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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
A Little Understanding
"God will understand, my lord. And if he doesn't, then he is not God and we need not worry." That quote is from the movie "Kingdom of Heaven". It's easy enough to assign such thinking to a mistake that we've made. Whether we acknowledge our poor choice, or an accident has really happened, "mistake" is a temporary thing - not really a part of who we are.

What about those things that define us as people though that just don't sit well with us? Maybe we struggle with our weight and inwardly hate ourselves while we show the world our smiles. Maybe we hate others for being who we wish that we were, or maybe we really don't feel a thing when the rest of the world suggests that we should be more emotionally plugged in. We don't do all of those things that we feel that we're supposed to do.

We're not out feeding the hungry, caring for the widows, and working to stop global warming - we're in doing everything we can just to keep our own little worlds from becoming unglued and somewhere inside we don't feel like that is enough.

In social situations we're polite, well mannered, and keep our problems to ourselves. Sometimes our best friends know that we can't wait to get out of church to light up that cigarette (..or for that matter, that we cannot wait to get out of church!), that we cuss like a sailor, and that we just had a screaming match with our husband the other day in front of our children.

I used the term "church" loosely mind you. It could be any typically social situation where we're obligated to go in and share our more 'political' side. The reality is that those situations aren't set up to accept reality, much less to deal with it.

So how is it for you, when you're lying in your bed in the dark? Are you assured that God will understand? Or do you feel exposed and dirty - even less loveable?

There was a day when the latter was the answer for me. I was truly so shame-filled that I wouldn't lift my chin to look at the sky. I never thought far enough forward to consider whether God would still love me if I faced him, because I did my best not to get that far. I lived in fear of the day when I would have no more choice - the day that I would "meet my maker".

When I was a child, God was my friend and never left my side. But isn't it something? ..That I laughed when my daughter was two and covered her eyes so that I couldn't see her, and here I, as an adult, was doing the same with God.

I put God on hold, so that I could get my life in order - make it all acceptable. I felt responsible for me and everyone else in it. I worked to create that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving.. a long table filled with family and friends; warm lighting filled with laughter and love. I was so focused on that, that I utterly denied the reality that I was living.

There was no specific moment of personal salvation for me (from the hell that I was living that is) - that I am able to pin down anyway. There was a day when I learned that theologically, God does not condemn me, however there was something grander than knowledge at work which enabled me to accept it. I do feel that I have been saved though. I'm still the same old me, yet at the end of the day I know that God will (and does) understand. For that reason, I felt able to make the hard choices - for one to stop enabling.. but that's another story.

For a not so emotionally deep example, I was one that used to hide my smoking. I was worried about other people judging me and thinking me a bad person. As a matter of fact, I felt like a bad person when they judged me. I tried over and over to quit so that "I" could be better. I knew that it was bad for my health - and what a horrible person I was for injuring my health like that. When I felt that God would understand my smoking and the pressure was off to try and be a better person, I was able to quit. I haven't smoked in four years.

I'm a perfect human being. As a human being, I reserve the right to be wrong. He'll understand.
 
posted by Amie at 11:39 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


8 Comments:


  • At 5/01/2007 12:07:00 PM, Blogger Magess

    Whoa!
    I am so amazed, at the ability you have to put this into words.
    Your story sounds like mine, though I've lacked the gift to tell it...
    I'm still on the road to accepting God's acceptance...it's a daily choice.
    God got through to me about how much He wanted me to be ME. I have not understood why, cause I'm a mess. Yet, in Him, I know acceptance.
    In church, I was pushed away cause of the problems. They wanted to 'fix' me, yet in all the mess that was happening (divorce) I knew God was deconstructing my life, so He could build it back up better.
    I was an enabler of my husband's violence to our children. I live with the shame and regret that I didn't protect them, and myself, alot better. Yet...I didn't know how.
    Now, I am determined to find out His way...the way of Love, and Peace.
    And He has been amazing! My kids are healing....and our relationships have become something I never even dreamed could happen.

    Sorry, long response.
    I am so glad you wrote. Be encouraged!

     
  • At 5/01/2007 01:44:00 PM, Blogger Lydia

    That really touched my heart, Amie. Thank you for sharing it. :)

     
  • At 5/01/2007 03:06:00 PM, Anonymous Lyn

    Thanks for sharing that Amie. You write really beautifully. It's funny how we can put God on hold as adults, isn't it? I sometimes find myself saying "when the children are older I'll be able to do ....... more for you/with you Lord." I guess we have to prioritise more!

    Don't let them judge you honey.

    You're right, we are in our own little worlds. A lot of us are recognising that, hence the increase in people moving from outside of the church (trad) into something else.

     
  • At 5/01/2007 10:41:00 PM, Blogger Kate

    This is my first comment on EW and I am so encouraged by your honest words.

    I often feel like I need to keep God at bay, waiting for a better time to engage...as if God would walk in, shaking His head in disappointment at my messy house, troubled marriage, and many many other things that I try to hide.

    I am still trying to reconcile being myself and being a Christian - I always felt they were mutually exclusive!

    I KNOW He understands who I am (even if I struggle to) - thank you for the reminder :)

     
  • At 5/02/2007 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Thanks for sharing, I know we all can relate. My dad, who wasn't the "Christian" influence in my life, but who has had very great comments said something to me recently that made a lot of sense.

    He said "Isn't it nice to wake up everyday NOT feeling guilty?"

    His comment was in respects to my transformation. My family is the type of "Christians" who control, judge, and have their opinions. On the outside everything looks great, but if you knew the closet, the image would change drastically. I am learning, that unfortunately, our understanding of God has so drastically been formed by the people around us. In many "Christian" worlds our image, "fixing" our sins, being perfect, etc. is directly connected to our connection with God. It leaves many of us in a place where we leave God at a certain distance, until we are "right with God".

    I have found and am still learning, that ALL of us have SOMETHING(s). When we acknowledge this, and view God in a different light, we can embrace who we are. It is a freeing place when you embrace your "struggles", but let go of the guilt that comes with it. Actually, I believe that many times if you acknowledge and embrace, sometimes changes come quickly or easier, than when we live in guilt and fear.

    As for others and their judgements, sometimes we need to hear what others think, and sometimes it is not productive. I try to analyze those situations (is it someone who KNOWS me, do they understand the situation, do they show concern, or are they just judging...etc.) everything is situational. I am definately one who has struggled with "other's opinions of me". It's getting easier, but that is coming as I accept me, and my belief that God accepts me also.

     
  • At 5/02/2007 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Amie

    Magess,

    I have some very abusive family members. For me, it wasn't my husband that I enabled but I can completely relate with the shame and regret for not doing a better job protecting me and my children. My healing mantra has been "When you know better, you do better." We were not powerless, we did have choices, we just didn't know any better.

    My struggle is no longer about whether or not God accepts me. I rest easy now in actually being able to feel unconditional love (it took a while!). However, I still struggle at accepting myself. Just last weekend my daughter got a horrible sun burn because I didn't put the sun block on her before she went off to 'cheer camp'. Her pain was because of my mistake, and self-forgiveness for me just doesn't happen in seconds. I'm getting better at it, and am glad that you are making moves in the same direction. As Dr Phil says, "Life is not cured, it's managed."


    Lyn,

    I think that you do well in serving God every minute that you spend caring for your children. In the words of Jesus, "In so far as you did it to one of these, the least of My brothers, you did it to Me." I heard someone once say that for our kids, love is spelled "t-i-m-e". God is love and your attention to and for your children is not less, in my opinion, than the glorification of that Love.


    Kate,

    Your kind words (as well as everyone elses' - including Lydia!) I'm thankful that our efforts at keeping God at bay weren't reality. I mean, whether or not we believed that he would be there when we looked up, he was there. But that's a little bias of mine, haha!


    Michele,

    I think that more and more people are being connected to other people and know how unrealistic the "political" front is. For that reason, imo, our fronts are becoming more apparent to one another. What I find interesting, is that what we feel that we have to live up to is often much less interesting and loveable than just being who we are. To be authentic is to enable others to be authentic.

    I listen to all types of music. A recent song titled "The Kill" by 30 Seconds to Mars fast became one of my favs. I interpret it as being about the character's effort at living up to a potential girlfriend's expectations to win her over. She doesn't accept him as he is and the front that he puts on is "the kill" of him - because it's not him, it's the facade. The song is somewhat angry imo, because it's the inside of him crying out - ready to break out.

    I agree that there's always more to learn. And nowadays, I've accepted that others will judge. We all do, let's be real. If we say "Wow, that's a sharp pencil", we've made a judgement. When people judge me negatively, I don't join them in doing it. As you said though, there's something to learn from what they say, both about me and about them. Not concluding that I'm bad because they think it doesn't close my mind.

    I'm glad that I posted too y'all :)

    Amie

     
  • At 5/02/2007 02:14:00 PM, Blogger Amie

    I'm not sure how to edit my comment, if I even can. I noticed that I didn't finish a sentence, lol!

    "Your kind words (as well as everyone elses' - including Lydia!)".. are felt and appreciated.

     
  • At 5/03/2007 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Amie, thank you for this post.

    I often feel as if I'm the center on one of those spinning rides at the fair. Somehow I have to keep it all spinning and make sure I don't let anything go...anything. It feels so heavy.

    Then I remember that Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden light. It makes me realize that the responsibility I put on my own shoulders is just that, my own.

     

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