Thursday, May 27, 2010

Being Dethroned

It's been a while kids...I know. Seems like most of my posts this year have been intermittent at best. Here goes...we'll see if I still got it...

The past few months have been very interesting...steeped in transition. It has been one of the most refining times of my life thanks to many more lessons than I would have liked to learn all at once. But, looking back and still being in the midst of them, I feel unbelievably grateful and I feel like a new person.

For fear of this post becoming too lengthy, I will spare you the details, but to give you a glimpse into what I mean by new, I will say this and hope that it makes sense. I am a healthier April. I don't mean physically. I mean spiritually. The most noticeable change has been in my interactions.

For some time now, I have been battling with the monster that is co-dependency coupled with it's partner in crime, fear of abandonment. I realized quickly, thanks to a little program called Recovery at The Village, that the above two were crippling me.

It has been a very difficult process and I have a long way to go, but after 16 grueling weeks of sin illumination, acceptance and repentance, I've found a way to respond differently when confronted with those struggles. Now, the fall-out or rather fall-forward from the recognition of idolatry in my life has me in a healthier place. I can have healthy relationships without overbearing expectations and rash outbursts due to my countless insecurities.

The weird thing now is dealing with the new normal. Before, I felt overwhelmingly attached to a handful of people, in an unhealthy way and now, I feel overwhelmingly unattached to anyone. It's weird...trying not to revert, because it feels unnatural. Finding the middle ground has been the newest challenge. How much do I invest? Where do I invest? In whom do I invest? And at the heart of it all, how do I pull myself down off of the throne I've made for myself without feeling like I'm losing a part of who I am?

Because, let's be honest. If you know me, you know I'm deeply a fault...that's what got me in trouble in the first place;) But, I realized, somewhere along the way, I'd stopped using the tool I'd been given for His purpose and instead turned it on myself. I was self destructing by my own hand.

One day, it just clicked. My relationships were all about putting myself on a be be be popular. I'll tell you this...I didn't want to be dethroned, but I asked for it unintentionally...the Spirit interceded and made me ask for it. Now I feel like all those wasted moments spent trying not to give up "who I am" were actually masking "who I really was".

I've gone and made this post long as you suspected...I'm sure of it. But, right now, even though I feel directionless at times in these uncharted waters, I feel like the real me as I do it. It's a little glimpse of the person I'm intended to be for His glory and I'm sure in the years to come...nay, I pray in the years to come, that I'll keep laying aside the crippler's in my life and learn to walk without a limp.

I pray his dethroning of myself now everyday, because I know it's for my good. The first fall was a long way down for me, but hopefully the height of my throne will become progressively lower and the fall will be less painful.

Here's to being dethroned by His glorious grace.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Pourer

There is an oozing gash on my chamber-filled piece of pulsating flesh
That pumping time piece that pushes liquid back and fresh.

The open-ended wound causing all sorts of being to being back-lash
That metaphorical salt being poured on at rates of more than a dash.

To cushion the sting, I seek for a nude plastic piece of tape colored in blame
But as soon as the horse drawn liquid takes hold, I rip it off and fan the flame.

"Pourer, pourer, you're such a pourer!", I shout at the Id
As I drape myself in Morton and walk about without a lid.

The incision eroding ever so slightly with each crashing string of letters
Soon enough it will be so deep, they'll be no sign of it getting better.

One 24 of 365, I'll teach myself to use the clamps and then stitch
To keep the me bolted in tight, out of the way of reaching the itch.

For when the phalanges finally inch-worm their way to the gaping hole
They'll find a red carrier, strangle it and then reach for the soul.

Therefore, the me must be banished, exiled of the will
So the divide between parts can re-bond and finally heal.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Making God your Garmin

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." Lao Tzu

I'm not a Taoist, so don't misunderstand the above quote as a declaration of belief. It just brought some clarity.

Before Garmin or TomTom, there was Mapquest. Before that, navigation usually took the form of almost indecipherable words written down on a crumpled piece of paper half eaten by time that you found in the back seat of your car. And even farther back than that...think a wagon on The Oregon Trail with your kid almost dying from Typhoid...navigation came mostly from memory in the form of the recognition of signs along the way.

More often than not, I'm not sure I'm even lost until well off the beaten track. It's when I see nothing of landmarks of reassurance. On this roadway, path, highway (whatever you wanna call it) of life, we too often miss the signs along the way when we are heading in the wrong direction. Why??

Personally, I see a few reasons.
1. Denial. Denial that you could ever be wrong or lost.
2. Pride. Pride in your own ability to get somewhere without any help along the way.
3. Distraction. Distracted by the noise around you, that of differing opinions and advice.
4. Stubbornness. The hesitance to change course.

The last one is most convicting in my life, because I do it ALL the time. I think to myself, "If I just go a little further, just a little bit further, maybe THIS course will just turn into the right one", even though my gut always tells me otherwise. The signs are clear, but I choose to ignore them.

Today as I write this, I'm in the aftermath of a course change. And, let me tell you, I'm taking everything into consideration now. I'm looking at the path I was headed down and recognizing the utter ridiculousness of it. I feel like I can see the signs clearer now thanks to the experience of the road most taken.

Without going into details about what spawned this course change, I will just say that it took an immense amount of letting go to take the initiative to turn that wheel. The two hardest parts of changing course are the letting go and the not looking back. The last is probably the harder of the two.

Change is never easy, but being comfortable is not a call on our lives as believers. We were meant to struggle and persevere and come out on the other side changed for the better...sanctification. By warring against the change, I was blockading sanctification. In this particular instance, God turned the wheel for me, but I'm praying that in the future, when He asks me to drive a different direction, I'll be obedient enough to turn around the first time He asks.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rain Down on Me

In 27 years of life, I've learned this one thing to be true...the greatest of my lessons are learned amidst the storm.

I can move my head ever so slighty to the right and see the drops falling at this very minute through the tattered window and the drops are but a physical manifestation of the metaphorical storm I find myself in. The clouds began to form months ago, but just sparce enough to allow for a ray here and there to hit my face with a burst of life. The clouds have become noticably denser and I find myself in the eye of the storm now.

I think storms can take different forms. For some it is soaked in hardship. For some it is soaked in loss. For me, at this moment, it is a trifecta of the two aforementioned and this...the one soaked in and unwillingness to change. It's funny how the clouds tend to illuminate the darkness. That's where I am right now. The darkest parts of my heart are being illuminated and it hurts.

However painful any storm may be, it's a sweet release to watch the rain fall. It reminds me of the cliche much as I hate cliches, cliches wouldn't be cliches if they weren't somewhat true, right?! Okay, so cliche metaphors...tears, cleansing, washing away the old, etc. You get the point. However, if you sit for a just a minute and let the rain hit your face;), you recognize other intensely beautiful things about it...

Rain is a symbol of the renewal of life, a promise of survival and most importantly a reminder of God's mercy. Water is the life source. If storms never came, we wouldn't be able to survive. Drought would ensue. Storms are necessary. And at any moment, God could let the rain be a danger to us, but he promised he would never again do that after Noah. When he lets it rain, it's a reminder that He is merciful always. He has the power to take us at any moment through an inescapable flood, but He doesn't. He is a merciful Father.

He let's it rain just long enough for us to recognize how small we are, how sinful we are, how out of control we are and at the root of it all, He gives us hope that the sun will shine again if we will just wait out the storm.

Waiting it out...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Refining Fire

My church, The Village Church, is going through a refining fire right now. Matt Chandler, the lead pastor, had a seizure on Thanksgiving, fell, hit is head and had to go to the hospital. They found a small mass in his frontal lobe. He is either on his way or currently at the neurosurgeon's office right now. I can't express to you what's happening in our church right now...amongst my friend's whom I walk with on a daily myself. We are being refined. We are waiting. We are praying. Please pray for the Chandler family. Here is a letter written from the elders of our church addressing Matt's current situation.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Shepherding Well

It's been nearly 2 months since I last blogged and a lot has been going on, but the most notable to date has been the explosion of people wanting to plug in at The Village. A couple of months ago, I had 27 women sign up to be in my small group...that's in addition to the 10 women I already had. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed. It's running closer to 20-25 now, but I had no idea how I was going to tackle leading a group that size.

As of now, it's still a trial and error situation, but it has gotten easier as the weeks go by. Last week, Matt said something in regards to shepherding and it really hit me. "When you are shepherding a flock, the role of the shepherd is not to be in the middle with the happy sheep, but on the outskirts with the sheep in danger".

I have to be honest, it stung a little. I haven't been doing a very good job of corralling the sheep in danger, i.e. those struggling the most. And even more than that, I like to stay in the middle with the happy sheep, the ones that aren't in need of repentence, at least at the moment. Jesus addresses this in a parable in Luke 15 charging us to go after that one sheep that is inching farther away and closer to the false prophets dressed in sheep's clothing that He mentions in Matthew 7:15.

It's changed the way I look at my group and at the world as a whole. I get so caught up in the sweetness of my bubble that I don't go after the lost sheep. It's hard to admit that staying in the flock is fun. It's easy. It's comfortable.

I'm a happy sheep...wait, ewe? Whatever, I'm happy, but there are others who are not, who need to be reconciled to Him. And, it's my job...nay, my responsibility as a believer. When was the last time you left the flock to chase down a sheep going astray? When was the last time you ached for the soul of another? It will refine the mess out of you and I speak from experience.

Shepherding is difficult, but it is something we have all been called to on some lay down ourselves for the sake of another.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Undivided Heart

"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11

The other day I read that in Hong Kong when you hand someone something, using one hand is considered rude. They always hold things with both hands. So, even in the smallest acts...handing over your credit card, your money, passing the is to be done with both hands. Multi-tasking is therefore diminished.

Throughout this season of unemployment, God has done a swell job of illuminating the sin in my life. Of the countless, one is multi-tasking. Alot of the multi-tasking that takes place in my life is in the every day tasks...applying for jobs, while having 2 or 3 gchat conversations, while making toast, while watching tv, while I send a text message and on and on and on and on. But, because of the daily habit I've created in the menial things, I've managed to carry it over into my spiritual life.

I find it hard to concentrate while I spend time with the Lord. Taking an hour of uninterrupted time (that I obviously have now thanks to no agenda) to spend time in His word and to spend time talking to Him has proven rather difficult. I'm constantly divided. My heart is in a million places at once....thinking of the coffee date I need to set up with a friend...about the email I need to send for my small group.

Keep in mind, that none of the things I've listed above are quote unquote bad. The things that I dwell on when I'm supposed to be spending time with Him are beneficial, but I've come to realize very quickly that they are in fact distractions. They are paths I use to run away without feeling like I'm running to far from Him as they are categorized in my mind in the genre of good deeds.

So many times, I come to Him with one hand, all the while holding on to something else in the other...something that will inevitably pass away as it is rooted in the flesh.

He longs for an undivided heart. I pray I long for it too.