I was so very blessed because I did not confuse God (much or for long) with those conditional folks. Maybe because when I faced challenges I found God to be whole when all the world was so broken. In whatever fashion it came about, Grace has followed me all the days of my life. I am so very grateful.
But it has left me with a deep and visceral dislike of wasting energy on the small stuff. And I have indeed found most of the bitterness and quarrels of life are about small stuff. I struggle to understand why anyone wants to waste precious moments and finite energy tromping through the swamp of discontent, demanding folks give what they do not possess.
The only thing I can imagine is this: it is that fear thing again.
When we fear at our deepest core that we are not enough, not good enough, not worthy...
When we fear that we will be exposed as less than we should be, would be, could be...
When we fear that we will never be any better than the inadequate person that we feel we are today...
When we fear that we don't have anything sufficiently worthwhile to bring to the table, any table...
Then it is hardly surprising that we spend a lot of time building walls to try and feel safe. Sometimes those walls are stony silence. Sometimes they are sarcasm and hateful words. Sometimes it is embracing anything that seems to keep the pain at bay for a while - be that self-medicating, shopping, self-righteousness, taking exception, being offended, aggrieved, miffed, resentful, insulted, huffy, or annoyed; or going on the attack, deflecting, redirecting, or blaming; or self-depreciating humor and all forms of personal drama. Wow, we can spend a lot of time and energy on things that feel like they keep us safer.
But in truth they just make us more alone, further from healing and reconciliation, further from the assurance and acceptance that we all need so deeply, so truly.
Maybe this is what brought me Grace at such a young age. You see, I really did not doubt that the people I loved loved me, but so many of them they were just so very inept at being Christ in my life that they left plenty space for the real deal.
Because a relationship with Christ calls us to heal, grow, risk, love bigger, be more quick to forgive and slower to assume defensive postures because our root system keeps going deeper, more securely anchoring our lives. The less we have to look over our shoulders to see if anything is gaining on us, the more energy we have for going forward. The more we understand the grace of forgiveness, the less energy we waste on trying to figure out if we are getting our fair share, because we realize more each day that God's capacity to love and willingness to love can never be overdrawn, run dry or expire. God does not screw up or give up.
So, if you are tired of trying to take care of yourself in a hostile and unreliable world, consider these words:
“Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.” Matt 11: 28-30
O Lamb of God, I turn my face to you seeking truth, understanding and hope that there is an easier way to live than the only way I know. Open my heart to possibilities. Stir my courage to try something new. Let no past sorrow or disappointment distract or deter me from knowing You in the light of truth. O Lord, can we talk? Here is what I don't get. Here is what I'm afraid of. Here is what seems impossible to me. So, what do You think? AMEN
* With appreciation for Dr. Seuss' Zooie