I grew up listening to people argue politics and religion while they said it’s okay to talk about anything except politics and religion. Neither one is worth arguing about, and here’s why I think so.
Religion always turns out to be man’s twisted interpretation of what God thinks. Whether you’re talking Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Muslims or whatever. Politics also has the drawback of being dependent upon the interpretations of men. So getting your undies in a twist about either is useless.
A much better plan is to find out about God and apply what you find only to your own life. That should make such a drastic change that people will notice. When they ask what changed, tell them what you found out and how you apply it. Sounds simple, but it’s life-changing and takes a lifetime. And for me, it’s a wild ride. (You’re welcome for one of the world’s shortest blogs.)
I can’t let Toenail Fungus be my last post for 2019, so I’m thinking about Jesus.
He was God and with God until the Holy Spirit planted Him in Mary’s womb. I wonder if He knew in there. Did He know He was love? Did He remember the swimming around after He was born? Did He remember hearing the whispers as she walked about Nazareth? Did He remember coming from Heaven?
Or what about Joseph and Mary? They’re both your regular old garden variety people trying to live the lives God gave them. And then Gabriel appears. I slow down from wrapping presents and picture that. A glowing stranger standing in my house or inhabiting my dream. I wonder if Mary reached for a handy weapon or just sank to the floor, shaking. I wonder if she started thinking hard about what she’d learned of the Messiah. Could this really be happening, right now? In her town? To her? And then he was gone. Wait, did that just happen? Now what? Talk about walking with God. Did she hustle right down to the synagogue and ask the rabbi to haul out the scrolls?
I wonder what travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was like nearly nine months pregnant. Not by plane, but by donkey. I haven’t ridden a donkey, but I’ve ridden a horse, even pregnant. It’s okay, for a little while, but not for miles. Did she get off and walk just for a break, and then get back on when she got too tired? Was she thinking about how the Rabbi said He’d be born in the City of David, or by this time was she wondering if she’d eaten the wrong thing for dinner, or whether Joseph and Elizabeth had joined her in some kind of insanity? Did God encourage her through those days?
Did she think, “I knew it couldn’t be me who’d mother the Savior,” when the innkeeper put them up in the stable? “Surely, God wouldn’t allow His Son to be born in a barn.”
Or what if I were one of those shepherds? I’m beating the bushes looking for a lamb who’s bleating his head off when the night sky lights up with singing angels. Dude, what is up? I crouch behind a tree. Just because they’re singing doesn’t mean I’m not in trouble. My buddies are caught in the open, and the angels tell them to find a newborn baby lying in a cow manger in a barn. Say what? But I heard it with my own ears. We drive the sheep up the road to Bethlehem, through the town, drawing people to their windows to shew us out. But we’re on a mission. There’s light in a cave just outside town. We stop the sheep just outside and hear a baby cry. Must be the right place. We creep up without words and look in. Look in … your turn.
I have held many incorrect assumptions about grace and truth. For instance, I believed at one point that telling the truth was wrong in many cirumstances because it hurt people’s feelings. On the other hand, I thought it was a percentage then between grace and truth, like if you have 80% truth, then you have 20% grace.
So, I have been studying the relationship between the two because I suspect that what I’ve thought is incorrect, but I haven’t know how. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I think we can figure out our boundaries using a combination of grace and truth. I believe we don’t have grace without truth or truth without grace. I believe it is loving to speak the truth with grace.
I’m working on this for myself and for the next novel I’m going to write, Queen of the Third Grade. I think the prep work will take a while, but I’m excited. My guide is Jesus, full of grace and truth.
Have you heard the saying, “Want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans?” So what’s He laughing about? Our inability to do what we know we ought to? Maybe. Our inabilty to consider the rocks we may encounter in our paths? Maybe. Our inabilty … Maybe.
On the other hand, have you heard the saying, “You aim at nothing, that’s what you’ll hit?” I think that thought pattern may be where New Year’s Resolutions came from. You may think, based on the title of this blog, I’m one of those slugs who parks on the couch, moving only to replenish the potato chips. I’m not. Unfortunately, I’m seriously goal- oriented, sometimes to the exclusion of actively loving the people I’m supposed to love. Can you relate?
I’m actually this odd conglomeration of motivation and laziness. Some days I find myself puffing because I focused so hard on what I wanted to get done that I paid no attention to my body crying for rest. Other days I’m weary, and I don’t care what doesn’t get done. Some days I’m committed to losing the ten pounds I gained during the holidays, and others I don’t understand why calories have to count or my body needs exercise. One thing I’m sure of, I’m tired of guilt based on whatever.
What’s a person to do?
Build our houses on the rock – Jesus. Let Him share our yokes. Follow Him. Stop orbitting ourselves, since we are unable to plot the course anyway. Sunday school language, you say? What does it really mean? Guilt should be like a cop’s ligths in the rear view mirror. When we feel it, we’ve started doing our own things again. So we stop the action. We hunker down and pray, which doesn’t mean we do all the talking. We listen, and His small voice will plot us a course correction. Or we pull out the Word, find a word in the back that matches what’s bugging us, and flip around until the words give us His answer. Yep, simple, but marvelous at the same time. Here’s a way better saying: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6 So, who needs resolutions?
For about ten years, my husband, the marriage and family therapist, and I led Stepping Stones, a support group for adults abused as children. It was peculiar in that we didn’t sit around commiserating, but studied Scripture on how to climb out of that pit together. The topics are:
Face the Problem
Assess the Damage and Make the Commitment to Recover
Correct Your View of God
Set Healthy Boundaries
Improve Your Self-Image
Learn to Control Anger and Depression
Increase Your Capacity to Trust
Deal With Sexual Issues
Give and Accept Forgiveness
Determine Whether to Confront Your Abuser
Life Beyond Survival
So, we’re thinking about putting the material online for people who don’t live near us to use to recover. Anybody out there interested in something like this? If so, what do you think would be a fair price? If you’re out there feeling alone with your secret, I’m talking to you, and praying for you.