Eclosion

I was reading about the process of butterflies emerging from the cocoon. Apparently they need the struggle of breaking free from the chrysalis. The force and fight to free themselves from the darkness engages the needed biological processes to give their wings strength to fly.

Oh how often we want the strength to escape the struggle. And yet it is the struggle that gives us strength.

I pray along with the Psalmist:

“Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches – feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

And from the Proverbs:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Job

I used to think the story of Job was about God saying He could destroy who He wanted to destroy and we shouldn’t question that because He is God and we are not. But now I am wondering if there might be another angle.

I am starting to wonder if Job is another picture of The Prodigal’s brother. God recognizes Job’s rightness. But maybe Job depends on his own rightness more than the love of God?

The clue to me is when Job says he prays for his children just in case they haven’t confessed all before God. Is the problem that Job thinks it is his prayers or their confessing that saves them? That would go against all religion then and now. But could that be the point?

That God allows the bad stuff to happen to destroy Job’s wrong thinking? Not to hurt Job, but to bring him to true healing? To true rest? Not in his own works but in the deep love of God for him that transcends any of his behaviors? Like the surgeon inflicting pain on the patient for a greater good.

How many of us have been or are in similar situations? Crying out to God that we have done everything we know to do and things only seem to be getting worse.

I need to reread the story of Job, but my memory leads me to wonder whether God interrupted Job’s musings not to condemn him, but to show Job that whereas his sanitized response to tragedy in the beginning may have been the tip of an iceberg that needed healing and revealing, the second round of tragedy brought Job through depression, questioning, and then a furious audicity to demand to put God on trial. In a sense. No longer is this the sanitized Job dotting every i and crossing every t to appease the Almighty Creator. This is the heartbroken cry of a confused deeply-grieving man.

I see myself in this place. Determined to prove my worth and failing over and over and over again despite more and more fervor allocated to the cause. “I’ll prove I’m worthy, Jesus.” And He tells me, “You’re totally missing the point.”

I’m led to this place of utter destruction and profound disappointment. Not only in myself. But in Him. I cry out, “I HATE THIS!” Only then do I hear answers after what seems like eons of silence.

I hear Him tell me what I think He told Job: “I love you. Not because of what you do, but because of who I AM. You are and always were safe. Be still. Know that I AM God and you are greatly loved. Spread that message. Not the bondage of the false message of performance.”

Sometimes failure, tragedy, and pain can be seen as somewhat of a blessing in the sense of driving me to end the idolatry of self-sufficiency.

Amnesia

“I’ve been living under an emotional amnesia I thought was peace, but God is making my heart real with rest.” – Bonnie Gray

I felt like Holy Spirit is saying that God is not the god I always thought was about demanding behavior changes to appease Him. I felt like Holy Spirit is saying all this journey has been to heal my mind/heart to see God as He really is. And who I really am in the process.

I asked God, “Why can’t You just make it happen instantly?” Felt like Holy Spirit responded, “You never would have believed it. I had to meet you where you were and lead you out step by step. The wound about who I AM is deep inside you.”

“Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, all the time, let it shine.”

When I fill myself up and keep everything to myself then there proceeds a lack of new revelation. For myself if for anything. I feel compelled to share for that reason and others.

However, sharing opens me up to problems all around. Real problems that impact my real life. I’ve always said I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not. But that’s easier said than done.

I’m sure it would be perfectly OK for me to sit silent. No condemnation. But I feel like I’ve been brought to this point for a purpose. I feel like this is the natural progression of a very long journey. To make a difference in one person’s life? Are all these problems worth that? I feel like one person is worth it.

I had the opportunity to speak to a large audience of several dozen people the other day. I received a standing ovation. Several people came up to me afterward. One lady told me her daughter in ninth grade was moved. None of it felt real to me. It felt like I was such a small part of whatever was happening that was greater than me. But a part nonetheless.

What would have happened if I’d let fear stand in the way? What would have happened if I cared more about my so-called reputation than spreading hope? The world doesn’t revolve around me. I’m not the only one. But I would have missed out. Another would have been given that opportunity. They might have done a better job. But I would have missed out on being a part of something bigger than myself.

Sharing hope gives my life meaning and purpose. I’m bored with being a consumer. The approval of others is too fickle to provide any direction. I feel like I’m already gone some days. Bags packed. Flight booked. The least I can do is make the best of the time I will be given. I don’t know whether that could ever be measured in this life. Probably will be given enough hints to keep me going. Hopefully without painful events to keep my head grounded.

Random thought: that Jesus died not as a payment to God on our behalf. But rather as a payment to us, in a figurative sense. For our requirement for justice that looks like physical death. Some people I know want Biblical proof of this. I’m not there yet. Just the thought that most religions I’ve heard of have a God that holds people accountable in the sense of requiring some behavior or some payment for wrongdoing. What if Jesus dying on The Cross, allowing us to kill Him, was to show that He is different? That He is the real God. That He is a God that loves. That his death was to show us how far He loves us – even to the point of us attempting to kill Him forever. That is not a God motivated by ego. That is a God that looks like the Good Shepherd. Going to the farthest reaches, stopping at nothing, to bring us back. To heal and restore us.

Track of the day: Chasing Marrakech by Zhu.

Idol

“When you reject an idol, it’s an act of pure worship.” – Brad Jersak

Only in Texas? Chocolate-covered jalapeños for Mother’s Day:

And the kids finally are leaving the nest. Lined up, ready to fly. Born a few weeks ago.

Today’s find. Probably old to others. New to me. Darius Rucker – For The First Time.

Minds

I’ve been thinking lately about wise minds. How we have different ways of being in this world. How I can choose to live by what I see with my physical eyes. Or what my spirit tells me. Those two are often diametrically opposed.

What am I supposed to say when the eyes of my heart see hope in the face of seeming absolute tragedy? How do I explain peace that passes all understanding?

I am finally at a place where I don’t need all the answers. An amazing place to be when I finally know it all doesn’t depend on me. To be found by Someone who is bigger than me. Knowing I am completely free but securely held.

To truly rest. Just be. Enjoy Another. Each other. Live. Where sitting on a park bench with a refreshing lemonade enjoying the cool night air and people watching is as much worship as singing Handel’s Messiah or the birth of a child. Where eating chips and salsa while jamming out to a dope beat is the point of life versus an escape from endless doing.

My heart seizes. Yearning to infuse others with the joy set free in me. Originally back to the old way. Unsuccessfully. This isn’t a journey of knowing. This is a life of being. Something I am unable to do for another.

What drew me? Love. Long-suffering love. Not enabling enmeshment. But an organic pouring over. Light. Bright and non-threatening. Never taking. Never demanding. Never making me a slave. A love that needs nothing from me. Love as it should be. A gift. Not a trick. Not a bait and switch.

So the best I can do for you is to be fully me. To give you the freedom to make your own choices. Real freedom. Not passive aggressive punishment. To trust your heart to His.

The wise mind stays in the right now. The wise mind lives in the present. Right now is ok. Tomorrow is not today. Everything can change in a day. His grace is sufficient. Where are you? Call out. He calms the waves.