I love honesty … well, I mostly love honesty … sort of. Let me rephrase that: I really dislike being lied to (I’ve had plenty enough of that in my life), and therefore if given a choice, I would prefer honest information (even if unpleasant) over a misrepresentation of facts or worse yet, a flat out lie. It’s a pretty good bet that you feel the same way too, right?
That’s why I’m so grateful that one of my readers (who is quickly becoming a precious friend) spoke honestly with me about her reaction to last week’s post. Of course, I knew what I was intending to say in last week’s post, but when you’re limited to just the 26 characters of the English language (no facial expressions, no inflections of the voice, no reaching across the table to touch a hand) not everything written is heard the way you intended it to be heard. Add to that the fact that we all hear information from the background of our own understanding (influenced by our history and experiences), and it’s totally understandable how she heard judgement in my words. The kind of judgement that says ‘if you still struggle with this-that-the other, then you’re not a very good Christian’.
If that were the case, I’m not a very good Christian either!
Sadly, I think that’s how many of us approach FAITH. We have knowledge of and are in agreement with what the Bible says, but when it comes to putting our trust (either emotionally, spiritually, or physically) in what we say we know and believe … well, if we were to be brutally honest with ourselves, maybe we don’t actually believe all that we say we believe. The Bible calls this “unbelief”..
Friends, I’ve experienced many victories during my walk with God, and it’s from lessons learned in the battle trenches warring for those victories that I tend to write. But believe you me … I’m no superwoman Christian. I still have nightmares from time to time, and like every body else on the planet, I’ve still got junk in the trunk. I wish I didn’t, and I try to keep it minimal, but I’ve reconciled to the fact that this side of heaven, I’m gonna have junk.
Oh, and lets not forget about “unbelief”. Yup, I’ve got that too. Just yesterday, I caught myself wanting to tell the Lord how alone I felt in a certain challenge I’m dealing with. How I feared that maybe I’d misheard Him (or just acted on my own wisdom instead of listening to the voice of Wisdom) and had instead taken a long walk off a short pier. That instead of walking boldly in faith, I felt the hesitation in my steps, as though I was anticipating the whoosh of kerplop at any moment.
Does all this truthfulness change the way God thinks of me? Is He surprised by my “junk” and “unbelief”? Does it disqualify me? Does your junk disqualify you?
I’m not a Bible scholar and I don’t claim to be a teacher, so if what I’m about to say offends you or your belief about who God is and what He expects from those who would claim to Christ-followers, then please just let it go in one ear and out the other. This is just my own personal conviction, born out of many long walks and talks with Jesus, and what I understand from Scripture.
I don’t believe God is all that terribly surprised that I’ve got junk in the trunk. Still. Even after all these years of walking with Him, I’m still hauling around a big old trunk of junk.
And unbelief? Well, there was a time when I used to get hung up on the fact that I didn’t have everything all figured out … that my mountaintop experiences didn’t last forever, and that sooner or later I’d once again be dragging my feet down in some nasty old valley again, wondering where God was and why He hasn’t rescued me yet. Maybe it’s maturity. Maybe it’s just fatigue. But now, when I’m feeling “wobbly” of spirit (wrestling with fear, doubt, and unbelief), I no longer worry about how much I’m disappointing God by not being the Super Christian that I wish I were (or that religion says I ought to be). Instead, I imagine myself as a small child needing to crawl up on Daddy’s lap and be reminded again how “big and strong He is”, how “un-wavering His love”, how “faithful His Word”. And like any Good Daddy, He doesn’t chide me for temporarily forgetting all those things … He simply re-affirms His Character as revealed in His Word, and reminds me that my identity is rooted in Him, as His Beloved.
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
~God of the Hills and Valleys, Tauren Wells
That’s what happened yesterday. I was tempted to give in to the voice of fear and doubt. I was tempted to speak failure over my circumstance. I was tempted … but thankfully I caught myself and instead I opened my mouth and spoke of His faithfulness to me over the years. I reminded myself of His Promises to me, and that He has never once left me uncovered or in need. I sang a worship song and praised Him for who He is.
And while the heavens didn’t part, nor did chocolate dollar bills fall from the sky, I did experience (once again) that my confidence in God (faith) overruled my confidence in the enemy (fear), and peace returned.
So if you’ve somehow gotten the impression that just because I blog about my faith, and a few people read what I write, that I am soon to be on the cover of Church-Lady Magazine …. sorry to disappoint!
I’m just a broken vessel, restored but still with a few dings and scratches (they add “character”), sharing from my own spiritual journey of faith.
If you’re ok with that, come on back next week. I’ve sketch out out a new piece and I can hardly wait to show it to you.
PS-in case you’re wondering, the Lord asked my friend to consider all that she’d read in my blog posts to date, and what she knew of me from our one-on-one conversations, and compare that to what the enemy was whispering in her ear. She had resolved the discrepancy on her own before we met up for coffee last week, but it was lovely to be able to talk it through face-to-face (and heart-to-heart). God also used it as a teaching opportunity for me, reminding me that as the blog has gained in popularity (PRAISE GOD!) I am now writing primarily to people who don’t know me and therefore I must be more thoughtful about my choice of wording so that His Character is upheld in my writings.
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.