Posts Tagged ‘authenticity’

I determined long ago to name this blog Confessions of a Confused Christian. However, as I recently went back over many of the posts, I realized there was not a lot of confessing or confusion. Every post seemed to always resolve itself into total assurance. It seemed as though there was no real faith struggle that every i was always dotted and every t was always crossed. I admit that some of the reasoning is because I switched my primary means of communication from this blog over to Facebook. However, even there, I could see that most posts talk about how great my faith is and an outsider may think my faith does not waver.

So, here I am pondering this moment of how deep to go; how much to share. It is difficult to use written words as a form of communication because it is impossible to sense the tone and emotion behind the words. However, since the blog has the words confused and confess in it, I feel it is only appropriate to confess my confusion. Sometimes I really struggle in my faith. I struggle in my relationship with God. I often do not see relevance in the church. When I read the Bible, I am often confused. I read of a church in the first century that seemed so honest, so real yet I see much of the church today being so superficial. I see people in the New Testament fighting for what they stand for, and I see so many Christians today fighting about what they are against. We rally and protest and get loud and rarely love, I mean truly love. We are well known for what we are against, but rarely show what we are for. That confuses me. Am I supposed to stand in a line and picket the abortion clinic, or am I to present a cup of water to a hurt woman who just made the decision to abort the baby? Which would Jesus do? If I show love to her am I now saying I support abortion? Must I yell and spit so I can prove I am a Christian or was Jesus actually telling the truth when he said they will know we are Christians by our love?

The truth is I am often confused. I have been hurt. I have felt abandoned and betrayed. I have been hurt by the church. I have bought the lie that I had to be against all the things I am supposed to be against and somewhere along the way I have forgotten what I am supposed to be for. I have often tried to please church people and in the process have found myself drifting further and further away from who God has truly called me to be. I have been hurt by the church. I have been hurt to the point that it is often difficult to differentiate if it is people or God who is hurting me. Why must it be so difficult?

One of my favorite verses has been Psalm 30:5 which declares, “For his anger lasts only a moment,but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” What a comforting thought to know that joy comes in the morning. However, sometimes it seems that morning will never come. I often identify with the poet Emily Dickinson who penned these words: 

Will there really be a “Morning”?
Is there such a thing as “Day”?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called “Morning” lies!

Will morning joy ever come? Or will we just remain in tears of mourning? Will joy find it’s way into our lives, or are we destined to lie in constant wait? I confess that God confuses me and His word sometimes troubles more than it comforts. There are times in our lives when it hurts so much we just can’t see the joy coming. We feel the pain and experience the darkness which seeks to consume us. So we wait. We sit in the dark of night waiting for the morning joy to come. We long to feel anything other than the current hell we are experiencing. We look to God, even in the midst of what seems like His silence and we wait. We hope. We look toward that morning light which will bring the joy. However, in the meantime, we wait and search for the place where morning lies.

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Making a Mark: Part 2

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

In case you missed part 1 of this post, you can find it here. Adam and Eve were taken captive to the idea that there was something more to be had. When their eyes were opened to the sin they committed, they tried to hide. They covered their bodies and they ran and hid from God among the trees in the garden.

There are some of you reading this post who have pursued more for so long that you are hiding. I know I have been guilty and if I look really deeply and honestly their are still area where I good at hiding my pursuit for more. I guess one of the differences between Adam and Eve and us is that eventually they confessed they were hiding.  Perhaps we think we are too smart to get caught or we are too proud to admit we are hiding – or maybe we are just ignorant. Maybe we have been pursuing more and hiding for so long, that we do not realize we are hiding – that we are fake.

There are times that we walk into a church building and sit in a pew. We sing songs of praise to God; we bow our heads and pray; we partake of communion; we drop a check in the offering plate – yet we are hurting. We are hurting because we are hiding. We are hiding our broken marriage; hiding our lust; hiding our addiction to pornography; we are hiding. We hide the fact that we have broken and disconnected relationships with our parents, our children, our spouses. We hide our jealousy and insecurities. We hide the fact that we are jealous because your car is newer, your house house is bigger, you have a better and happier marriage. This hiding tears us apart. It weighs us down. It is a burden, but it is all we know. We have been carrying it for so long that it seems so normal, so natural, or even comfortable.

We become so busy trying to our mark in life that we fail to realize that God has already marked us. He has already given us a way and a place to leave His mark. The mark we are seeking to leave must not be our mark, but God’s. Our mark is too small a thing to live for, but God’s mark is worth dying for. We are all living a mark. We mus decide what that mark is and whose it is.

The sin of Adam and Eve left a mark on all of us. Their mark of sin has affected every generation of mankind. Our pursuit of more leaves a mark on the world around us as well. We all want to be successful. We want to be the best. We want people to look to us for the answers. We want others to say, “wow that person really knows how to manage money. They know how to build a company from the ground up. That church really knows how to throw a big event.” Yet at what cost?

Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth deals with some issues that I think are relevant to us today. In 1 Corinthians, he writes how people are divided. The church is made up of these groups who each believe they are superior because of who they learned the gospel from. Some say they follow Apollos; other follow Paul or Cephas; some say they follow Christ. They are all falling into a trap. They are all seeking and pursuing more. They are all leaving the wrong mark.

In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul writes “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred.”Paul uses the plural form of “you” to mean the body as a whole. In other sections of his letter, he uses the single form meaning the individual person is the temple of God. If we are truly the temple of God; the place His Spirit dwell, then we need to seek to leave His mark and not our own.

If we are to leave His mark, then we must be honest and see where we need to grow. So now, let the examination begin.

Are you taking a time of rest? The Bible refers to this as sabbath. I want to encourage all of us to take a sabbath. Take a time to rest. It is so easy to get caught up in work, in life, in our pursuit of more, that we fail to really seek after God. Take a time of rest. Take time to reflect and refocus.

Is there anyway you have not loved yourself? Have you honored yourself as part of the temple of God? Or have you given yourself so much to your task that you are burned out, stressed out, and frustrated. Do you have that time when you cannot be reached; when you will not return a phone call, when you will not respond to an email; when you are having uninterrupted time with God?

How long has it been since you have taken a rest? Has it been a while? Are you tired? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Burned out?  Do you need to rest? Now is a good time. Stop what you are doing. Don’t worry about that email or answering that phone, you can reply later. Stop and focus. Tell God what is on your mind. Let Him know how tired you are. Tell Him how you need to rest. Admit that you have been pursuing more for so long that you forgot to rest. Be real with Him. He already knows all about you. He loves you still. Tell him how sorry you are for trying to hide. Ask Him to help you be real. Let Him make you into what He wants you to be and not what you think others need for you to be. He knows far more. He knows you much deeper. He is all that matters. Take some time to rest in your Heavenly Father’s loving arms.