he'd come over and show me a speed boat or jet fighter he'd fashioned from the bold colored pieces, but he seemed content to work with Rialto and let me spend time with Elsie.

Maybe on some level he understood that she needed my attention, too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Miss Understood

Have you every been misunderstood?

Have you ever gone along with it just because it's easier to let someone believe a falsehood than it is to change their mind?

One time I made a comment to a friend about how I would not show violent films to his kids while they were in my house. I knew it was an issue for him. I was being earnest. He thought I was being bratty. He made a joke of it.

I tried to tell him I was being sensitive, yet he firmly held the belief that I was bratty. To convince him otherwise fell on deaf ears. So, it was easier for me to let him think I was being a bratty sister in Christ rather than try to persuade him that I really cared about his beliefs.

That happens to me all the time. Not just every so often, but I would say about ONCE A DAY. Regularly.

Today the sermon touched on Jesus' teaching that we need to make things right with people who are angry with us, regardless of...anything. If someone is angry with you, you have a duty to make it right.

Tough concept. Tougher implementation.

I have this friend who thinks I'm probably the rudest person on the planet. We don't speak anymore because he and his family went to another church and are in a different Life Group, and run in different circles. Not a blowout, no angry words or last goodbyes. Just welcomed distance.

He thinks I'm the rudest person on the planet because every time we get together I do something that annoys him. I interrupted his conversation. I didn't say please. I didn't thank him. There's a hundred different things I didn't do. And he noted every one of them. And, as I noticed that this was going on, I couldn't stop it.

I wanted to, mind you. I wanted to show him that I'm a grateful person. That I have manners. That I love him and his wife. That I can be decent.

But, it was like I was jinxed. Seriously, I couldn't act normal around him. I can give you excuses; hard, credible, completely understandable excuses as to why I interrupted his conversation, why I didn't say please, and why I forgot to thank him. I have valid excuses that any normal person would comprehend. But, excuses are pointless.

Have you ever felt like that? Like there's a wall up around someone and no matter what you do, you can't break in? Everything welcoming gesture you make will be defeated. Every movement you take will be misinterpreted. They won't know the depth of your heart, or your caring toward them. They won't see your gentle soul, and the warm and tender heart within. They won't see you as anything except what they suppose you to be, some shell of a character like a spoiled brat, an ungrateful woman, a greedy child. Those are nothing your heart holds, yet it's all they see.

I wrote about a fictional business on my blog and I hurt a lot a people. (To tell you the truth, I didn't know anyone but a handful of peeps read my blog.) Some were hurt just a little, and some very deeply. That's a bad result of getting on your soapbox with your righteousness and anger in full frontal display and your facts shaky or mismatched at best. I was talking about one business I love, and another business I'm glad to be away from, and another that I'm ambivalent about.

And, I was trying to do what? I don't know. Not hurt people, that's for sure. Yet, that's all I did.

I liken it to having a small trickle of water coming into a dark, stone cell, and weeping bitterly about only getting a trickle, then having the trickle dry up. I weep for wanting the trickle of water that I wept over because it was just a trickle.

And, I won't delete my words from my blog. That's cowardly. That's hiding in the shadows. If I said it, I need to live with it. Even though it brought me pain and distance from people I love. So, I email the people who contacted me and explain what I meant and it's all over. It's done.

But, it's not. They hurt, and I hurt that they hurt, and I hurt that I'm once again misunderstood.

I've gotten so used to being misunderstood that I've also gotten lazy about dealing with it. I simply let it go, and hope I can move on, or have another chance, or best of all, rely on their faith to make them give me compassion and grace. Talk about hypocrisy on my part!! Using God's directive to my advantage so I don't have to dive into difficult conversations or convince people their beliefs are incorrect. That's difficult, exhausting work. You have to stay vigilant and on your guard. You have to stay present and focused.

I can just let it go because I know the truth. I know the goodness in my own heart. Even if it's not seen by another. "Let them think what they will," I say, "it's not my fault!"


The words of Jesus tell me that I hold responsibility even when I'm not at fault.

Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

Your brother has something against you. Not: if you ticked off your brother. Not: if you did something wrong, go fix it. Not: if you had a good excuse, then you don't have to go. No, no, no.

It says, if he has something against you.

Regardless of...anything.

So, now a LIFETIME of being misunderstood must be stopped. I have been directed to stop it.

That's huge. I've spent my life being hurt by people who don't understand me, but letting it go because it's not my problem. It's theirs. But, Jesus says it IS my problem. Whoa. This is HUGE, indeed!

Now I have to begin...this moment. And, I have to figure out how to take out this thorn that has been bitterly uncomfortable, yet has been something to which I've grown accustomed.