Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Today I got to sleep in...way in, and it was wonderful. This whole past week I have been dead tired, and I mentioned this to a friend who told me, "Well, Kate, you're emotionally exhausted."
Emotionally exhausted. I guess that makes sense.
If I were writing this a week ago, Jehovah only knows how riddled it would have been with emotion, pain, frustration and anger. However, like I said, I got to sleep in today.
It's always amazes me, no matter how many times I go through something and the cycle happens the same way, that I forget how I work. I mean no matter what, I seem to forget. I forget that when I am in something, I am in it: I feel it in my bones. And I forget that after I buckle down and let emotions run their course, I am the most logical person alive.
I'd like to get this tattooed on my forearm so next I am in the middle of the bone-breaking emotional shit storm (there really is no other term, sorry), I will look down and remember, "Okay. I've done this before. I've gone through this before. I'm going to be more than okay. In fact, according to this arm tattoo, I will be better and walk into more of what God has for me."
Now, I am not going to do this. I would like, despite my life pattern, a real job someday. And I think the title "Poem to Read During Emotional Shit Storm" is too long for a arm tattoo. So, I go to God:
Me: Will you help me remember I am not a weak little flower next time something like this happens? Actually, just don't let this happen again.
G: I tell you all the time who you are and who you are not.
Me: Okay. Just tell me I'm going to be okay.
G: You're going to be more than fine, Kate.
Me: Why can't I see that right now, G? (yes, I call God 'g'. we tight)
G: Because you're too busy staring at yourself.
Me: Oh snap.
The reality is, everything changes when your perspective changes. At least that's how it is for me. When I can stop looking down, focusing on the ground, and start looking up and around, I see all there is for me HERE and NOW. It's so freeing. So freeing. When I ask God to show me truth (enter logical Katie here) and commit to believing His truth, it's like the weight and even pain of my situation is lifted.
The reality is, 90% of my life is perspective. Right now, for the first time in 24 years, my future is sealed off. All I have is right now and the people around me. God is growing in me an intolerance for broken integrity, a desire for contentment and the ability to live in the Kingdom of God right here and now. Now, that's all a work in progress...especially living in the Kingdom each moment.
The truth: no one is perfect, but we can love the Perfect One. This, in my eyes, frees us from hypocrisy. Life is good and life is hard, a butterfly garden and a shit storm. We get to choose how it shapes us and what me make of it.
Here's to switching our perspectives,
...reading The Sermon on the Mount.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
A good friend wrote this.
It speaks to me on so many levels, and I know it will do the same for you.
Worry Notes – for The Gallery Church, March 13/11
Matthew Atkinson, © 2011
Jesus said “Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink or wear.” Fair enough. I still have to get up and go to work and use these hands and this mind God gave me. And that can be tough some days. But I try not to worry about whether I’ll have a job tomorrow. Money and chaos slosh across the globe, and we get caught up in it. Yet I work hard and trust that God loves me. I try not to worry about a roof and a plate of food.
I haven’t always been this way. I used to collect worry like my sweater collects dog hair. Where ever I turned some new worry was attached to my mind. A horrible way to live. Now only by the grace of God, I don’t worry as much about money and health. “The Lord is my shepherd.” I have to trust Him.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t worry at all. It’s simply that when I take the focus off my navel, like I think Jesus is telling me, I can look up and see what’s going on around me. And what I see worries me. Is this wrong? What was Jesus talking about when He said “don’t worry”?
Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about hungry children.”
Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about battered wives.”
Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about Frida or Jesse or Reuben freezing to death on the streets.”
I do worry about these people. Their faces trouble my dreams. And I not only worry, I weep.
I weep for the child living in fear of a parent.
I weep for the young women, who believe the lies and don’t know that they are beautiful just the way they are.
I weep for the company man, wrung dry and discarded after decades of service.
I weep for the elderly, sitting unvisited, out of sight, out of mind.
I weep that I am able to forget all of this because I am so comfortable.
How did I come to this place, my very own desert? The Spirit has led me out of my comfortable life to this place of tears to learn - something. I fall to my knees, pound my fists on the ground and cry in outrage against the pain I see. The Spirit waits. Laying exhausted after my anguish, a quiet question. A frightening suggestion. I turn away, but the question hangs there. Will I follow Jesus? Into the pain of the world?
Or will I stay here and turn inwards, and let the worry grow, consuming me from the inside, turning my guts to water and my spine to jelly. My mind fixated and my eyes darkened until all I see is unending bleakness instead of eternal goodness. No, I can’t put down roots in this desert; I will wither and die.
The path does not end here.
Or will I return to my old life, and numb myself with busyness and trivia and sandcastles and television and life on the hamster wheel, and with religious talk and a couple of bucks thrown in the plate?
Then what would I be? A numb, uncaring religious guy. Didn’t Jesus make it clear what he thought of that?
No, the path does not lead back either.
And the question still hangs in front of me. Can I trust Jesus enough to follow him into the pain of the world? Can I wrap the worry and tears and pain in prayer, and carry them with me? I try: worry in the embrace of prayer hurts, but it enlarges my heart, making a sanctuary for others. The peace of God descends but only to the extent that I try to live out what I ask God to do. This is where the Spirit is leading me. This is the path out of my desert.
So I move forward into the world of blood and tears, of pain and joy and redemption, of light breaking into darkness. While I take these hesitant steps, please don’t give me greeting-card theology; it will only distract me from the words of Jesus.
I know that there will be a day when all the tears will be wiped away, and there will be no more pain, sorrow and death. Yes, I hold that treasure in my soul. But today, there is pain. And choosing neither numbness nor despair, I act. But I must act with love. If I help you without loving you, these hands become tools of manipulation and that can do violence to the soul. How can these hands be made safe?
At first, fists clenched in anger, these hands are now prepared by clasping in prayer. These palms are cleansed by the sweat I wipe from your brow. (Reaching out …) these fingertips are baptized by the tears I wipe from your cheek.
This is the path. I can’t go back.