My own hypocrisy

Today in church I listened to a very challenging, and eye opening sermon. My Pastor spoke of the quality of my heart; what do I hold an abundance of in my heart? Because whatever that abundance is will come across in my behaviors, my actions, and my words. What I say shows you, tells you, what exactly is in my heart. And I am not proud to admit it but what my words and my actions have shown is that I am a hypocrite. And I really, really, really don’t like to say that. However, it doesn’t make it any less true. So my Pastor challenged us today. He challenged me to either change to where the abundance in my heart reflects God, and my love for my Savior; or to continue excusing my actions, not caring, and stay exactly as I am.

I know He wasn’t speaking directly of me, but it felt like he was preaching to me personally. I listened today with a troubled heart because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be one of those people who say they love God, and proclaims themselves to be a Christian…but doesn’t live according to their own beliefs. One of the reasons I turned away from Christianity was because of that. I don’t want to be that reason for someone else. I don’t want to plant that seed in someone else.

So what can I do to change? The first thing I can do is something I have wanted to write about, but have been struggling with actually doing it. The first thing I can do is change how I speak. Words mean something. Words carry more meaning, more punch, and more devastating power than any weapon man can make. But we, as a people, have misused them and abused them. I have done my fair share in distorting the very beautiful gift of language. And I’m not talking about a specific language. I am talking about language in the very basic terms. Words, no matter what language you say them in, carry the same meaning. And I am guilty on many occasions of destroying the very awe inspiring, and breathtaking meaning some of these words carry.

I don’t want to count the number of times I have said the words “I didn’t mean it/that” just in the last year. If I didn’t mean something that way, or if I didn’t mean to say something at all….then why did I say it that way, or at all? Oh I’ll always have an excuse to why I said it but excuses don’t make things right. The truth is that I didn’t want to make the effort, take the time, or think about saying something different or not saying something at all. It is pure laziness.

But I console, and justify, my own laziness by telling myself that if this person truly is my friend, and if this person truly loves me…they will understand and excuse my behavior too. And while yes, that is true, that shouldn’t be the thought process coming out of my heart. Putting all the work, and effort, onto someone else that I love and care for shouldn’t be the dominant thought in my heart. It isn’t fair to the people I love and the people I care for. It isn’t fair to my friends.

I should be showing them my own love, my own friendship, by putting forth that effort and taking that time. Is the pain, and possible misunderstandings, between me and those around me really worth the energy I’ll save by not thinking about what it is I am saying? The people I love, the people I care for, heck the people just standing around me…deserve my time. They deserve my effort. They deserve my thought and consideration.

Then I tell myself I shouldn’t have to be so careful with the people who mean something in my life, with the people who are closest to me. And I am right. I shouldn’t have to. I should want to. I mean is it really so hard to be quiet for moments before I actually speak, to think about what I am going to say, before I actually say it? Is that examination really so time consuming? It’s not. I can’t justify my own laziness. The reason I can’t justify it is because it is wrong. It is self-centered. It is self-serving.

If I can’t back up what I am saying, I shouldn’t say it. If I don’t mean what I am saying, I shouldn’t say it. If I didn’t mean something in a certain way, I should find another way of saying it that I do mean. So I am going to go through some very fundamental and important, basic words that mean something to me in a way I never understood. Granted not in this note, but in following ones. I want you to know what I mean, and why I mean it, when I say something. I want you to know where I am coming from, and where I stand when I tell you something.

And when I tell you that I am completely in love with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I want you to know I mean it. So that means I have to change. That means saying shoot rather than replacing those o’s with an i. That means I have to cut out words like “damn it” and the derogatory use of “God.” Cursing in general has to go right out the window. Because how can God take my love for Him seriously if I can’t even put for the tiniest effort of saying a word that isn’t so offensive to Him? Sure, I won’t go to hell if I swear, but it is still offensive to my Lord and Savior. Sure, my Mother will forgive me if I lie to her, but does that mean I lie to her every chance I get? No. I don’t hurt the people I love simply because I know they will forgive me. And God, He is certainly worth that effort.

What I say, what I read, what I do, fills up my heart. It, then, is reflected out in every aspect of my life. How can I expect anyone to see the light of my own salvation when I cover it up with small sins that I could easily correct? How can I possibly show anyone I love God when I spend my time on Facebook playing a game that rewards me for terminally depressing another girl? I have dismissed it because it is just a game, but that game says something. My support of that game says something. It makes me a hypocrite. It gives me an excuse. And if I am hurting and tired of my own excuses…..how must my Lord feel?

I have been asked if I am going to become a ‘prude.’ And I’ll be honest, that use to be a fear of mine. That I will no longer be fun to be around because I no longer am willing to do, say, read, or participate in the ‘cool’ things. I’m not afraid of that any more. My life is juicy, sweet, and full of life. I have passions and fires that will never go out, but they will be reserved for the man I am meant to complete. I have a choice of living up to the standards and expectations of man and society…..or to the standards and expectations of the very God who gave me His only Son so that I may live in bliss and heaven for the rest of eternity. There really is no choice, no competition.

So my life needs to reflect it. The abundance of my heart needs to reflect that. What I say needs to show that. How I behave needs to burn with the light of it. You all, every last one of you reading this, deserves that much for me. Every last one of you is worth my time, effort, and energy. You also deserve my apologies for my own hypocrisy. I can’t promise you I’ll be perfect, but I will tell you that I will do all I can to be better.

Starting now.

An Ugly Side of Me

I was shown a very ugly side of myself today, and I am eternally grateful for that. I was completely unaware of this character flaw in myself and I would have remained oblivious if it was never pointed out to me. I am filled with such gratitude, as well, for the compassion, understanding, and lack of ridicule the person who pointed it out showed to me while he was pointing it out. I feel completely blessed.

I was under the impression I was pretty good at forgiving people. I didn’t hold grudges against anyone. I meant it in my heart when I forgave them. I did my best not to bring it up again, unless the course of the conversation somehow led to it; but, I will be the first to admit I wasn’t always perfect at this. I thought my effort still counted for something. These are all good things, or so I thought. But I was missing something, doing something I believe is actually pretty bad. I’m not proud of it, but I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to grow and to change.

My problem is that I hold on to the pain of the wrong done to me by a loved one. I use it as a shield for my heart, so that way if that person does the same thing again my heart is protected to some degree. And that’s not okay. It is still holding their wrong, their sin, against them. I put it between myself and them, for my own protection. This is actually pretty selfish of me.

Yes, it will help shield me from some pain if that wrong happens again. That shield, however, costs something. It puts a barrier between the ones I care for and me. It shows a lack of trust. And many people have said to me that maybe the person hasn’t earned my trust back. You might hate me for saying this, but that view is a very selfish view. If I truly love someone the trust should be there. It is an essential part of loving someone. I believe it is part of loving someone, to make yourself open and vulnerable to the pain another can cause you. Otherwise, you are still—and only—looking out for yourself. I know this view doesn’t agree with the current, popular view on love.

It is one of the many reasons I will be eternally grateful that God does not love like a human. He does not shield His heart from me when I hurt Him, lie to Him, disappoint Him, or sin against Him in any of the plethora of ways we humans are prone to do. He does not give me a ‘last chance.’ He doesn’t hold the pain I cause Him like a shiny necklace or a bright banner above His head. He loves me, completely, in ways I will never fully understand. I do know that no matter what I do He will still open His arms to me and welcome me home. I know that He will always forgive me, give me another chance, and help lift me back up onto my feet.

That is love. That is forgiveness. God commands us to love and forgive as He loves us and forgives us. I wasn’t doing that. I was more concerned with the possibility that I might get hurt again, rather than helping my loved one back up onto his feet in our relationship. I thought I wasn’t punishing him for his wrong doings, but the truth is I was. I was punishing him by keeping a barrier between him and my heart. I was punishing him by holding on to the pain, rather than the love I have for him. That’s not cool. And that’s not love. When you love someone nothing is more important than that love, and you should hold on to that love with both hands as tight as you can.
Instead I made excuses for myself. I came up with reasons to justify this behavior. Again, I am so glad God is nothing like us humans. I have given our Lord and Savior endless reasons to dismiss me. I know that I will give Him countless more before I die. But I rest in the safety and security that God loves me, and will forgive me. There is freedom in that. There should be that same freedom in the way I love others.

He shouldn’t have to wonder if I will hold his next sin against my heart. He shouldn’t have to question my ability to let things go quietly in his head. He should know. He should find that same faith, that same trust, and that same respite in the knowledge that I love him. And I wasn’t providing that. I wasn’t living up to my own words.

The words ‘I love you’ are a gift, and they come with a huge responsibility. They come without conditions, without limits, without chances. Loving someone is so much more than a simple emotion. It is a choiceless choice. It is a surrendering of self to the mercy of someone else. And love should never, ever, be dependent on how the one we love treats us. I was putting a limit or a definition on something that is indefinable.

Yes, I could get hurt again. That is fine. Because there is something more important than my own pain. There is something infinitely more important than the possibility of getting hurt. The person I love is more important. The love I have for that person is more important. By the very definition of love, that comes first.

So thank you, Kiwi, for teaching me this. Thank you for showing me one more way I can better love, forgive, and live as the Lord teaches! I will always be grateful for this lesson!

God will carry it home

If I could say just one thing
I wouldn’t know the words
Everything I have seems so pale and so old
Heavy with centuries of human mistakes
That take away from the beauty of all that they mean
Shadowed remains of once mighty things
And what I feel is so much more
Than the remnants of forgotten thoughts and dreams

If I could scream what it is that I feel
You wouldn’t know, you wouldn’t hear
So I whisper a wish on the wind
And hope and I pray that one day
God will carry it home

My tongue feels so empty
And my mouth is a void
My greedy heart has taken up
All that is left of me
Flooding my veins
With all the things that I just can’t say
Unwanted words
Scrawling so endlessly
Beneath my skin

Tormenting me from within
And every breath I take
Sends a new surge
Of welcomed, inky, fire
To scorch this brand into my soul

If I could scream what it is that I feel
You wouldn’t know, you wouldn’t hear
So I whisper a wish on the wind
And hope and I pray that one day
God will carry it home
That God will carry it home

If only my arms were long enough
I could reach across this great divide
To show you …

But I am not the creator of this chasm
The distance is not orchestrated by my design
So here I wait on my side on my knees in the dirt
Hoping that when you look back to see
You won’t find another disappointment in me

If I could scream what it is that I feel
You wouldn’t know, you wouldn’t hear
So I whisper a wish on the wind
And hope and I pray that one day
God will carry it home

You wouldn’t hear the words from my lips
You wouldn’t know the tattoo of my heart
And every tear that I cry would be another drop
Of forgiving rain sent from the sky

So I whisper a wish on the wind
And I hope and I pray that one day
Yes I hope and I pray that one day
God will carry it home.
That God will carry it home
That God will carry it home
That God will carry it home
That God will carry me home