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thankyouJesusformycolleagues moments in week three of Philly;

[1019] worrying about if I’ll eat lunch by myself because Kathleen didn’t pack lunch and is going out with her friend. Matt asks the boys if they’re going out to get lunch and when they say yes, he asks if they’re going to eat outside or bring their lunches back. Chris immediately replies, “yeah, we’re bringing it back,” then glances at me and asks if I packed and when I reply in the affirmative he repeats, “yeah, we’ll bring it back.”

[1020] Colin asks me what’s up when I’m panicking over how to mute myself during a conference call. I don’t voice that I am confused but I shake my hands and head in despair and he hurls instructions at me. It doesn’t work and I resign myself to the fate of holding my breath for the next three hours. A few seconds later, he looks up and tells me to press F4. It works, thank the Lord.

[1022] I comment that I am tired and Kathleen puts her hand on my shoulder for a brief moment as she empathizes with me.

[1023] Matt comes over multiple times (I am interrupted from jotting this down in my phone by him coming over for the seventh or eighth time to give me a stack of folders for future use) to check on me or give me helpful tips or supplies. He finds me an adjustable chair and adjusts my monitors according to my preferences.

My coworkers were one of the things I dreaded the most coming to Philly. I feared not being able to get along with them, eating alone during lunch, struggling by myself and figuring out how to do things on my own, etc. I work forty hours a week; the majority of my life is spent around these people and if I don’t like who I work with, I don’t like life. God has shown me so much mercy and grace in allowing me to spend three weeks with them, holed up in a conference room, randomly spouting out weird thoughts and getting to know each other. We play MASH and hangman, take personality tests, talk and argue about dating and marriage, etc. We learn more about each other as the days pass by and I realize that I adore them but I still need to learn how to love them. They all seem to have this uncanny ability to care for me without even trying and I find myself spitting out random thankyouJesusformycolleagues every time I interact with them.

I have been very, very blessed these few weeks in Philly and absolutely overjoyed with what has been happening and unfolding in my life. Thus said, it makes me very confused when I experience a mini breakdown at the end of each week. Perhaps my spirit is not able to handle the amount of joy I’ve been experiencing and so as a result, I weep.

But, I know in my heart that God is trying to tell me something; I just for the life of me cannot figure out what it is (or more truthfully, I am too frightened to find out). For the moment, what I have made sense of so far is this;

1. 

I believe intellectually that God is good but in my heart, I have deep wells of doubt. In a desperate prayer for God to reveal Himself to me, I tell Him He has three minutes to show before I give up. Before the three minutes are up, He makes known to me that I have absolutely no intention to wait; I had already given up on Him the moment I expressed my prayer because there was no part in my heart that believed He would come through. It terrifies the life out of me as I am suddenly reminded of the verse, “these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” I say “God is good” and then fester in my heart because it beats, “He is not.”

2. 

“He’s going to have to take it from me because I don’t know how to give it to Him,” I tell Carolyn and she responds that I don’t have to give anything to Him, I just have to surrender to Him. I stare at her and think in my head what in the world it means to surrender. “Just tell me what to do God, just give me a word-for-word written manual with clear cut instructions and then I’ll do them. Please Father, I’m desperate,” I think as I look up towards the heavens in frustration. He makes known to me that I have to let Him heal me and I balk.

Healing. Hurts. Like. Crap. I mutter this to myself and realize that even if He gave me instructions, I would disobey because I am not ready. I am not ready to let go or surrender or do whatever it is He wants me to do because I want to stay in this happy place for a just little bit longer.

3.

I can literally feel (yes feel, not smell) the stench of my sinful nature and the wickedness that lives in me. I feel like I am drowning in sewage. For a second, when my head tells me that God loves me despite the smell of my sin, I think in my heart, “It’s too good to be true. It cannot be true.” How can our God be this good? How can He be so kind and forgiving? It sounds like a fairytale, a work of fiction. I am not able to understand it.

And then I think if it is true, then I’m saved. I’m set. Regardless of where I am, regardless of what I am doing and how far I fall, God will stop at nothing to bring me back. Regardless of how much I lather myself in dirt, grime, and mud, He will still pour His Spirit into me and cleanse me. There is nothing I can do to work my way into His arms because they are already open.

The place I am in, He has put me. The cracks in my heart, He engineers. The doubts in my faith, He will eliminate. In time, in His perfect timing. All I can do is pray and wait.

Every day, the Lord opens my eyes to the grace He has for me. He gives me so much hope.

Christianity is not about our disciplined pursuit of God, but about God’s relentless pursuit of us – to the point of dying on a cross for us that we might become his friends.

[EHS, Peter Scazzero]

In my (not so) disciplined pursuit of God, I realize more and more of how undeserving I am of His love. I am shown not only how much I suck at being a Christian but also how much I suck at being a human in general. I’m hideous. But, God chases me down, not to put me on trial and condemn me for my ugly nature, but to touch me and to heal my broken heart and tell me, “I don’t care; I want you and I love you.”

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