evaluation… its the key to being and staying true.
i wrote that last post as a knee-jerk reaction… the ordinary noises faded out around me until all i could hear was my own heart pounding in my chest and the thoughts colliding in my mind. i sat down and stiffly typed the message, wondering if it would be my last.
the words that had been spoken echoed and haunted me. i had been flatly accused of using the blog to boost my pride…accused of writing to receive comments of praise… accused of having nothing to say. it wounded me. it also made me think. (its often the case that those things come as a package deal)
i have been rolling those thought around in my mind like i was investigating an unknown object in my hand. did you ever have that contest at school- who can classify the most objects from a box just by sticking your hand inside and feeling them? (this is also a common baby shower game, i am ashamed to admit. ) well not unlike those activities, i have been investigating those words.. looking at them from different viewpoints…trying to objectively think about the thoughts and intentions that live in my heart…wondering what morsel of truth might be lurking beneath the surface or if it was nothing more than hatefulness… i have been handling the words so much that the sharpness has been smoothed from their edges and the offense in me has died down and evolved into a real question. why i am i doing this?
shawn read the message on the blog and that night after we had watched a couple of episodes of lost (yes, we are addicted now, thank you very much beph!) he asked me what i was doing. i didn’t really say much, which is fairly uncommon for me. for the first time in a long time i really didn’t have an answer. maybe i was trying to hurt the person who assaulted me with words…maybe i wanted to give up writing altogether…maybe i was scared their might be truth in the words…i considered those options decided all of them were at least partially at play and finally came up with, ‘i am thinking.’ he held me close and gave me his opinion. ‘i don’t think you write just to get praise. i think there’s a call on your life. i think it matters. i wish you would write more.’
his comfort eased the internal bruising, but people you love give you the benefit of the doubt. after a couple of days i have discovered that my motivations are like the tangled box of musical chords in my husband’s studio. at first glance it might look like one giant chord(they all look alike), but start pulling and you’ll see an the ends of chords popping out everywhere… i watched him untangle a mess of them just the other day…it took awhile and when he had separated them all out he carefully wound up each chord. He used a few of these red velcro strips to make sure the mess wouldn’t recreate itself. “man, i need one of these for each chord.” i nodded in agreement and thought about my heart.
i wish i had some velcro strips to help keep separate each motivation that resides in me. ‘okay, here’s pride..let’s make that code that one with black…and here’s the for-God motivation, how about put the white one here…praise of men, yellow…’ etc, etc. wouldn’t that be nice? you know, the Bible says no one knows the heart of a man except for God…John says of Jesus that He didn’t entrust Himself to men because He knew what was in man. i have spent a couple of days, begining the unraveling process…grabbing hold of what appears to be the end of one motivation and asking God, ‘what’s this?’ i am finding that shawn and the author of the other words are both right. in asking God, i found that hiding behind the desire to love and serve Him and to hopefully bless you, that lurking there were two enemies that had previously gone undetected. one was, in fact, pride. and the other was its conjoined twin, human praise.
its odd to come to the understanding that the war of the universe…the one that rages on between good and evil, really does exist in a massively large scale and also within the confines of a single being. i found it in me.
i really do want to bless God. i have had that burning in me since i was 16. i feel it. i know its real. i had dreams of using words to fight the battle and then God took them away for a season (i believe) to both mature me and to mature the vision in me…a season of nurturing and shaping and strengthening those desires…and recently, He has given me back the dream. it has undergone some changes, but i recognize it none the less. the dream i had thought was mine now is undoubtibly His.
i talked to my mom this morning, who said bluntly ‘i was a woman of faith reading the Word at 5am but its noon now and it seems like everything is falling apart.’ we chuckled, she has a way with words. little joe has been doing so much better, but he’s starting to have some sort of anxiety problem – clinching his fists too tight, studdering horribly, worriedly looking all over for mom if she leaves for a few minutes- and today, on his 4th birthday, it was enough to make her doubt. ben, my 15 year old brother, told her ‘it could be a lot worse than a studder mom.’ we both agreed that was true. we talked about how struggle is what makes a person… as lame as it may be, i thought about a lost episode shawn and i had watched entitled ‘moth’. one of the characters was dealing with withdrawl from drugs and another character was holding onto the drugs to help him. he kept asking for the drugs- he begged for them and then asked the old man to just get rid of them so he wouldn’t be tempted. the older man showed him a moth cocoon and said that while he could easily widen the tiny hole in the cocoon and help the moth out, if the moth didn’t struggle it would lack the strength it needed to survive. i told mom about the episode. we agreed, ‘also true’. then my wise mother pointed out that lots of kids grow up in families where they get everything they need and a lot of times everything they want and they don’t realize their need for God. little joe and josh will not be able to deny their need for God. He has already saved their lives several times and they are 2 and 4. my words agreed with the truthfulness of her statement and my heart clung to them.
the first knee-jerk reaction to the minor pain a few days ago was the message i posted, the second following closely behind was to want to simply give up writing altogether. but then i talked with mom and got thinking that you often hear about the struggle from the the victory stance and not nearly as often when the soldier is wounded and fighting for his or her life… and maybe thats a good bit of the problem. and maybe its a war tactic…just maybe its Plan A for the Evil one. to get us to give up when its hard or at least to deal with the wrestling quietly, so as not to indicate to anyone else what rages inside. i wonder how i would have affected Paul’s life if he had never had a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to deal with? i wonder if he would have been the same man? i wonder what it would have done to his ministry if he had never come clean about it? i wonder if his honesty salvaged his calling? i wonder if it kept him from giving up?
i don’t want to give up. i know some people believe that you don’t have a choice, but that doesn’t ring true in my heart. others believe if you don’t do what God calls you to do, maybe someone else will just pick up the slack. i am not so sure. and even if someone else would do the things i feel God is asking me to do, why would i want to miss out on living out His dream for my life…why would i want Him to take the things He has impressed on my heart and give them to another?
so, let’s journey on. i am a very flawed human being who is constantly at war with herself. i feel like this could be the opening to a kind of AA meeting:
hi my name is kate. i am deeply flawed and in desperate need of God with every breath that i breathe. but despite those flaws i will take up my cross, deny myself and follow Him because i love Him and know of nowhere else to find the Life i crave.
feel free to join the ranks of the wounded who are pressing on.