Thursday, May 21, 2009

Becoming Immune, Not Hardened

I am on a quest. I am on a quest to become immune to caring about what other people think of me. The trick is getting there without becoming hardened and bitter. This is trickier than you might think.

In the last year and a half or so, I have made some decisions that many people around me don't like. I have decided to stay committed to some things while more than half the people involved in those same things have decided to leave. I have based my decision to remain loyal completely and purely out of conviction that this is where the Lord is leading.

Those who decided to leave, I am certain, would say that they left based on the Lord's leading in their own lives. Not one person left as a direct result of me. Yet, for some reason, some people who have left have decided that this means we can no longer be friends; based on this one decision. I have not done nor said anything to anyone that would be a legitimate reason for de-friending me.

(As a side-note: it is amazing how being de-friended from someone on Facebook has just as much sting of rejection as being told straight to your face. Who ever would have thought a social-network site would have that kind of power?)

Some who have left have slandered and criticized on their way out. I have been caught up in the cross-hairs of some of the accusations thrown about.

In all of this I have done my best to treat everyone inovlved with the same love, honor, respect, kindness and compassion as I did before anyone ever decided to leave. I haven't done it perfectly, but I have tried. For the most part people have responded in kind, after perhaps an initial period of awkwardness while friendships are "renegotiated" in new settings or environments.

For some who have left, however, I have been completely and utterly rejected. I literally had someone who used to be a friend turn around and walk out of a store after seeing me there.

After almost a year and half of this, the sting of this has started to fade. I actually call this victory. I am learning to care more about what the Lord has to say about all of this and me than any person. Just because I am rejected by people, even people who were once close to me, does not mean I am rejected by the Lord.

This, to be quite honest, has been a hard lesson for an overcoming people-pleaser like me. It has been absolute death to me in my past to be rejected and scorned. I have in my past done almost everything possible to avoid this. So, to stand firm and tall and be able to declare that I am right with the one person it matters to and that is all that matters, is huge victory to me.

I am, however, noticing that the draw to become hardened and bitter is a strong one. The desire to swing in the complete opposite direction from where I have been and into bondage of another sort is one that I have to actively fight.

There are days when I succeed and I know the same loving, mother's heart, nurturing, kind woman who was always there remains. But, there are other days when I feel the numbness and hardness creep in around the edges of that same heart.

This is what I have to guard my heart from! It is the well-spring of life and I want to LIVE! I want to live a life ABUNDANT, not a life so fearful of rejection that it cannot be found beneath layers of protection and walls. I want my heart hidden in CHRIST so that anyone who wants to find it, must look to Him first.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Paul Washer Message

Here's another. Seriously these are all well worth the time to watch. I might just post the link to one that's an hour-long message he preached a few years ago. It made even me question whether I was really saved or not. Meanwhile, here's a shorter one:

Paul Washer

I have recently, as in the last two months, discovered a preacher named Paul Washer. I could listen to him preach/teach forever.

Here's just one of his gems.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. "Drinks for the ten now cost just $80."

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were
unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same percent, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.


Friday, May 08, 2009

The Loneliness of Leadership

There are days when the loneliness I carry with me most of the time is so tangibly physical that some medical researcher somewhere could probably find some sort of prescription to fight its symptoms.

I started this blog entry on Friday and continued it today (Monday). Yesterday (Sunday May 10) I witnessed the third of my most recent roommates get married, all within a year of each other. I am so incredibly happy for her. I have prayed with her through her own loneliness and hopelessness that it was an absolute joy to see her so happy and in love and loved right back. But there are honestly times when I begin to wonder when will it be my turn? Have I missed my opportunity?

I want to be married. There, it's out there, I've said it. But, that hasn't happened yet. The reality of my heart's desire is clashing with the reality of my life's circumstances right now. This clash surfaces in me a lot of feelings, of which loneliness is just the beginning. It is also prime opportunity for me to begin to feel disappointment and blame.

I was reading in Matthew 15 the story of a woman who approached Jesus and his disciples requesting healing for her daughter who is plagued by a demon. I feel like I can relate to this story on so many levels:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

There are many days that I feel like this woman. Instead of feasting at the Lord's banqueting table, instead of being one of his children I feel as though I am a Canaanite outsider waiting, like a dog, for a crumb to fall off of the master's table, for him to think of me after he's done taking care of those more important than me.

I know in my head that this is an absolute lie from the pits of hell. I know in my head that the Lord's heart for me is life and life abundant and that I am seated at the table with the father and not a dog searching for crumbs. When Jesus was speaking to this Canaanite woman, he was not saying that he would only help Jews (in fact, the fact that he does help her shows quite the opposite). He was not calling her a dog (he was actually using this as a metaphor). What he is saying is that the time for the message to spread beyond Israel had not come yet; that the Jews needed to hear the message first. But, this woman was persistent. She had huge faith and like many, would not give up until Jesus gave her what she needed. I have a lot to learn from this woman.

There is a disconnect between the knowledge of the truth of my position in Christ between my head and my heart. I feel like there is a block from this knowledge traveling the short distance from my head to my heart.

A lot of this boils down to old patterns of how I see the Father. Somehow I've forgotten that I am now adopted by Christ and no longer a slave (or dog) but a daughter. These old thought patterns are firmly rooted in my growing-up years and how I was given love/blessings/gifts as a child. I often was left feeling as though I were just short of being good enough, and praises and love were given many times as a reward for something I had done rather than just for being who I am.

This leaves my view of the Lord distorted too. It leaves me questioning: is he good? Is he pleased with me? Have I done something wrong? Do I have to earn his love? Does he have my best in mind? Is he a God who withholds?

Most of the time I can spew the answers to those questions out with the best of them. It's on the hard days when my eyes, circumstances and feelings tell me otherwise that the true beliefs of who God is and how he sees me that dwells inside my heart reveal themselves.

I know I get way better than crumbs and leftovers, but do I really *know* that? I mean *know* in my heart beyond just head knowledge.

So I am crying out for the Lord to have mercy on me and praying he meets me just as he did the Canaanite woman.

Monday, May 04, 2009


I am right in the middle of making a couple of decisions about my life and where it will lead in the next few years: 1. a possible job here in Tacoma that will mean that I am firmly committing myself to being "on the ground" here in the city for the next few years and 2. possibly just continuing my random job stuff, but freeing me up to be involved in missions things as well as any Call2All Next Generation beginnings that will probably take place here in Tacoma starting in November.

I have been, however, feeling woefully incapable of hearing God's voice lately. Well, lately, as in the last year or so minimum. Maybe even closer to to two years.

I had some wise counsel from a friend though, who encouraged me to ask "What do I do?" rather than bringing my specific options to the Lord and asking Him which one to choose. So, I did that the other night and felt in my spirit a clear direction: "Be available."

I am certain the Lord meant be available for ministry, though the singleness-factor is almost always in play :D This does not give me an immediate answer to my job choices, but I think is a clear focus from the Lord to just worry about what He is asking me today and the rest will take care of itself.

So, this week presents my first two opportunities to just say yes when I am available. On Friday we will be presenting a drama after school at a local high school as an outreach. I just happen to not have to work on Friday, so I am going to the school to pray for people after the drama is over. I am also going up to Seattle tomorrow to pray for people after a class as well.

I am most excited about the drama. It debuted last night at church and the end of it includes the "Everything" skit. I weep every time I see this and last night was no exception. I really and truly bawl. It is kind of embarrassing, actually, how hard I cry.

I have included a link to the video of another church doing the same skit.