Does it feel like you’re not measuring up, spiritually? God isn’t the one who is holding the yardstick. So my question is: who is?
– – – – –
Today’s FBT theme is, quite accidentally, ‘honesty’. These two blogs are pretty awesome and I’ve found a great deal of encouragement in reading them.
First up we have JS Park, ‘the atheist pastor’, who bills his blog as being for struggling Christians. I want my blog to be like his when it’s all grown up. His willingness to tackle tough questions is refreshing, so if you’re not already following him I suggest you sign up at once.
Secondly we have Registered Runaway, whose heartfelt posts about being a gay Christian are touching and insightful. All sides of the ‘gay argument’ should be made to sit down and read this blogger’s words. Look out especially for the Love Letter series: it’s grace in action.
What blogs have you been reading?
Have a great Thursday!
Remember, you are:
– A work in progress, looking towards the work finished, Jesus.
– Under construction, in a process, two steps forward, one step back.
– On a journey of faith, because faith is not a light-switch.
– A messy, gritty, raw, real, complicated creation called a human being, and no one should ever shame you for being human. Jesus was one of us, too.
– Not defined by your mood, situation, or circumstance.
– Not defined by the “amount” of your faith, but rather by the perfect author of your faith who receives even your weakest stumbles towards Him. It’s not about your grip, but rather the strength of the branch that holds you.
– So loved that God preempted your failures with the gift of His Son Jesus, who died to pay your price of Hell and who also died exactly for those times you would feel far from Him.
– Always allowed to approach the throne room of God with all your anxieties and fears and requests, no matter how petty, because God can handle your venting and clenching of teeth and He will not bite your head off. It’s also His very grace and acceptance that begin to restore the broken pieces back together.
– A Christian, a profoundly broken person who has met Jesus the Messiah, who radically transforms you by being who he is: the Savior, Redeemer, King, Brother, Friend.
If you’re struggling to feel God, read the whole post: Question: Getting Back The Fire For God « J.S. Park.
I can hear the cry of the brokenhearted saying, “What then? How do we choose joy in the middle of THIS?”
We grieve, we cry, and then we fight. We wage the war against our own soul and fight for joy with praise and thanksgiving. Bringing praise in the middle of painful circumstance, in the night season of our lives, can almost feel like a sacrifice beyond the capacity of our soul. When our heart drowns under pain and sorrow, frustration or worry, we bring it to the foot of the cross in surrender, lay it all down at His feet, and offer it as a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15), a sacrifice of joy (Psalm 27:6). We lift our hands and voices and verbally declare the goodness of God over our lives and our circumstance.
When we thank God for all He has done and all He is going to do, we break the power of circumstance to dictate the direction our soul will take and we allow Jesus and His joy to rule and reign over us from the inside out.
(I’m reblogging the whole post. It’s that good.)
I’ve broken up with God more times than I can count.
There were nights when I explicitly spelled out- in all the swear words, why I had enough. Why I no longer believed or was done trying to. He didn’t love me, I muttered, so I wouldn’t love Him back.
There have been months on end that I considered myself closed off from God altogether, even if I didn’t make that directly clear to him.
You don’t need to be in your Bible, listening to worship music, praying out loud to be apart from God. You just need to be reflexively blocking him out of your thoughts and feelings, like He’s not even there.
And I know I’m not alone in that. Believers that hold to an unbreakable life-long consistency are few and far between. We walk away- we walk back, shaking off all the things we didn’t even know were killing us at the time.
On Facebook, God and I have always had an It’s Complicated kind of relationship, because that’s been my journey. I walked away when I was ashamed. I walked back when I hit the floor of my loneliness. I ran far far away when the church folk said I didn’t belong. I went full steam back when a new church held me closer than any had before.
There have been times when my own unkindness toward myself has kept me away from God. I was my own worst enemy and left alone, I could really do a number on myself.
I know that David isn’t talking about this kind of resting place, he’s referencing the shelter of God. But I write in reaction to what I’ve read and this hit on something I had been thinking about.
And what if my walking away is that resting place? What if, when the church becomes too painful, God becomes too confusing and scary, He sets aside a place where I have to face my own reflection and understand how horrible I’ve been to myself? Where I can understand that until I love who I am, the world will still be able to crush me. Where I can understand that even at my very most self-loving frame of mind, it is still incomparable to His adoration for me.
Brennan Manning, the author/speaker/preacher/also the guy that has reunited Christ and I more than anyone in the whole world, gave a series of talks in 1996 at Seattle Pacific University and he spoke on how the greatest evil in our lives is self-rejection. More than greed, lust, every destructive thing relates to this. Nothing separates us more than when we believer we are the bottom of the dumpster. The crap of the creator.
And he quotes something from Paul Tillich. Something that quickened me into a desire to walk, jog, then sprint forward into the story of a Jesus that loves me.
“The beginning of faith is in accepting that you are acceptable.”
Accepting that in my own jadedness, bitterness, cynicism, pet peeves, offensive action, self-condemnation, laziness, busyness, my low and high, my deep and wide Jesus accepts me wholly, loves me fully, madly embarrassingly falling on his face happy in love with me.
Even when I walk away, He’s there, providing a place of rest, a place of renewal.
Reblogged from: Psalm 61- Breathing Room » The Registered Runaway.
Days like Monday though, they are a whole other beast. Days like Monday claw at my skin and bones, leaving me laying on the floor in a hoodie and pajama pants, head covered, eyes closed, wanting to sleep and never wake up. Depression like that leaves me with hours of nothing, trapped in my own head and the ropes of sorrow and despair tightening around my wrists, looping into a noose around my neck. On days like this, my medication isn’t enough.
Neither is Jesus.
I know that’s not what I’m suppose to say. I’m suppose to talk about how Jesus is there for me in my darkest times, how he brings me hope and peace, how I can survive this depression because of him. But today, if i was to say that I would be lying.
Depression makes me lonely, and Jesus isn’t in the room when I can’t get up off the floor. There is some sort of cognitive assent that he is everywhere, but the theology of an omnipresent divinity doesn’t make me not want to cut my flesh to feel something better than emotional pain. The words of Christ about his sending of the Spirit so that his peace would be with us does nothing for me when I’m too sad to move. The memories of times with God’s presence, of leading congregations in worship of Jesus, of illuminating the scriptures to people, these memories do nothing to comfort me. In the utter, bleak smothering of weight, sadness, pain, and lifelessness what can I do to find comfort?
I’m tired of the assumptions that I can fix my self, that I can find my own comfort, that I am capable of surviving days like my hard Monday. Do you have any idea how much pressure that puts on the one in their suffering? It’s hard enough to get out of bed, to get a glass of water, to interact with my family, and you expect me to find comfort, something that is utterly devoid from my current experience? The only comfort I can think to find is a bottle of strong booze, a blade on my skin, or forcing my self to stay asleep hoping it might just be over. In these moments, I am incapable of comforting my self.
I need you.
Hear this very carefully: you are not the missing piece to my happiness. I don’t expect you to magically snap me out of my depression and set me back into real life. I don’t expect you to know what to say or what to do. I don’t expect you to even want to be around me when I am in the middle of these hard days.
But I need you.
Please read the whole post. It’s bravery in action: When It’s Not Enough – CulturalSavage.
I’d like to thank Kathy over at 365 Days to Unstuck for nominating me for the Liebster and Versatile Blogger awards (!). Since I can never think of six (or eleven) things about myself (err, my name is Liana and err…) , I’m just going to redirect you to her lovely blog and its array of delicious and artsy projects. She’s taken a very hands-on approach to spicing up her life that is
a little intimidating, did you see the recipes?? inspiring :) to say the least.
Imagine if honest minutes were mandatory. Where at least once every week or two, for a minute, you are completely and unflinchingly honest about your life as a believer instead of the friendly veneers we put on when we jostle knees in full pews or well-attended Bible Study groups.
Where we don’t put on our best clothes and take out our most expensive Bibles or tithe big.
How about now?
I’ll start. I’m setting the timer on my mobile for sixty seconds and stream-of-consciousnessing this baby.
Here we go.
I’m a theology student and I keep telling people that but I don’t know what it means or if it even means anything because I have this suspicion that I’ve made a terrible mistake because how on earth can God use me for anything? I’m not the popular youth pastor
Well, that’s mine. What does yours say?
You are slowly being released now, and it’s ok. You don’t have to be afraid of it. You’re a wreck, a bloody mess, but this is where the healing will begin. I am holding you, heart. Feel the life in me, and beat again. I am your rescuer, and I will deliver you from your past and heal your wounds.
You have deceived yourself time and again, but it is not your fault. Your intentions and longings are pure, do not believe they are not. I made you, and you are good, for I am now in you. I am your redeeming creator, and I will show you how to live for me.
Stop building your walls. They will not keep evil out, only goodness in. Release it. You are safe in my hands. I am your protector, and I will ever fight for your good.
You ran away, sought your hope in other gods. But I have led you back to me. You are a stubborn heart, and I had to show you, let you see. I am your one true God, everything you need.
You do not know what you thought you once did, as you are deceived and betrayed. I am sorry. Your pain is mine. But you are here now, with me. I am your comforter, wrapping you in truth and love.
I will never let you go.
With purest love,
~Your Heavenly Father
via I Am | Dear Someone,.
I have a stalker who regularly comes to harass me… He is discouragement.
Read the whole post: My stalker | Mustard Seed Budget.