Click here to read Part I.
Click here to read Part II.
Click here to read Part III.
In Part I of this series of posts, I said,
“The Lord is deciding to wreck my view of Him. He is correcting the lies I have believed about Him so that He can get into the depths of my soul, a place I have knowingly and unknowingly denied Him access since I became a Christian at age thirteen.”
To get to my soul, first, He broke me in these areas (Parts I, II, and III of this series):
1) My Superhero Complex (my ability to work hard, do things well, and usually succeed)
2) My “Understanding” of Myself (“I’ve been through counseling, I’ve totally got a grip on this!”)
3) My Solitude Complex (I’ll ask my friends, they’ll know what to do…)
Now, we get to move on to the second thing He has done…
A Bit of Vulnerability… Part IV
Second, He revealed “why?”…
“Why?” Pt. I
I’ve always been terrible at doing all the Christian-y things you’re supposed to do: reading your Bible, praying, confessing sins…you know the list. A couple of months ago, He showed me via the persistent questioning of a friend, why that was: I was afraid of Him. I don’t read His Word because I’m afraid of it. I’ll pray for other people, that’s fine. But talk to Him about myself? I’d rather run ten miles with no water break. (I’m very out of shape. I would probably severely injure myself if I tried to do this). I didn’t know why I was afraid. I just was. So, upon that realization, it was time to suck it up. It was time to read His word. So, I started a Bible reading plan thing-y.
And it was terrifying. I would sit down at my desk to read and I would, literally, start shaking. I would have to, as the children here say, “psych up” to read the Bible. As I persisted, it became a bit easier and less shaky, but it was still terrifying. So, I had one piece of the “why” – I was afraid – but as to what I was afraid of, that didn’t come until about ten days ago…
“Why?” Pt. II
My mom recently sent me a USB full of YouTube videos. We pay for Internet by the megabyte here in PNG, so my mom dutifully downloads videos from my favorite Youtube stars and sends me a USB with each package. My mom’s a rock star.
On the most recent USB, there were videos from a web series called “New Song Café.” Christian artists are interviewed about the writing process of one of their songs, they play an acoustic version of the song, and then go through how the parts of the song are played. While watching one of these, the Lord decided to hit me with a mack-truck of realization. In an interview with Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture, they were discussing the song “Rooftops.” She was talking about how the song was written by a fourteen-year-old and how it was just full of youthful excitement and she said,
“We all remember that first time we surrendered our lives to Jesus, the first time we found Jesus and that excitement that I belong to this bigger picture, to this bigger family, and I’m an orphan no more…”
And as I thought on that, I quickly realized, that wasn’t my salvation experience. I got baptized when I was six, after a Vacation Bible School. I distinctly felt the Holy Spirit telling me to get baptized and to “be saved,” but the catalyst of it was, “I don’t want to die and go to hell.” Then, when I was twelve, I was at my Christian school’s student leadership retreat for grades 7-12 and Jesus showed up. The older kids were getting very vulnerable and sharing deep hurts and concerns and questions about their faith and it was a wake-up call to me of, “My relationship with God should be deeper. I’m not a kid anymore. It means something. I need to go to church.” But that, again, was out of duty and my reaction to the Holy Spirit’s prompting was guilt. And even now, when I think about the fact that I’m His, that I do belong to Him, that I am a part of this bigger family, that He has called me to Himself…the excitement that I should feel is clouded by this nagging sensation that I need to “uphold my keep.” I feel as if I were reluctantly chosen to be on a kickball team and now I’m trying super hard to be good enough so that the team captain doesn’t regret picking me.
And it’s in this place He revealed why I wasn’t giving Him access into the depths of me:
I was afraid if I sought Him, He would confirm that He, in fact, did regret picking me. I was afraid that Scripture and prayer would confirm that He viewed me with disappointment. I was afraid of never being able to give Him something that glorified Him.
And it’s that last one that really got to me – not being able to give Him anything – that He used to rock my view of Him. And He did so, of course, with an analogy…
“Why?” Pt. III
(The following is a direct excerpt of an e-mail I wrote right after watching the interview with Kim Walker-Smith. Forgive the terrible grammar. I was crying all over my computer.)
A kid wants to get his mom a gift. And the dad gives the kid an option: Help dad pick out a necklace or jewelry for mom. But the kid is like, no I want it to be from me. So the dad says, ok, you help me pick it out and use some of your allowance to pay for it, then it’s from both of us. But the kid says, no, I’m going to give her something on my own. So the kid slaves and slaves and slaves away on this drawing. We’re not talking stick figures, we’re talking this kid wants to make a beautiful picture for his mom, so he is concentrating and giving his best and works for hours and hours. So which was the better decision for the kid? To be a tiny part of giving the necklace that the mom will cherish and wear forever? Or to have worked on something that, while the thought will count, that picture is going to end up in the trash at some point?
So I guess in that analogy, the mom represents God, the dad is the Holy Spirit, and I’m the kid. And now, after posing that last question it’s like: The kid could have done both. But what the frick does “both” look like when you take it out of analogy land and into practical relationship with God?
The phrase I just thought of was, “the Holy Spirit feels like cheating”…
And with that, the last part of why I deny Him access was revealed: I’m afraid the Holy Spirit is a loop-hole. Anything done with His help and guidance doesn’t mean what it should to God because I should be able to do things on my own. It is out of disappointment that He has given me the Holy Spirit so that I can do what I should already be able to.
So, first, He broke me of things that I used to make-up for the fact that I wouldn’t run to Him. Second, He showed me why I wasn’t running to Him. Now, it’s time for reconstruction to begin…