Friday, July 25, 2008

Practice What Thouest Preach

It's been a while. I could give the Christian answer, and say that with all the stuff I've been going to(Wheatstone/Rebelution) and preparing for(Jr Camp), and reading(The Screwtape Letters, Do Hard Things(again), Passionate Conviction, etc.), recently, I've needed some time to process. I could take the business route, and say that since my cousin moved in(the 15th) I've been trying to make her feel more at home (by *cough* playing video games).

And there's the truth. I've been somewhat avoiding this place. I'd mentioned in my first post that I struggled with a particular sin for six years. During that time I became a master at hiding. I've begun to finally overcome that struggle. The problem is, now I'm struggling with openness.

Even the Rebelution conference highlighted this for me, and it really didn't have much of anything to do with openness. When he asked if anyone would stand, I almost did. I got to the point where I said if anyone I knew stood I would. My mom did. Before I could work up the courage he'd already moved on.

Thinking about it, I was on an emotional high and didn't need to stand. It was the same sort of thing I'd done ten dozen and one times. One pastor's kid puts it that he was 'saved every time his dad preached'. My youth pastor says he 'wore out the rededication program'. My problem wasn't that I didn't have the precise exact spiritual high for being saved. It's that I'd walk towards God, and as life set back in, I'd quietly turn and walk right back to where I was. Sure, I'd remain in youth group, in helping at this or that ministry, going to this or that Bible study, but I'd stepped back. I just kinda watched myself go through it.

Was I no longer Christian because I wasn't on an emotional supercharge? Of course not, but that's when I stopped acting like it. I went through motions because I hoped I would get that supercharge back, not realizing that wasn't what being a Christian was.

What does this have to do with avoiding this blog? Openness. I don't think anyone knows what various things I've tried to respark that supercharge. I'm pretty positive my parents don't know about the struggle I faced for six years. And I'm not sure if even I know who I am without so many panels of painted glass between me and everyone else.

And it terrifies me. The thought of taking those panels away, stripping away the secrets, so I can actually be a person, not a 'perfect Christian'. Afterall everyone around me is standing so tall. If they struggle it's probably something tolerable, like lying, or anger with their siblings. Not something so terrible as what mine is.

God views them the same, but we don't. And it scares me to death, wondering if they would look at me different were they to know the truth. Would they hate me for it? Would I be cast away? Would my parents even be able to look at me again? Shame. Guilt. Fear.*

My youth pastor tells us that everytime you teach on something, that's the exact thing you're going to face. I guess I didn't think of that when I started this blog, or quite how many secrets I had. You keep them so long, it's hard to remember where they end and you begin.

I began this blog telling you the importance of sharing your secrets. Now I'm pointing that same finger back at me. I need the same thing. So I ask that you pray for me as well, as I go through this same painful task, and perhaps, I can reveal what wisdom I gain from the experience.**

And mayhaps we may all enjoy a truer deeper fellowship, and in the walk of 'Do Hard Things', a more rewarding collaboration.

*A very small part of me says that I shouldn't because I don't want to make it seem like my parent's fault. I don't want to blame them. In a way, they did nothing to prevent it, certain events may have encouraged it. (But I still chose it.)

And no this part isn't really being charitable, it's just coming up with excuses.

** I'd mentioned that my friends and I had shared some of our struggles one night. But we didn't exactly move on from there in the right way, in some ways, at all. My next post is going to be about that, so don't worry if it seems I'm starting at the end.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wearied Heart-Seeker, Righteous Coward

This post is technically one day late, but due to the awesomeness of the internet, I can date it as yesterday. Why; because I'm somewhat of a neat freak.

Second, I mentioned with my last post some inspiration I had from Romans 4. I also had some inspiration from a friend of mine, some discussions we had before I left. For two reasons I decided to do this one first. One, it was more closely tied to the last post, and two, it provided some encouragement from Biblical examples.

Romans 4 gives us a view of two men, Abraham and David*. And while at first it's topic (justification by faith) seems somewhat off for this blog, I do have an idea of what I'm doing.

First David, because his more closely ties in. In Romans Paul quotes the Psalm David wrote upon knowing the intense forgiveness of God, after a time of hidden sin. For, at least, nine months, David had hidden his sins. Adultery, murder**. This was the man after God's own heart.

And yet, he'd stumbled, and he had fallen far. But rather than admit his sins, he hid them. Shame, guilt, fear, desire, whatever it was, he couldn't admit that he had been wrong. Not before anyone.

He describes it in the Psalm like this: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer."

This man was no longer after God's own heart. Instead he hid his own and tried to forget the past that was killing him. Until God took him head on. After an intervention by a prophet, David confessed, and though he still faced the consequences of his sin, God forgave him. Verse 5: 'Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah'

Verses 1 and 2 describe his great freedom afterwards. "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Not hidden away, but covered by the mercy of God. In whose spirit is no deceit. Can you say that of yours? Can I of mine?

And Abraham. His example is not of something hidden away, but one can see the struggles in his life. Twice, for fear, he claimed his wife as his sister, and for it, kings suffered. But God called him righteous. And for what, a brilliant offering of his only son? No. Only faith, belief. He trusted God.

Oh if only I trusted God enough to leave him in charge of my secrets. But instead I scramble to hide them for fear that someone might know that I'm not the perfect Christian, but just human, like them. Sure I fear they'll judge me more harshly. I fear rejection, disgust. I even fear being chased from God completely.

But my bones are groaning, and my strength is sapped. My only encouragement is that, like David, God will forgive the guilt of my sin. I will rejoice, for my sins will be covered. And, like Abraham, my trust may be accredited to me as righteousness.

God's Blessings,

* I could mention a score of other characters throughout scripture, who would fit for this blog. But these two were my inspiration. So these are the two I (God?) chose.
** For those who don't know the story, David, when he ought to have been off to war, was wandering his palace when he saw Bathsheba bathing on her roof. Lust led to adultery, led to conception. So David sent for her husband, hoping Uriah would take his break with his wife. Uriah would not, so David instead had him killed, and married the widow once her time of mourning was over.