Ashamed

I’ve been here before.
Now here I am again.
Standing at the door
Praying You’ll let me back in

To label me
A prodigal would be
Only scratching the surface
Of who I’ve been known to be

Turn me around, pick me up
Undo what I’ve become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can’t do this myself
You’re the only one
Who can undo what I’ve become

I’ve focused on the score
But I could never win
Trying to ignore
A life of hiding my sin

To label me
A hypocrite would be
Only scratching the surface
Of who I’ve been known to be

Turn me around, pick me up
Undo what I’ve become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can’t do this myself
You’re the only one
Who can undo what I’ve become

Make every step lead me
Back to the sovereign that You

Turn me, pick me up
Undo what I’ve become
Bring me back to the place
Of forgiveness and grace
I need You, I need Your help
I can’t do this myself Jesus
You’re the only one who can undo
You are the only one who can undo
You are the only one who can undo
What I’ve become.
(Undo by Rush of Fools)

I’ve listen to this song A LOT these last two days. It has sorta struck a very home chord with me since yesterday afternoon. All of yesterday was a moment of really looking at myself: what I do, how I act, and the things I say. And to be very honest with all of you I am completely ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated at my behaviors, my actions (or lack thereof), and just the overall way of how I conduct my life.

These last three years now I have had no choice but to trust God’s plan for me. Going from having cancer to this weird nerve condition in my foot that robbed me of my ability to walk, and therefore think at all with all the drugs I was on … I didn’t really have a choice in the matter of trusting God. With the lack of choice I trusted my Savior wholeheartedly and made it through these last three years with a thankful heart and a soul that has been completely at peace with everything going on in my life.

Then yesterday I was given a choice. Up until this moment I had been told I would never be able to work a job again that had me on my feet for eight hours a day. I was told I wouldn’t be able to do massage any more. When I first learned this I was frustrated at all the money, the loans, and the work I put into going to massage school. But all that began to change as I went through this last year. I began to write. I began to write things down that in my heart I knew God wanted me to write. Words, ideas, and various sections of books would come so clearly into my drug bogged head. So I found comfort in the fact that this is the plan God had for me. I found peace in never being able to do the things I had once thought I would do. And in my writing I actually found a book publisher who is interested in my work. I was happy, secure, and confident in the direction of my life because it’s not like I had a choice.

Yesterday I was given a choice. My Physical Therapist told me that there was now a good chance I could go back to massage. Granted it wouldn’t be any time soon, but if I worked hard I could work up to standing for 8 hours again on my leg in the next year. I know, Wow, right? I was in shock for most of the morning. I didn’t even realize how much until today how much I had been in shock yesterday morning.

I thought everything had suddenly changed. I dreaded telling my family because I thought they would usher me right back into massage. I began to fear what everyone would think when I told them I wanted to stick with the writing rather than going back to the life I had been living. And with all that fear came so much doubt my cheeks still burn with shame as I think on it right now as I type these words. In the span of a few hours I somehow managed to put all the possibilities and everyone else’s will higher and before the will of my Lord. With this sudden choice I began to doubt, and question, what God wanted of me and from me…despite the fact I had been so at peace, confident, and comfortable in this knowledge for several months now. In giving me one choice … I became such a hypocrite of everything I talk about and believe … and stopped trusting in my Lord and Savior.

I talked the talk, but yesterday I stopped walking the walk. When I realized that one simple thing I had to look back at all my other steps. Did I honestly just stop trusting in God because of the possible verbal lashings I would get? What does that say about my faith? It says a bunch of things I’m not too proud of, and a bunch of things I want to change. As I sat there thinking about all this I was reminded of the weekend my Church had a missionary come to visit. He was a missionary from India. He brought with him a video of the persecution Christians were receiving over in India. The video was heart breaking as grown men would run and kick, repeatedly strike with fists and sticks, and stomp down on a 13 year old boy who wouldn’t bow down to their idols. This young boy’s faith was strong enough to face a blood thirsty mob. He trusted God enough to endure all of that, and never once give in to make it stop. He could have bowed to their idols in action, and not out of belief or agreement…….simply to get home safely. He didn’t. He didn’t because he had trust in our Savior. Because he had a faith I don’t. And I envy him.

Talk about being ashamed. I thought of that young boy and what he did … and here I was losing my trust because of the possible verbal lashing I would get. No one was threatening me with sticks. There was no angry mob outside, ready to drag me out my own home to beat me. And yet I faltered. I stopped trusting. I have been preaching and writing and saying all these things about how much I love Christ, how much He has done in my life, and how wonderful everything is now that I have HIM in my world. And then at the first sign of a choice I stumble, question, and let go of my trust. I’m not very proud right now.

But I am grateful. I am grateful for this self realization. I am grateful to see how shallow my faith has been. Because now I can change it. Now that I see it I can do something about it. I don’t want to be a person who can’t stand before an angry mod with blood lust in their eyes, and say “No I will not bow down to your temptations!” I want that sort of faith. I hunger for that sort of trust. And I hope in this next year I won’t be so easily convinced that I have it. Because right now I don’t. I am in the shallow end of the pool, wading toward the deeper end. But there is a lot of water to walk through to get there, and there are a lot of not so pretty things I need to learn about myself before I can correct them.

One of them being how ungrateful I have been about a gift God has given me. I can’t count the number of times I have heard others pray about, wish about, yearn for, and hope that one day they will know what Christ wants them to do with their lives. I am sure anyone who reads this can relate to the want and need of what they are supposed to be doing with their life and talents. I am lucky. I don’t know why I am lucky, but I have been truly blessed. My Lord and Savior has shown me what He wants me to do. I know in my heart God wants me to write the things in my heart and in my head. It probably sounds strange to know I feel it in my heart to be a Christian writer, but I won’t flinch this time. Christ has blessed me with the ability to put together words in a way people seem to enjoy; in a way people seem to understand. And I understand now that the first step in having the sort of faith I want, is not being afraid to say God’s will for me out loud.

Feasts

I wanted to say, first, sorry I have been so quiet on here the last week. I have been sick, but I am finally starting to feel better. So yay!!! On to the good stuffs.

I saw something today that really bothered me. The entire time I was watching “The Jesus Guy” movie I was uncomfortable. It was a show about this man who has made a name for himself as ‘the Jesus guy’. I guess he has been on the news sometimes, and papers have written up articles about him. I had never heard of him before this moment. When I saw the title of the movie, and heard the first few comments I became excited. I thought …how wonderful! A man devoted to the Gospel and to living a life like our Lord and Savior. Then I watched the rest of it.

A lot of things concerned me, but I will stick to the three most profound things. “The Jesus Guy” was supposed to be about this man’s ministry according to the Gospel of God. What bothered me is that I never once saw this man open the Bible he carried around with him. He never opened it to preach from it. He never opened the Bible to speak about a passage or to show someone a passage. The Bible seemed like nothing more than a prop.

This bothers me because this world is starving for God. This world needs Christ’s words, and the only way …the ONLY way…to give the world the Word of God is to be IN the Word of God. The only way to share Christ is to open His book and read His words. To quote His teachings rather than what people today think and say about religion. I can’t live a Godly life unless I am in the Bible every day. I can’t commune with my Savior unless I spend time in His words spoken by His tongue. The Bible isn’t something you simply hold on to; it is something you always have opened. We are supposed to cling to the words written on those pages, we aren’t supposed to cling to the binding of those pages. It is the Word of God written in those pages that is important. Those words are the words that matter.

Which brings me to the second point of “The Jesus Guy” that didn’t sit right. This man asked the question “What is the most important food?” several times.

 

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’” Matthew 4:4

As for the person who hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.” John 12:47-50

“He replied, ‘Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” Luke 11:28

Just to give a few examples of how to answer that question. If you spend time in God’s words and read the Bible the answer to the question is clear. The most important food is the Word of God. Christ lived off the Word of God for 40 days and nights in the desert. Perhaps if this man opened the Bible he carried around in his hand he would know this answer. If he would just open up that book and feast on the Heavenly Father’s guidance he might actually get and understand what it is he is attempting to talk about.

We need the Word of God to live better lives. We need the Word of God to understand our salvation. We need the Word of God to live a close and personal relationship with Christ Jesus. We need the Word of God to be our daily bread and our everlasting water. Everything else, everything less, is just physical. Only Christ and His word are beyond the reach of this world. The Bible, God’s words and Christ’s teachings, are the most important food to every last soul on this planet. Saved or not saved. Believer or unbeliever. Our denial, acceptance, ignorance, and every other excuse we can come up with doesn’t change that fact. And this is a fact this man doesn’t even know, much less understand.

The last thing that bothered me was the secrecy. Jesus didn’t walk about hiding who He was. Jesus never told anyone He couldn’t tell them His name. Jesus never told His Apostles to keep their identity quiet. He didn’t care about their past, that made them a better Witness. He didn’t tell Paul…don’t tell anyone who you were or where you come from…keep it a secret. Loving Christ shouldn’t be a secret. When you serve Christ there is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to hide.

If you are honestly trying to walk in the steps of the Apostles then embrace it. Christ loves every last one of us despite our pasts. He loves every last one of us despite our futures. He loves us in our most despicable of states. He loves us in our most loathsome moments. To hide that, to hide our past, our failures, our mistakes, and our screw-up’s…is to put more emphasis on our shame than on the very JUBILANT fact that Christ loves us anyway. My sins, shortcomings, deplorable moments are forgiven. I will not let them control me because Christ has set me free.

Following the word of God is about freedom. And the Truth will set you free. The love of Christ doesn’t chain you down with shame. It doesn’t lock you in mystery. The love of Christ makes you shine; even in your darkest places you are meant to shine. His light should never be placed in a valley or behind shuttered windows. Christ’s light is about second chances…and about witnessing to others the changes you have gone through because of His love.

I could go on and on. These are very key elements to Christian Faith. And as I said this world is starved for our Savior. It breaks my heart to see it feasting on straw…refuse…and convincing itself it is a feast for kings. The real feast is in your book store, on a forgotten shelf in your home, or in a drawer in most hotels. It is the Bible. Open the book up. Find out for yourself. Feast on God, and His word. It is the only way to have something more than what this world has to offer.

If you want to watch the video for yourself, here is the link. The Jesus Guy