“I don’t know how on earth anyone’s going to survive leading a church in the future and staying Biblical. With the amount of criticism and flattery we get… it is a big challenge to remain humble rather than angry, arrogant, or depressed.” – FC
I remember many years ago, one of my nieces was really into the game Animal Crossing. In hindsight, it was a rather silly game, but I wanted to help her in her endeavors so I bought a memory card on eBay that had a game saved with all the money and accessories and achievements you could ever ask for. Instant win! Who wouldn’t want that, right? I also seem to recall that soon after, her passion (if I may call it that) for the game started to wane. Was it because she was growing up and leaving behind the childish things? Or was the game was no longer fun because she didn’t have to work for anything anymore?
On an unrelated note, I’ve been thinking about bearing the cross and suffering and compassion. How do we differentiate between a situation or circumstance that we must endure because Jesus is helping us develop perseverance and character, and an injustice or unfortunate event that we need to correct? For example, we would easily tell someone who is having trouble getting along with his manager at work to bear the cross and learn and grow, but I don’t think we would ever say the same to a child who has been a victim of human trafficking. We would advise a couple to see beyond their differences and learn to draw near to God together, but God forbid we ever advise someone to stay in a physically violent and abusive relationship. Where do we draw the line? I’m sorry, Dear Reader, but I don’t have an answer.
But here’s a wonderful thought I had in the midst of all this – if I endure a particular suffering, and come through it having been shaped by the Lord, then I can turn around and exhort another brother who is facing the same circumstance to bear his cross and perhaps when needed, offer a shoulder to lean on. And so each time I suffer, I am better able to relate to someone else’s suffering, to understand what he is going through, to give answers that I learned the hard way, rather than rattling off textbook answers.
And then I realized – isn’t that exactly what Jesus did?
Evan (and Zoe!) have embarked on a pretty incredible project. It is starting to pick up momentum. I’m excited to see where it goes!
Dearest Love of My Life,
I’ve been struggling with some things lately, and I wanted you to know how I feel. I know you’ve asked me to set aside some time for you each day (every! single! day!), to spend with you alone, but I’m afraid it’s a demand that I can’t meet – at least not yet. You know what my days are like, and how busy things are – there are so many things that already demand my attention, so many people to tend to, people that I know you care about too; and when all is said and done, I’m just plain too tired. Besides, I’ve always believed that our relationship was rock solid, and not dependent on flowers and jewelry and feelings and all that fluff – I know that even if we don’t spend time together, our love will always be strong, and I know I can count on you to be faithful, and I know that you’ll always be there for me.
Besides, we do spend time talking once in a while, don’t we? There are a lot of logistics in what we do, and I always ask your opinion and advice, and come to you for help when I need it. Doesn’t that count for something? And the instructions and advice that you’ve given me, I always remember them and study them in great detail, and they’ve been a great help – not just to me, but to people I run into throughout the day. I tell them all about you and how you’ve helped me, too, and you should see the way their eyes light up at my stories of how great and awesome you are, and how you’ve just totally changed my life and how I’ve been so much happier since I’ve met you. Quite a few of them would like to meet you, actually! You’re quite the popular one..
I hope you believe me when I say that I feel bad that we don’t spend enough time together. I really do. And those times when you guilt-trip me into spending that time with you – it starts to feel like a responsibility, an obligation, and I really don’t feel the sparks like I used to. Sometimes I can’t wait to get it over with, and sometimes… sorry, but sometimes I fall asleep. Can’t we just spend time together when I feel like it? When all the stars are correctly aligned? No, I’m just kidding about the stars. You could probably alter their course if you wanted to anyways. But you know what I mean, right?
Besides, isn’t it a little weird and possessive for you to ask me to think about you all day? Frankly, sometimes it gets a little suffocating – but you know I still love you, don’t you?
Maybe one day when things aren’t so busy and there isn’t so much work and so many people to visit and care for, we’ll have some time together, ok?
It’s ok. I understand. But I think what you don’t understand is that it was a request for your time, not a demand, and you’re the one who’s really missing out. Did you know that when we spend that time alone, together (and when you aren’t a grudging participant), it shows on your face? People can tell. You don’t need to say a word – people take a look at you and they know we’ve had some time together. They can feel the glow coming from you. You want people to know how great and awesome I am? Let them see it in you, on you, before you even open your mouth.
It’s true that I will still love you even if we don’t have our time together, but like I said, you are missing out, and it grieves my heart. But that doesn’t change my love for you – you are right, my love for you is rock solid regardless of how much time we spend together. But do you ever wonder what it does to your love for me?
And what’s wrong with my being possessive? I want to be in your every fiber, in your very being. Or did you forget already? You are mine, and I am yours.
It is still my desire that you would give of yourself to me, freely, without hesitation, without consideration. Would you try to make time for me in your busy schedule?
I’ve been reading The Inner Chamber, by Andrew Murray. To say that the book has cut me to the heart would be an understatement (and I’m not even a quarter of the way through). I’ve tried to reflect some of my thoughts from the reading into the letters above. They are not complete – but they are a good starting point. It would seem that I have a very selfish and maybe even borderline abusive relationship with God. I don’t even know where to start to make changes. Well, no, maybe I have a few ideas.
Hopefully this summer we can get the guys’ reading club started again. This book will definitely be on our reading list.
Movies that I had watched as a young child, at much too early an age:
2. The Poseidon Adventure.
3. The Swarm.
Things that I am illogically/irrationally scared of to this day:
2. Being out at sea/drowning.
5. Being alone.
See the connection? Oh, I guess #4 might be from being tall. #5 probably was probably due to complex childhood issues having nothing to do with movies.