Archive for September, 2011
Ever have one of those days when you cannot concentrate on anything? The days where you struggle with focusing on the distraction? That is where I find myself. Things are vying for my attention left and right. Noise–as some call it. These things, in reality, are not that important.
Sometimes the distraction, the noise, is subtle. It’s how my fear of birds and anything that can fly at my head distracts me from seeing them as animals created and are known by God–to the point that he knows when they fall to the ground. Or how my smashed in hood makes me feel subconscious while driving, I forget to see how much more damage should have been done and how God is protector and provider.
Sometime our distraction is not being able to see past a person’s appearance to the heart of them. We get distracted by what we see and the circumstances around that we aren’t able to see if they are just lonely or hurting. Maybe they hide their real selves in humor or sarcasm or silence.
Some days it takes a lot of effort to see through the noise to truth. The reality is if we’re not careful, we will miss out on a lot. We’ll miss out on new. New friendships, new relationships, new life-giving, life-filling moments.
Are you distracted? Or are you looking through the noise?
Last week I wrote about the death of a dream and the process there-in. At our Sunday night meeting this week, we talked a lot about death, dying to self, destroying the flesh, etc. (Really–it’s a lot happier than it sounds!) Below are a few snippets of conversations. I hope the inspire.
Don’t be afraid to let things be destroyed in your life–You really want what will be raised up.
This was powerful for me because I tend to believe that if I die to a dream something worse will happen. That is simply not true. What is true is something I didn’t know I wanted or needed is coming to life out of this death. And it will be better.
God builds with death and resurrection. Resurrection Life is that most powerful, it cannot be destroyed, it was already dead.
Resurrection Life, found in Christ, is indestructible. And it is better.
It’s 8:00 on a Friday night. Mat Kearney’s Young Love and husband of The Married’s cutting tile are my soundtracks for the evening. Or at least until it’s time to head to the movies.
Friday nights are interesting, aren’t they? Some Friday’s there is nothing better than comfy pants and a Say Yes To the Dress marathon. Other Friday’s, the prospect of sitting home, alone, again brings out the ugly cry in you. And the line between the two seems thin.
If I could give you a formula for making every Friday evening at home a good one–I’d freely give it away. If there was a formula for always being happy and content in every circumstance, I’d definitely write it out here. But I think we need the ugly cry moments so we can recognize the good cry moments. We need the loneliness so we can recognize when we aren’t lonely. And yeah, it’s not fun or nice or enjoyable all the time. But you can’t know good if you don’t know bad–right?
If it’s been a long week and you are home alone–enjoy the rest. It really is beautiful.
If you’re on your way out the door–be safe and enjoy the evening!
A few years ago, I was talking with my counselor and she mentioned that she had to die to the idea of marriage while she was single.
I did not like that statement. How could she just die, aka give up on, a dream? And did she expect me to die to something I believe God has told me will happen. Would God just give me a desire to withhold the fulfillment of it?
Dying to this dream of marriage has been floating in the back of my mind for a while but has not been reality, until recently. You see, my desire to be married was all about me. Yeah, I wanted to serve the Kingdom with my husband, but it was still about what I would get out of it. I wanted to know about the joys/sorrows of relationship. I would be “happier” because I would have someone with whom I could get dressed up and go out or dress down and stay at home. There would be someone who I could serve. I could love. I could encourage…
Hidden in me serving or giving–my desire to be married was all about me.
However, the reality is, in Christ, it’s no longer I who live. and this life I live in the body is not my own. Dying to this dream is not a big deal, when I know the Life that is found in Christ.
So, I confess, I may never be married. And it is survivable. The world has not ended. It’s just that I’ve been afraid to say this out loud, because as I get older I don’t want to be perceived as the crazy cat lady and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of the “poor thing” looks young single people give to those over 50 who never got married.
But there I go thinking about me again. I am always the one who gets in the way of dying to the dream.
It’s not pitiful to be single. It’s not pitiful to alone. And maybe I will be on the receiving end of the “poor thing” looks, but I probably won’t notice. Because when Christ, who is your life, appears… (Col 3:4) everything else seems to fade away.
Should there be marriage in my future, as I still believe there to be, it will only be because God, in His beyond-belief timing, choose to resurrect it. And I would rather be apart of any marriage God chose to resurrect than I could create on my own. Because that marriage will be about Him and us enjoying Him, together.
Being single, there are many days where I feel lonely. When I was living alone, it was hard to come home to an empty apartment. I’d leave a light on or the television so it seemed like someone was waiting for me. Currently, I’m riding the roller coaster of good and bad single days. And when I am married, I will switch to the roller coaster of good and bad married days, because I have a feeling even married couples can feel isolated and lonely, individually and together.
Lately I have noticed that the steepness of the ups and downs are changing. I think I’ve discovered why.
Psalm 68:6 states “God settles the solitary in a family…”
Families consist of people you love, in spite of the fact that they drive you insane. The older sister can pick on the younger brother, but nobody else better or the older sister will go mama bear on them. You may love your aunts and uncles but outsiders looking in think they are rude and obtuse. Families are messy. Yet family is what makes a home, a place of belonging.
God settles the solitary in a family. He settles them into messy. Settles–not in a “I give up and I’ll marry the next man that walks by breathing” kind of way–but in a “here is your place, your home, be here” kind of way.
In John 14 the disciples are asking Jesus how he will show himself to them and Jesus answers “…If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him..” (v23)
The reason the ups and downs of the roller coaster are getting smaller, is because I am finding my home in Christ and Christ alone. Then I see other people who are doing the same thing and together we form this incredibly messy family. It.is.so.beautiful. My single self has found family, has found a home, and it is anything but lonely.
Lately, my friends and I have been talking a lot about what it looks like to be die to self and to live in Christ. What follows below is a little of me “thinking” out loud. I hope you can follow how my brain works.
Growing up in the church I have often heard that I am dead and that Christ is life. My old man died when I confessed Christ as Lord and I am a new creation because of Him. His death and resurrection were for me, so I could be free from sin. All of which is true and wonderful and beautiful! What other god has laid down his life for the people who deny his existence? What other god would do this for people without exclusion? What other god, himself, redeems his creation?
As of late my eyes have been given sight to the deeper revelation of these truths.
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6
”In order that” kind of sticks out to me here. In order that sin might be brought to nothing. In order that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Christ was crucified in order that these things might occur. He doesn’t want to fix our sin problem, he wants it destroyed. This sin that looks so exciting and intincing. This sin that can keep be focused on it, rather than on Christ. This temptation to find and define myself by the things I see my peers participating in and doing and enjoying even though I know it to be a temporary fulfillment. These things that seemingly give life and joy. THIS is what he wants to destroy. This is the purpose of his sacrifice. But it doesn’t stop there.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4
In the past, I always focused on the “appear with him in glory” part of this scripture. I failed to notice the first part. The “When Christ who is your life” part. If my old self is crucified with Christ then it makes sense that Christ is my life. He is in me and I am in Him. (John 15, Col 1:27) If I have died to myself, it is only plausible that it is Him who is alive. In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28).
I no longer identify with my old self, the self before my confession of Christ as Lord. My identity is found only in Christ. He is the life I live in the body. He is my focus, not my sin, because my sin is dead in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
What a glorious freedom! Because my old self was crucified with him, I now live by faith in the Son of God. In Christ, who gave himself for me. My sin is destroyed and replaced with life. Real, actual, eternal–life. The breath of fresh-air. The hope amidst crisis. The anchor of my soul–this is the Life I live in him.
I’m finding the destroying process to be painful. I find the dying to the life I want–to live His life is sometimes difficult. Not because his life, his desire, for me is horrid, but because I think I can do it better. I shed tears of sorrow so that I can be filled with freedom and healing.
All because of my identity as a crucified self.