Monday, October 25, 2010

The Game

Today I played a game with God. I don't really know why. I had been feeling bits of joy lately so I thought, "Hey God, let's play a game. I'll tell You what I think of You and then You can tell me what You think of me. We'll take turns. It'll be fun. I'll start."

So I closed my eyes and thought for a moment. Then I said, "God, I say that You are my King."

I could feel God's smile as He caught on to what this game was all about. Then He said, "Oh yeah? Well, I say that you are My princess."

Ha! This game was fun. My turn. "God, I say that You are faithful." Then I waited for God to say something back to me but it seemed to take Him a long time. I got nervous, why did I want to play this silly game anyway? Princess was easy because it went along with King, but then I said faithful, and all that did was make me realize how unfaithful I am.

So I began to think of all the times I have been unfaithful to Him, but He stopped me and said, "I say that you are trying." Really God? You can see that I am trying? Because I am, but I'm not really good at it. Immediately He said, "It doesn't matter that you are not very good. What matters is that you are trying. Tag, you're it."

Ok, so maybe this game wasn't so bad after all. I closed my eyes and said, "I say that You are true." Uh oh! I did it again! Wrong one, why did I tell Him that? Now I was thinking about how I told a lie once that I never made right. What was He going to say this time? This game was a terrible idea.

But He looked at me and said, "I say that you are being perfected."

Wow, my turn again. This game was great. I was seeing a new side of God I hadn't really seen before. I decided to risk it and tell Him what I was feeling. So I said, "I see that you are full of love!"

And He turned to me and said, "And you, my princess who is trying so hard, and being completed and made perfect in Me, I say that you are lovable."

I like this game.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Remembering a Vision

This is a vision the Lord gave me a few years ago but the Lord just reminded me of it so I thought I would share it today.

It's called... The Sewer

I closed my eyes and immediately saw a sewer drain. I looked around and noticed I was in a big city. It was dusk and water was flowing into the sewer. The next thing I knew I was down in the sewer floating amidst all of the trash and debris. The sewer was filthy and I knew immediately that the trash floating in it represented the sin and junk of my own life. I was curious because I wasn't drowning, but I wasn't swimming either. I was just floating along with my own junk. There was a lot of it too.

Eventually the sewer drained out into a wide river. I thought, "This is good because eventually all of my sin will float away in the river." I looked around and noticed that everything was still with me, instead of the junk getting filtered out; it just seemed to continue to follow me. I desperately looked for a way of escape. I wanted to get rid of the junk, but it was still with me. I kept looking for an escape route because I hated floating with my sin. Far in the distance I saw a beautiful tropical island and the water around it was blue and pure, not a blemish in it. I knew I had to find a way to get to that island. It was like my very own Paradise Island. But it looked impossible to reach. There was a land mass and it seemed to be blocking the route to the island.

I kept floating and soon I came to a fork in the river. It looked like both of these paths would eventually lead to the island, but I couldn't tell for sure. I floated for a few more minutes as I pondered what to do, and then I heard the Lord tell me to choose a path. One would lead away from my sin and one would not. I took a closer look at the fork in the river and noticed that one path was very calm and seemed to be clear of debris, while the other path was full of rocky rapids that looked very deadly. I quickly decided to take the seemingly still path down the river, but as I floated towards it, my sin seemed to follow. I was confused. If I was hearing the Lord tell me to choose a path, then certainly He wouldn't want me to take my sin with me. But no matter what I did, the junk followed me.

Finally I decided to backtrack and take another look at the rocky path. Could this really be the way I was supposed to go? It looked so dangerous and terrifying. Then I heard Him say, "Trust Me." I was scared and in my heart I was arguing, but I decided to try the rocky path. I wanted to do anything to get away from my sin. I couldn't stand it any longer. As I floated down the river I noticed that my sin did not follow, but the water was choppy and I was afraid.

Soon I began to get hurled up against the rocks. It was very dangerous and my body was slamming up against the jagged corners of the rocks. I was starting to bleed and my body was aching with every blow. Finally I slammed into a rock so hard that I just couldn't continue any longer. I was bloody and bruised and I held on to the rock and cried out in pain. Suddenly I felt someone lifting me. I looked up and it was Jesus. I couldn't see His face but I could see the scar on His left hand. I couldn't see the other scar because He was holding me up with His right arm. I looked up at Him and cried, "I can't do this anymore, I don't know how."

I still couldn't see His face but I could feel the tenderness with which He looked at me. He said, "You're right, you can't do this. Stop trying so hard, and trust me." Then I passed out in His embrace. When I woke up I was lying on a beach. I was so dirty. My clothes were ripped, and my body was scraped and bloody. I looked around and noticed that the water around me was blue and pure. I was lying on the beach of my Paradise Island. I wondered how I had managed to get there and I started to get up. My body was in such pain that I couldn't rise to my feet and I just fell to the ground.

As I fell I noticed that I was right next to someone's feet. I looked up and I saw Jesus. He was standing there and I knew that He had brought me to the island. I looked up at Him and screamed, "What do you want from me? I don't know what you want!"

Jesus looked at me and said one word, "Worship," and at that I fell in a heap at His feet. I couldn't look up anymore, and I wept as I realized that I had been trying so hard to walk through life on my own, that I had forgotten what I was created for.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Breaking Out of the Mold

Lately my heart has felt very dead. Dead to just about everything. It's kind of a rough place to be in because I like to be alive, but I'm walking around feeling so lifeless. The thought came to me the other day that my brain needs a heartbeat. I can logically tell my brain to quit acting so down in the dumps and dead to the world, but no matter how many times I try to convince my brain to wake up, it just stays int this flat line state and no life emerges. So what do I do? How do I wake myself up and feel alive again.

It's quite simple actually, but yet just not something I have fully implemented in my life. My heart and my brain will wake up from this lifeless state as I gaze on the ONE who became life for all men. I get short breaths of that every once in a while, but I have that very human problem of forgetting the things the Lord reveals to me just about the minute He reveals them. I am weak, and I need His strength even to gaze on Him every day.

Last night, after an incredibly lifeless day, I went to bed and prayed, asking the Lord to wake me up. Kind of a random thing to pray when you are trying to fall asleep, but I am tired of my heart being weighed down and not engaging with a life-giving God and knowing His joy every day. I desire that life and I want that joy. After asking the Lord to wake me up, I had a peaceful night of sleep and I woke up this morning feeling like something was different. I didn't really know what it was, but for once I woke up on the right side of the bed and wasn't an automatic grouch in my heart toward all things living.

I ended up skipping the gym this morning because I tripped and injured my ankle yesterday and I am back in a brace for a few days. So I spent my morning relaxing, playing with the dog and cooking a delicious breakfast wondering why I felt happy, and how long it would last. Then I headed off to internship a little early so I could take my Bible to Starbucks and process some things with the Lord.

Well, everything that could go wrong at Starbucks did go wrong while I was there. It was fabulous. There was no place to sit, so I had to sort of squeeze in the middle of 3 business men in the couch area. Picture that one my friends! Then I had ordered a Pumpkin Spice Mocha, my all time favorite drink and something I don't get to enjoy very often on my limited budget, but I was given a Starbucks card so I thought I would indulge. Somehow when I said, "Grande Pumpkin Spice Mocha" the barista's brain interpreted it as "Grande 2 pump white mocha, 2 pump peppermint with extra sprinkles". I'm not one to complain about getting the wrong drink, but peppermint has got to be one of the worst things you can put inside coffee and so there I was sipping and gagging and trying not to spit my drink out on the suit of the business man next to me. I could do nothing else but go and talk to the Barista and stand up for my Starbucks rights. But I tried to do it with a smile and let her know that I understood she was busy. The good attitude worked well for me and I got a smile, a new drink, and a coupon for a free drink the next time I come in. How grand is that???

Anyway, all of that is to say that by the time I got to my internship I was feeling very much alive, a sensation I have not known for some weeks now. Somehow a switch got flipped in the night and God turned my happiness back on. He woke me up. Then I got to internship and I listened to a message by Allen Hood. He was talking about Jesus coming as a man and what that really means to us. And at some point he said, "You have permission to love Jesus" and he began talking about how Jesus came to earth so that He could relate to each of us and understand us. He said Jesus understands our quirks and He wants to relate to us on those levels. I sat there listening to the teaching and realizing that it's okay for me to love Jesus the way He created me to love Him. I don't have to be plopped in a love mold and enjoy Jesus a certain way. He created me and He delights in me, and He doesn't want me to change my personality and my likes and dislikes before I hang out with Him. He wants me as I am.

I think I've just grown up in a lot of molds, people putting me in boxes, and I listened to what people said. Sometimes I don't do the things I enjoy in life because someone else tells me that I'm not good at it or that I simply can't do it. I grew up being told I didn't have an imagination and that I couldn't sing, and that I wasn't a good writer. Those are all things I've believed and so I don't play, I don't sing and I don't write. Now by adult standards, maybe I don't have the greatest voice in the world, but who tells a 6 year old that they can't sing? Jesus never would have done that. He would have said, "SING LOUDER!"

And so now I need to gaze upon Him and listen to Him, hearing what He has to say about me, and no longer listen to the molds of my childhood. To some degree I've been boxed in, feeling so dead, but wanting to feel alive. I can't say I feel totally alive today, but I am beginning to breathe in the fresh air, and I know that He is waking me up and giving my brain a heartbeat.