Tuesday, March 21

Shackles to Diamonds

Two years ago, I said that trying to make an impact in the world today was like trying to change the color of the ocean with a single drop of food coloring. I realize tonight how badly I was missing the forest for the trees. Changing the world isn't a bad thing, but what takes more effort and much more food coloring is changing myself. I used to spend all my time thinking of ways to affect other people. I wanted to make people happy, to be friends with everyone, and to never start an argument. After I did this for about, say, six or seven years, I developed some problems. I have no confidence, no self-esteem, crippled social skills, and mumbled speech just to name a few. (Very few.) My personal life and my faith was broken and desperate, but I am an outstanding actor, if you didn't know that already. Pretending to be happy became a way to be happy, much like an actor who starts to believe that he really is Hamlet after spending so much time in the role. I lied. I lied so often I couldn't keep track anymore. Not lies to impress or draw attention, they were for my protection. I couldn't chance you finding out who I really was. I was an imposter.

Six months ago, I would have told you that there's no gray. But there is. Not in the terms that most people use it though. Truth has no shaded areas, it has no darkness, only light. The truth leaves no room for interpretation, but the gray comes in the application. It used to be that God was my corporate sponsor. It was always us, never me. I had no strength before men, how could I then before God? The truth is, humanity was not bought in stock at the spiritual Costco of the world, but that we have been individually, each of us, redeemed by a passionate savior who hand picked us, knowing every part, good and bad, because it was Him who placed us on the shelf in the first place. The Christ I know is the same Christ that loves thousands of millions, yet he knows me individualy, a person, a creation, separate from everyone else, yet equal in worth. That is where I find the gray. I am thankful that I don't have to have a black and white love for Jesus the same formula as everyone else, but that the God of the universe has sought after and captured me specifically, and he will never let me go, no matter how hard I run. Somehow no one ever taught me this, or maybe I just wasn't listening.

Three weeks ago I would have told you I was a good person. I thought I was better than most, if not all. I thought it was only a matter of time until I was lifted up. Not so tonight. Because I know and believe that there is a God who intimately knows every corner of my soul, there's no fooling anyone anymore. Things really aren't OK, today wasn't so great, no I'm not doing fine, how are you? I am a useless, battered, bleeding wretch of a person, and knowing that has never felt so good. I've been learning a lot about what it means to be vulnerable. The walls I had been building for so many years were beyond explanation. Not a single one of my few friends had the slightest chance of breaking through. My protection was miles deep, and rock solid. And cold, and dark, and heartbreaking. To my amazement, after so many years of desperate pleas, staying up until morning repeating the same prayer again and again and again, God somehow managed to show His love and make me see it, eyes wide open to His mercies. My defenses stand now in a weakened state, crumbling and weary to break into tear-sized pieces. I am vulnerable. These words make me vulnerable. My actions make me vulnerable. My fear, my desire, my failure, my loneliness make me vulnerable. God has made me vulnerable, and for this reason, that is how I will live. I know I am not a good person; I'm far, far from it, but at least now I feel like a person. Now I can be honest with myself, with my friends, and maybe even my family.

An hour ago I was terrified. That's one thing that hasn't changed. And it's not because I had to watch The Exorcist for my film class. I'm terrified because I have to do so much now. I have to re-make friends, they don't really know me after all, and if I really am honest like I intend to be, I have some serious hurt headed my way. My walls are still there, and when they finally do come down, it's not going to be pleasant. I have to stop stopping myself and be prepared for true brokenness, for rock bottom. Reading this, it might not be obvious that I have been a Christian all my life, from as early as I can remember. I have always been seeking God, like I said, I was the good kid (as far as everyone knew anyway), but I never stopped pretending long enough to let Him catch up to me. I've actually taught others to rely on God while I unknowingly ran full speed in the opposite direction. I'm in a position of leadership. That's pretty scary. But I'm in an excellent position to help others as I stumble along on my way. In this, I guess you could call it a watered down testimony, I poured myself out into the river of information that is the internet. Every word is calculated to bare my soul, yet still not give myself away. How much harder then will it be to do the same to my friends, where these surgical phrases hold no power. I am an exhausted thirsty camel, heavy laden and down trodden, left to wander in the desert for such an age, and I am hopefully and eagerly awaiting the straw that will bring this suffering to an end. Am I scared? I can't find words to describe this brand of fear. But surrounding, enveloping, permeating, saturating that fear is the love of God, and the hope of a new life, a new day. I can feel it tonight, just like I think I've felt it every night, it's a gut feeling, a tugging at the heart, that sorrow is only seconds away, but the beauty of what rises with the dawn is unspeakable.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Well stated. Wish that I could have said those things as well as you have. I really think you should let others know about your blog, more of the folks we know at Crosspoint and SFA. As uncomfortable as I know that idea makes you, one of the best aspects of the post is that you realize that you aren't alone, and I think that we have a lot of folks who think they are. And no, I don't think you are off base. I only wish that for both of us that we would stop beating ourselves up as much as we do. It isn't healthy and doesn't have anything to do with humility. It feigns humility. You aren't as off as you think you are. I think too that humility has more to do with honesty than anything else. An honest appraisal of who I am before God, because I am that, and nothing more. I am also nothing less than that and what He says about me is truth. And truth has no darkness, only light. So I would rather apprasie myself as He does since He knows me better than I know me.

Idea: Maybe we could do a book. Get folks from SFA to write entries. I don't know, something about "College life and Christianity: REALITY CHECK"