Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Long and Winding Road ... Still Ahead

"Anyone who is not totally dead to himself will soon find that he is tempted and overcome by piddling and frivolous things. Whoever is weak in spirit, given to the flesh, and inclined to sensual things can, but only with great difficulty, drag himself away from his earthly desires. Therefore he often gloomy and sad when he is trying to pull himself from them and easily gives in to anger should someone attempt to oppose him."
-Imitation of Christ

God takes anyone who wishes to journey with him up hills, down hills, into caves, out into sunlight and always there is a bit of the path that winds around a cliff and along which you could misstep and fall into a dangerous ravine below. We always want to "journey" with God. But unlike our church services, our movies, or even our video games, which have beginnings and ends--the journey with God, once it begins, is not a ride you can exit when your stomach gets queazy. It's not a TV series that you can just stop watching until "it gets good again."

I mean, if only. Because there was this long part of the O.C., in which Marissa was dating a girl and Summer and Seth were neither here nor there, and I often got up and made myself lunch or went to the bathroom without even pausing the DVD. It mattered that little what was happening during that part of the season.

So journeying with God--you might use language that paints the picture that "now" you want to take a journey with God, lasting for some designated season, at the end of which you will arrive at some awesome place of maturity both relationally and financially {since that's the only thing young Christian singles ever seem to want to "take a journey with God" for}.

It doesn't work that way. He waits our whole life for us to finally push the giant, green "YES" button for spirituality and then he takes us on a journey alright. A journey that lasts FOR EVER. You never get off the ride. You never stop the movie. Everything you do, every bathroom break you take...it doesn't stop the journey. It doesn't end one journey and begin another. It's all the same journey!!!

You may think I'm getting a little worked up about this. Really, I'm just amazed at how I've been able to compartmentalize different seasons of my faith to make it all a little easier to understand. "This" was that season where I was desperate for God because my life was in complete and utter chaos. "This" was that season where I journeyed with God to break the cycles of whatever. "This" was the season where I journeyed with God to determine if I was really going to be a pastor's wife one day.

"This" is the season where I stopped believing that he was going to do something beautiful in an area of my life. When I started thinking that I maybe had embellished his will for my life and naively expected good things that had nothing to do with what he really wanted for me.

Now "this" is the season where I realize that I let a few disappointments get the best of me. A few rejections. A few misunderstandings. A few slips of logic. When I finally see how much "that" one thing really hurt me.

This is the journey back home.

That's what I was feeling this week. That I'm now taking a new journey with God. Except--it's not new. It's the same journey I've been on since the beginning. He's been doing the same work in me since those very first days of faith when I walked along with my eyes closed and my hands out, palms upward, expecting something good from Him.

My posture and my attitude have changed the most in the journey. Sometimes running forward and outpacing him, frightened beyond my wits. Sometimes walking with my head looking back over my shoulder, like Lot's wife so stupidly did all those years ago, wondering if taking a journey sabotaged other possibilities in my life. Sometimes moving at a snail's pace while he mimes all these warning and danger signs to me, which I don't heed.

And all of this made me realize something else about my worst self. The one I used to be so freakingly in a hurry to stop being...

What I was then and still am on my worst days -- is not worth saving. That's not who He saved. The woman He is turning me into -- the woman I am becoming at the end of this journey -- that woman has eternity like a fragrance hanging around her. That person I will be is worth saving. What's so ironic, is that he was willing to fight for her. If He was willing to fight for her, why don't I?

That's my journey. Finding out why it's important to fight for the work He is doing...even in the "seasons" when the script-writers have absolutely no sense of humor.

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