Monday, November 05, 2007

Still Reeling...

What do you do when everything you know and believe gets turned on its ear?

I am a black and white person who has lived long enough to know everything is NOT black and white. However, in my heart of hearts, I must confess that I do think some things are still black and white. Alot of things. Especially as Christians, the world is mostly black and white, right? The more I read, study, walk and talk with God and live I am discovering that no, it really isn't. This is very challenging to me. I have been taught so many things for so long, it is hard to read the Bible and not read those things I've heard all my life into it. BUT THEY AREN'T there. Here are the biggies I am dealing with:

1. Drinking was as common in Biblical times as breathing. Jesus turned water into wine(really good potent wine, BTW), so the guests could drink even more than they had already been drinking. Everything was celebrated with large amounts of wine. All feasts included large amounts of drinking. Jesus drank alot of wine. Perhaps you have been told that they could not drink the water, so wine was like their water. This is untrue. There are lots of water stories throughout the Bible as well. Drinking was simply not the big deal it is made into nowadays. I would even go out on a limb and say that nothing divides the Christians from the rest of the world so completely as the issue of alcoholic beverages. I am praying for God to show me the balance in this as this is SUCH a HUGE deal to me that I can't even go into detail about how strong my feelings are in this arena OR how bad it will rock my boat if I have been wrong and unfair in this area-both to myself and others.

2. I don't have to be perfect or even striving towards it for God to love me, save me, and even use me to bring about his message and will. God loves me, imperfections and all. Some of my biggest flaws? He created me with them. I think he knew if I wasn't this strong willed, opinionated bag of wind, I would not have made it through the things I have made it through. I have spent 35 years trying to be more palatable to as many people as possible. I have lamented who I am, what my personality is and dreamed of the day I would be calm, quiet and serene in the spirit of God. I have also figured with enough "good" parenting, my kids would change into these different perfect little angels as well. I just figured I was a very "bad" parent and that is why they are not.

There are more things, but right now these two are all I can handle right now. Number one shames me for all the haughty pride and judgement I have felt, spoke about and convicted others with.

Number two, well loving your neighbor as yourself isn't very hard when you have been hating yourself for as long as you can remember. However, loving myself as a child of God and others as my brothers and sisters no matter our station in life, mistakes, addictions, personality, looks, smell, etc. is a much taller order. I don't want to love everyone. I don't even want to love alot of people. In fact, I really truly LIKE very few people. I want them to like me, but that does not mean I like them. My heart is being re-tooled and it is a very tough transition. I thought God would really CHANGE ME-my personality, my habits. The whole "refiner's fire" thing. I did not realize he would accomplish this through changing my thoughts and attitudes toward others. I have been selfish selfish selfish. "Make me a better person, Lord." has been my prayer forever. The prayer I thought I was supposed to pray. Focus all on me. MEMEMEMEME. Me be more Christlike. Help me do better. I did not realize that is NOT where my focus belongs. God has a plan for me. If I focus on him and his will, me becoming a better person will be a by-product. This life is NOT about me finally becoming a good person, it is about God. Helping Him accomplish His will through me is my job, not being "good".

For most of you, this is nothing new. Perhaps you have known all of this all along. I would love to hear about you and your journey.


hulagirlatheart said...

I've spent much time in the last year assessing my spiritual journey. I have decided that I will not "arrive" soon, that the journey will take the rest of my life and that some days I will soar and other days I will drag along in the mud. I have found that focusing mostly on doing good for others keeps me from dwelling on my shortcomings and molds me when I don't even realize it. My prayer for you is that you will learn to love and accept yourself, that you will be patient with yourself and that you will take time to relish the surprise blessings each day instead of worrying so much about your journey.

Dr. Deb said...

God is a very spiritual experience for me. Rounding out my life and giving me insight and support. I consider God a lifelong companion, one who helps me find the best in myself and others.

Jen, Fred, Jennifer or Mom said...

Hugs dear......I too struggled with some similar issues. I felt I wasn't a good enough Christian for a long time.....but then I realized there is NO SUCH THING as a 'good enough" Christian.

You either ARE or you AREN'T.....and that is a decision we make.

The question isn't are you a good enough Christian....the question is are you a Christian? Do you beleive in God? Do you TRY to do the right thing and follow Jesus' example????

We are not perfect, God knew that and THAT is why Jesus died on the cross for us, because otherwise we would never be "good enough". Jesus, having died on the cross, made us all 'good enough', IF we choose to beleive in Him and the GIFT of forgiveness that is ours.

As far as alcohol goes....everything in moderation. Excess, glutony is not a good thing....

anyway hugs to you, I wish we could sit and chat, I think we could talk for hours....

Deborah and Sally said...

Good for you Janice !! What I mean by that is, the fact that you're willing to explore within your own walk with the Lord that maybe somethng's "off" or wrong is great.

I've come across so many people (a lot within my own family cirle) and they are SO quick to throw judgements around. They want to tell everyone how they should be living their lives and how much of a sinner "we" are.

Yet these same people are the ones who think because they have hair past their rear ends and wear skirts to their ankles, their holier than thou. Yet, their lives are a mess, to put it very mildly !

I think that one of the hardest things to do is to realize what we've believed for so long is wrong.

We don't want to believe we've been lead astray or just taught the wrong thing.

I used to try to be perfect and I realized through many failing that there's no such thing !

All I can do is give it over to God, allow Him to change me and through doing that I'm becoming the person that I've always wanted to be.

From my experience, there's really no other way to change. It has to come from within, from the Lord or its not really change.

As far as what you said about how your beliefs may have effected other people. I've been there (not with drinking but other things) and I think that's just part of the Lord dealing with us.

He has to show us our pride and how deep it goes. The only way to do that is bring it to the surface. You can always make it right with those you may have effected. Even that process (of admitting we were wrong to people) really breaks down pride !

Don't get down to hard on yourself though, this is just part of growing and changing and it comes from the Lord.

It'll probably only get worse before it gets better, but if you just continue to search out the truth then you can't go wrong !:)

I think we (as christians) should question things that don't "sit right" within our spirit. We should search out the truth, and if the truth doesn't reflect what we are doing or believing then I think we have a "duty" to question. And not be afraid to question those things/people. Ultimatly, it may cause us to change the road we're currently walking, but if it comes from the Lord then it can only be good !!:)