I was thinking about, frankly, getting more fit, more into shape. Sometimes I wonder if my extra weight is like the thorn Paul experienced. Sometimes I assume to keep my humble. Because I probably wouldn’t be without it. Honestly.

But now I’m to the point where I’m just curious to see if people would listen to me more if I give them the look that makes them feel more comfortable. Just as an experiment. That if it results in more people becoming free, then ok, fine – I’ll tolerate the hypocrisy. Friends through unrighteous mammon? I don’t really know, but I wonder. These are just thoughts, not declarations.

So I have this conversation with God. Because I always go back to Moses. How he wasn’t allowed into The Promised Land because he, in my opinion, misrepresented God to the little, albeit extremely frustrating, lambs who looked up to him. And that really scares me. Because I’ve been pushed down and around so much. I’m to the point where I feel my heart completely shutting down. Like long before. I often pray to God for emotional refreshment so I don’t turn that way again. Where nothing moves me anymore. I don’t want to live in cynicism. But it’s hard these days. Really tough. My only hope that Peter really messed up and God chose him exactly because of that. “I don’t need your strength, Peter. Tell them how much I Love you, tell them how much I Love them.”

But I still wonder to myself and God, “Am I there yet? Have I passed the tests? I know I’m way better than I used to be. When my only response to every offense was, ‘Off with their heads!’ Have I come far enough from that?”

Love is so tricky. I thought a lot of what I did before was love. I’ve been on such a long journey about what it is and isn’t. Always coupled with the conversation about forgiveness.

And that’s the really difficult part. So many questions. Is it smart or prideful to not expose myself to people who continue to hurt me? Like I’m finally to the point where I can see it doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s their junk. And I trust God to continue to invite them into more healing. As He does also with me and my stuff. With everyone.

But will there come a point that Trinity strengthens me to the point where They want me to be like Jesus to these people? In the sense of being strong enough to take the punches head on? Is it just my ego that keeps me from that now? Or am I being smart in insisting on some distance? That by the way, I hate; eagerly awaiting what I think they should be doing to allow me to rush back in. I mean even in the story of the prodigal, the father doesn’t chase after the son. And Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine – lest they trample you. I know that outcome as well as anyone could.

But Jesus said a lot of things. And that was back then. What about me now? Be as He was? Or is He enough and we can pass all the hurtful people to Them? And go live our lives?

But who said the other verse? I think it was Jesus also. Who said what good is it if you love someone who loves you? But how can those both be true, Jesus? How can you tell us to leave them if they reject us, but also love those that hate us? That despitefully use us?

Are these just challenges to us that You never expected us to take on, just like when you told the rich young ruler to be perfect? Just to highlight for us what You did for us during the crucifixion?

All good questions to wrestle with. And I have been for decades. So I’m not going to try to wrap all that nicely up here today. Still feels like I am very much in process on that. Not ready to present a thesis to that effect.

But just to switch gears to setup an example of something else that is related, there was once a time when I was really wrestling with God about going into real estate. I felt soooo guilty for doing so. Like real estate wasn’t spiritual enough. And I think God would raise that challenge to me over and over. Kind of like taunting me with that guilt. Until I got mad at God and finally settled in MYSELF what I thought about that dilemma. Then the question was gone.

And same thing with music lately. I think God will give me some fantastic song. But it will have cuss words in it. Or some other audacity that is completely counter to the rules I was raised with. And the wrestling will start again in me. Is this good or bad? Finally I get so mad about it that I settle in MYSELF about it. What I think. Versus being motivated, and thereby controlled, by anything external. Even God in some ways maybe. Like not internalizing even judgement on myself. Because anyway judgement is just setting things right. And if I’m lost, how could I possibly correctly reorient myself?

In any event, I wonder if it’s the same with this issue of feeling guilty about setting boundaries. Specifically about making the moves to ask for more from people. In how they treat me.

Like, I now define forgiveness as wanting the other person to be healed. Even if a bit of hell 🔥 is what it takes to get them there. 😈🤣 But am I wrong for still feeling angry about the way I’m being treated? Or is true zen the place where anger no longer exists and I only feel blissful well wishes for those that wreak havoc? Let’s be more specific – for those that are still wandering this earth after having done all but, and sometimes even, murder?

I think of Jesus. How He so directly referred to the religious oblivious as venomous predators. He went into the temple and destroyed their desecration of His character in trying to fleece the innocent seekers. (I would have LOVED to have seen that.)

So is my anger justified? Is my anger approved by God? Is my anger even necessary? A sign that I’m still very much alive inside? And by comparison, to not feel very angry about acute injustices would be a sign that I am rather part of the problem, a sign that I had lost my mind?

I think of my mother. And I will call her out so directly as nobody is picking on her; she started this by her words and her actions. That I don’t even care to explain in order to justify myself for anyone else’s approval. And this is small in the whole scheme of things with her. But it came to mind when I was thinking about anger and wondering if I’m being unforgiving in asking for what I now feel is the bare minimum from so many folks.

So the story goes that one day years and years ago. I think I might have even been in my twenties. And my mother made some comment about me not taking her on a cruise. Following it up by saying she knew other people her age whose children were taking their parents on cruises.

The absolute audacity!! I still feel angry when I think of what she said and how she said it. She was getting attitude with me about not taking her on a cruise?!?! Are you fucking kidding me?!

At the time, she probably made close to four times my salary. She was a homeowner while I was still living in shitty overpriced apartments. The same parent who one day I was at her very nice four-bedroom house that she lived in by herself. And I started to pour a glass of water for myself from a gallon of water she had sitting on the counter. And she told me, “That’s MY water.”

And you want me to take YOU on a cruise?! Or rather, you are trying to make me feel bad for not taking you on a cruise?! When I am in day to day survival mode while you have enough money to buy much more than the essentials?!

I was so mad about it then and I still feel anger when I think of it now. More so for what it represents. Years of being treated similarly.

And by the way, let me tell you who takes their parents on cruises. Probably people whose parents did more for them than you did for me. Did that ever occur to you?! But I realize your parents didn’t give you that example. So I forgive you. But I’m not going to subject myself to that shit like you did. No condemnation or negative connotation. I understand. But just because I understand doesn’t mean I’m going to continually subject myself to it. Or am I wrong in that? Does Jesus expect me to let you crucify me?

I think it would be a sign of something very wrong in me if I wasn’t angry about how I’ve been treated. I think my anger is a very good sign of how healthy I always was and have even more so become. So maybe walking away is the same along those lines? Versus me not being “strong enough” to endure more shit?

I think we are so scared of all our anger is trying to tell us that we intellectualize it to the ruin of ourselves and those we continue to enable. Well-meaning, but still.

Anger is just an indicator on our dashboard. Telling us to stop. Take stock and take action. Before we burn out.

And no amount of “lovey-dovey” Christianese saccharine shit is going to successfully suppress that. If you don’t face it head on, it’ll come out eventually and probably with a lot of mess in however many more ways it takes before you finally pay attention.

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