Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not Speaking Up

My husband and I have been on a journey over the past 11 months. Last October, I quit my job. I very much felt that God was leading me to do so. It was a job that paid relatively well and made use of the master's degree for which I had worked so hard.

After 11 months, several job interviews, but no viable job - we believe God has given us a plan. Part of that plan is joining the counselor at my church and doing some counseling part time. I have been given unbelievable favor here and am so grateful. The other part of the plan - the keep us afloat financially part - is working in food service.

I have this ugly beast in me - it's name is Pride. I can feel it in my chest and it makes me slightly sick to my stomach when it begins to stir around. Pride whispers "you are a failure to have this job. You have your master's degree!"

My inner beast reared it's head today while behind the counter at my "day job." I'm bebopping along enjoying the pace and the people that food service offers and in walk two leaders from my church. Both of them end up being helped by someone else, but I feel I should say hello. Both say my name and then get a surprised/confused look on their faces. In this moment, Pride would have me say "hi there (name)! You didn't know I was working here? I am doing this because I really believe that God wants me to be a counselor at the church. And I can be such a witness to the people here....." It would have been honest. But I am learning to not try to justify myself to others, so I kept my mouth shut. And my beast was hurt - and so was I a little.

I know Jesus has something for me here. I pray that He would keep me open to learn from this situation.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


This passage has been stuck in my head for the past couple of days since I read it:

"The Lion of Judah in His present risenness pursues, tracks and stalks us here and now. When we cry out with Jeremiah, 'Enough already! Leave me alone in my melancholy,' the Shepherd replies, 'I will not leave you alone. You are Mine. I know each of my sheep by name. You belong to me. if you think I am finished with you, if you think I am a small god that you can keep at a safe distance, I will pounce upon you like a roaring lion, tear you to pieces, rip you to shreds and break every bone in your body. Then I will mend you, cradle you in My arms and kiss you tenderly.'"
-Brennan Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus

I can imagine that this imagery is troublesome to many. It is certainly more ferocious than we tend to view God. But to me it is welcome and beautiful and makes my heart cry out "I love You, Jesus!" I know myself - my tendency to choose the easy, the safe, the comfortable, the controllable - even when it comes to God. But praise Him, He knows me too and loves me and will not let me be content with a tiny, confined little world - however appealling it may be.

The above passage reminded me of a sonnet that I first read in college. In Manning's passage, God is speaking to us. In Donne's sonnet, the speaker is, I think, begging for God to pounce on him in just the way described above.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
-John Donne

Are you like me? Are you afraid that God will break you and yet you somehow long for it? It may be that this is the human condition.