Wednesday, May 28, 2008

42 + 50 = What Did You Do With the Time I Gave You?

Tonight I am feeling rather philosophical, so you'll have to bear with me through what may appear to be random thoughts. I started reading a book yesterday entitiled, The Shack by William P. Young. It started out as just a typical book about a father who takes his kids camping when a tragic accident occurs. Then, through a strange series of twists that left me scratching my head wondering, "Now where did THAT come from?" the father ends up back in the same place where the tragedy occurred three years later, but the surroundings are vastly different. Without spoiling the book, or giving away the ending (I haven't finished it yet anyway), let me say that this book has caused me to examine my relationship with God in a new light.

There have been moments while reading that I have rolled my eyes and thought, "Puh-leeze! That borders on the ridiculous!" I've even been slightly offended in places that the concept of God would be treated so seemingly lightly! However, now that I am nearing the end of the book, I'm asking myself profound questions about my Savior. How do I think of the Holy Spirit and what role does He/She/It play in my life? How about God, the Father? And Jesus? What about Him? I tend to think of Jesus as the easiest one of the Trinity to love. He is the One who paid my debt, right? He is the One who went willingly to the Cross, right? He's the One who interprets my prayers to the Father, right? I can get my head around Jesus, but who is God? What is His nature? I know the Sunday School answers; God is love. Yeah, He is, but what is it like to KNOW Him? What is it like to see through His eyes?

There is a particularly moving situation in the book when the main character, Mackenzie, is forced to judge his children. He simply cannot do it! He loves them too much. This is similar to the way Jesus loves us. How guilty I am of judging others! Who am I to judge them? Who am I to judge anyone? Even murderers, rapists, and "bad" people. What about people who drink too much, use drugs, cheat on their spouses? I am in no position to judge anyone.

Another thought from the book-Do I do what I do because of what the world expects of me? Are my decisions to love people based on social boundaries of what is acceptable? Could I love people more deeply, more like Christ, if I was not preoccupied by what "people" thought? I see their hurt; I feel their brokenness; I want to reach out and comfort them, but at what cost? For the purpose of clarification to anyone who might misinterpret my thoughts- I do not mean to cross physical boundaries or provide physical comfort, other than a hug or hand to hold. I'm referring to demolishing emotional walls and allowing myself to truly know another person and allowing that other person to know me back. God created relationships in order for us to see a glimpse of Him on earth. I have tasted the initimacy of relationships that have Christ at the center and they are by far the best relationships I've ever had! My soul craves that kind of intimacy!

God is at work on my heart right now. He is teaching me that He is enough. He is growing me in ways that will help me better serve whatever plans He has for my life. Serving Him is my heart's desire! I want to be used by God. I want to be the proof to the doubters that God can take someone like me-ordinary, limited, full of faults, and make me into something useful to the Creator of the Universe! It's laughable, isn't it? To think that I, selfish, insecure, impatient, sinful Amy, could ever do anything lasting for the Kingdom of God. I have no idea what His plans for my life are, but I know He never wastes a hurt, and when I give up control and allow Him to be Lord in my life, He proves Himself worthy every single time!

About the time factor. I am forty-two years old. Realistically, I could have, maybe, fifty more years, should life go easy on me. Or I could die in my sleep tonight. I'm already feeling the effects of time on my body. A passing glance in the mirror tells me that I look more like my mother than my daughter these days. Time passes quickly, but it passes one single day at a time. What will I do with TODAY? Tomorrow is gone forever. There is no use looking back. Why worry about the future? All my thoughts of "What if..." are wasted thoughts. Today is it. This moment. Now. Am I going to continue to live for myself, or was I created for something more than that? I believe that God made me to fulfill a plan He made for me before I was born. The only way I can ever fulfill that plan is to give up my independence and live for Him every day. That doesn't mean that I will be perfect, or some scary holy-roller, crazy woman, it just means that I have to make a conscious choice every day to listen to His voice, to follow His steps, to refuse to listen to the persistent hiss of the snake who calls me to what I want, to what I think is best, to what I think I need. It is obvious to everyone who knows me that I struggle, and I fail...miserably...a lot! That doesn't mean I should give up, and neither should you. If you've read this much of my ramblings, maybe God is using my words to speak some truth into your life too. We can't even imagine what He can do with our lives when we turn them over to Him! For about the tenth time today, I'm laying it all down at His feet. I'm not looking back...I'm walking away from my pile of "junk"... I'm going...I trust Him...I'd better go to bed now before I run back to pick it all back up again! Good-night Wednesday. Thursday? I hope to see you tomorrow...

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