But Rises Up Again

“Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

You’ve seen the commercials.  Often overacted, these advertisements present an elderly person lying on the floor just out of reach of their phone, or in my favorite  one, a man deliberately throwing his cane down the stairs.  Regardless of their quality as commercials, the danger presented is very real for many seniors.  Falling down the stairs when you’re 13 may sprain your ankle.  Falling down the stair when you’re 85 can be devastating.

People generally try to avoid falling down.  Our world is sprinkled with well-intentioned warnings to prevent pedestrians from falling down.  Use handrails.  Step down.  Caution:  wet floor.  Despite all these warnings, we can still trip on stairs, slip on water spots, and fall unceremoniously to the ground.  If you fell and injured yourself in a public place, you would ask for help.  “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

What bothers me is Christians’ reluctance to admit we’ve fallen spiritually.  We don’t want to talk about sin.  It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable.  Often, there’s an unspoken guideline in many Christians circles:  if you have problems, save it for the counselor.

Thing is we all have problems–of differing kinds, of differing intensities–but still problems.  God calls us to confess our faults to one another in James and in Galatians He calls us to bear one another’s burdens.  He calls us to edify one another and to be honest, not lifted up in pride.  In Philippians, He calls us to build one another up in unity and to be like-minded.

What keeps us from speaking with others about our struggles?  Shame?  Fear of being judged?  Probably it is a combination of factors.  But Christ has made an end to our sin.  He conquered death and sin on the Cross.  “In that He died, He died unto sin once, but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God” (Romans 6:10-11).  Rejection?  If we are in Christ, nothing can separate us from His love. “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate me from the love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”–Romans 8:38-39

God’s church should reflect His character and build each other up.  We cannot build each other up if we allow Christians to struggle in isolation.  Sometimes, Christians find themselves at a loss as to what to do with confession.  We want to help those who need it, but maybe feel unqualified to help.  Sometimes, Christians don’t want to open up about sin because we don’t want to “relive” it as it were.  I can’t tell you where the perfect medium is.  All I can do is encourage you to not be afraid to go to someone you trust and ask for prayer.  And if sin is overwhelming your life, don’t be afraid to say “Help.  I’ve fallen and I need help up.”

“When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Christ there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the Sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.”–Before the Throne by Vicki Cook

 

Mystery Man on Line 1

It never ceases to amaze me that some people do not understand the words “No-Call List.” These persistent, and severely annoying, individuals somehow found our phone number.  Perhaps they scoured an old phone book.  Maybe they call every number combination they can think of with our regional area code.  Whatever their method–or their madness–“they” have our number and call us several times a week.  Normally the first to the phone, I answer any unrecognized number with, “Who’s calling?”

Occasionally, they are honest and will say what company they are with and why they are calling.  Some of them just hang up.

Earlier this week, a woman called when we were expecting an urgent call from a doctor’s office.  Her voice was bright and friendly as she asked for one of my family members.  I explained he was unavailable but that I could take a message.  “I’ll call back at a more convenient time,” she said cheerily and hung up without saying her name, number, or intent.  I assumed that she was either from the doctor’s office and couldn’t discuss confidential information…or that she was selling something.  Since she wouldn’t say who she was, I was left only with my guesses.

Several hours passed and she called again asking for the same relative.  “May I ask who’s calling?” I replied.

“I’ll call back at a more convenient time,” she replied brightly.

I startled her by nearly shouting into the phone, “But who are you?”  The cheery voice at the other end hesitated slightly and then rattled off a long company name.  And then she hung up.

Although the mystery woman on the phone could rival Effie Trinket for cheeriness, I refused to give her the information she wanted because I did not know her.  I did not trust that company because I did not know them.  It is hard to trust someone you don’t know.

Sometimes, we view God like the mystery man calling us on the phone.  We hit crises we cannot manage.  Crises where friends cannot help.  We are told to trust God.  But cynicism kicks in and we scoff as if someone just told us, “Yeah, do whatever that mystery man on the phone says.”   But God is not a telemarketer.  He does not ask us to trust Him because He needs to meet His monthly quota of good deeds.  Quite the opposite, He asks us to trust Him because we need Him.

No stranger to dark times, King David experienced betrayal, injustice, and loneliness throughout his life.  Despite his love for God, he experienced times too where he did not “feel” close to God.  In Psalm 13, he pours his heart out to God, describing his anguish and his feelings of isolation.  Then he says, “But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.  I will sing unto the LORD, because He hath deal bountifully with me.”

Why does David trust God in the dark times when he does not “feel” close to God?  Because he knows God.

David doesn’t have to guess about God’s trustworthiness.  He has hope because he knows God–knows God’s character.  And that gives David security and rest.  After David pours out his heart, he worships Him.  David had spent time getting to know God, not just information about God.  Trusting God as a best friend and as a faithful king, David was confident that God would act according to His character.  David’s knowledge of God was not academic–it was personal.

Life is not easy or predictable.  Hard times will come to test you.  Don’t push God away until He becomes nothing more than a mystery man calling from an unknown number.  God tells the prophet Isaiah, “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth:  I said not unto the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek ye me in vain:’ I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” (Isaiah 45:19)  God is calling you.  He wants to help you.  He wants to know you.  You can trust God…when you know God.

Becoming Unscrewed

I love swivel chairs.

I really do.  They provide back support, stability, comfort, and entertainment all in one piece of imaginative design.   Swivel chairs components include such standard equipment as the 5-armed chair base with low-grade wheels–the seat cushion that elevates and deflates like a piston in slow motion–the broad (or narrow) seat cushion–and the wide back rest with a piece of iron drilled into its back.  Simplicity itself.  And this wonderful simplicity is undergirded by a plethora of nuts, bolts….and screws.

One very slow morning last month, I got to see what my swivel chair was made of…literally.  My chair had been squeakier than usual, groaning louder every time I adjusted my position.  I tried to ignore the chair’s protests and focused on the conversation with my co-worker, who we’ll call Ivy.  We were on the random topic of emotions.  I was just at the point of saying what an emotional basketcase I was in highschool when I stood to readjust myself in the chair once more.  As my weight hit the chair, I heard something metal hit the floor.  I felt myself pitched forward as my co-worker shouted:  “Stop!  It’s broken!”

The seat cushion nearly fell off as I jumped to my feet.  Ivy pointed at the thick screw under my chair, laughing.  In a few minutes, with the help of my pocket knife and Ivy’s Leatherman, we had repaired the unscrewed swivel chair.  (Fortunately we were the only ones there.)  Once the chair was standing upright again and we had stopped laughing, I started thinking about the appropriateness of the chair’s actions with our conversation.

Emotions are like swivel chairs…in a very elementary sort of way.  You go up and you go down.  But normally you stay within a certain range of visible change.  There are levers to push you up and down.  (Maybe you have a certain person in your life whose entrance or exit in your day causes an emotional boost or drop.)  And holding the levers onto the chair are a mass of nuts, bolts, and screws.  And while none of us have a metal appparatus to contain our emotions (unless you’re the Tin Man), we do have habits to prevent our emotions from getting out of control.  Maybe you count to 100 before answering your child lest you lose your temper.  Maybe you clam up and suppress all your anger until you can get alone with your journal and pour your frustrations out in a long, single stream of ink.

None of us wants our emotions too visible.  Swivel chairs that fall apart are really too tacky for our tastes, aren’t they?  But emotions are funny things.  And they’re also fickle masters.  No one relishes the thought of being ruled by emotions…but we often find ourselves in that state.  When things go wrong, we get ourselves rattled in situations where we can normally rearrange ourselves so as not to hear the squeaky screws.  Often we never really learn how to manage our emotions.  It’s all or nothing for a lot of people.  So we ignore the creaking nuts, the groaning wheels, and the worn out accessories to the point when the slightest movement destroys the illusion of our functional swivel chair.   Emotions spiral out of control.  And we’re left hoping no else sees.

Have I found the solution for this predicament?  Afraid not.  I have a feeling that it takes a lifetime to fully understand how to manage emotions.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to run around rattling like an old swivel chair and littering the path of my life with destroyed screws, ratty seat cushions, and mangled wheels.  The best option seems to be preventative measures.  Tightening the bolt when it starts squeaking instead of having to turn the chair upside down and taking a makeshift screwdriver to it.

I’ve been reading Persuasion by Jane Austen lately and it astonishes me how much self-control the heroine Anne Elliott has.  Throughout nearly the whole book, Anne is thrust into situations where most people would feel angry, embarrassed, or resentful.  But she is forgiving and though she feels great pain and anguish, keeps controversial feelings to herself.  Maybe we should be more like her.

And beyond all philosophizing, I know that I can always pray about my emotions to God.  Some people think that praying is only for big situations–moving, jobs, cancer, marriage.  But prayer is just talking to God.  And the Bible says many times in the Psalms that God listens to His people.  Jesus provided a way for me to pray to God with no intermediary but Himself.  And if the psalmist could cry aloud with the sorrow and turmoil in his own soul, I know God will hear me when I cry as I am His child, flawed as I am, because of Jesus.  And if the reason God saved me was to bring Him glory, I’m sure He wants how I react emotionally to please Him too.  That’s why I’ll pray about how I handle my emotions.

As for actual swivel chairs, I’m considering carrying a screwdriver in my purse at all time.

Tick Tock

I woke up Wednesday morning around 7.  While deciding whether or not to sleep in, this thought crashed into my head–this could be my last day to live. I could die today.

I am not normally that morose–not even on Mondays.

But wasn’t not really pessimism. It’s truth–thought-stopping, finger-twitching, life-changing truth. I am going to die. And nothing I do will stop it.

Our world is consumed with avoiding death.  And as age is the ever-telling symptom of naering death, people run from age like the bubonic plague.

As if you can exterminate wrinkles or eradicate arthritis.

Running from death, our society fills every moment with distractions–Facebook, Twitter, newsfeeds, texting, schedules, sports, school, parties, games, grocery stores, movies–even the daily necessities of clothing, food, cleaning, and yes, even blogging.  The daily routine becomes our life purpose.  The schedule becomes our lifeline.  For those of us who dislike schedule and regularity, we drift like a weathered piece of shattered driftwood searching for the nearest shore but happy to leave it when the tide changes again.

And with every appointment, every change in tide, every moment passed, I am one second closer to death.  You are one second closer to death.

No one likes to discuss death.  Yet it waits for everyone.  College students.  Plumbers.  8th graders. Cosmeticians.  Bankers.  Clergy.  Teachers.  Nurses.  Computer technicians.  Construction workers.  And writers.

Last November, I stood in a crowded funeral home, waiting in line to walk by the casket of my 25 year-old friend who passed away on her wedding day.  Death is not a kind friend.

But death is coming.

Please don’t leave this blog yet.  We have to face this truth–this ugly, shadowy truth that remains hidden by a cloud our rationality can never fully penetrate.

Our fragile mortality frightens us.  What’s next?  What does it mean–this sunrise and sunset–this body of bones and blood vessels?  While trying to find words to express an answer, I must admit my mind is little better than an empty cabinet.  I cannot say I have it figured out.  But this I do know:  “For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I committed unto Him.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

You see, I’ve thought about death before.  And it bothered me.  And what would come after frightened me too–especially when the Bible speaks of eternal punishment for sin and I knew I had sinned.  But I need not fear anymore.  Because Jesus has said in the Bible, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  He also said through the apostle Paul: “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I accepted that gift of eternal life from Jesus.  He procured it by coming to earth and dying on the Cross and rising again.  Jesus said Himself that He came as a ransom.  We don’t talk about “ransoms” much anymore–it means to buy back.  Christ was buying me back.  I was in a world of fear and darkness and pain, but He saved me.

Now, my life isn’t perfect.  If you’ve read this blog long, you’ll know I have my share of darkness.  And yes, one day I will still die.  But I don’t have to shrink from the sight of it.  I don’t have to worry about what awaits me–about whether its karma, hell, or dirt.  God has given the answers–He faced death and defeated it.  And knowing the truth about death allows me to focus on how I will live my life.

I’m not trying to be “I know everything”/didactic/snobby.  I can only share what I am learning in the hope that it helps you.

“O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the sting of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God Who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ.”–I Corinthians 15:55-57

Thanks for reading,
Specs

Soul Searcher

Somehow, Friday nights always end up being a time of soul-searching for me.  Perhaps it’s because my roommates have left the dormitory for whatever reason.  Perhaps it’s the first time in the week I can actually slow down and think about what I am doing with my life.  Tonight has been no exception.

I look in front of me.  There sits my homework assignment, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the Bible my parents gave me for Christmas.  Part of me wants to stop writing, buckle down, and read 12 more Cantos following Dante’s journey from the Woods of Error to truth through hell, purgatory, and heaven.

But instead of reading, I must keep writing.

Life is a pretty serious thing.  And if you readers know me, you know I’m normally a fairly cheerful person.  Or at least, I try to be.  There’s an unwritten law in our family that life requires a sense of humor.  And I wholeheartedly agree.  So I’m not talking about looking at everything in life grimly and not allowing ourselves to smile except once a week and never on Sundays because that’s not spiritual…(I really hope no one lives that way.)  But if you think about it, you’ve got one life.  What are you going to do with it?

I’ve always had plans for mine–big plans, small plans, impossibly-impractical plans.  It’s when you discover that you’re a far different person than the one you’ve always imagined carrying out your big plans that life gets complicated.  For some of us, this revelation is good.  We realize we are much happier in one sort of business than another and that the big plans weren’t the best plans.  For some of us, though, this realization comes from the recognition that we are not who we should be.  For me, it is the realization that in my world-changing future planning, I have squandered my present so often.  I am not who I should be.

And there lies my frustration.  I am sure psychology could say very interesting things about me right now, but I’m not interested in hearing whether I have suppression/repression/displacement-of-anger/expectation issues.  I know what my problem is.

See, I read this author–his name is Paul.  In Romans 7:15, he says, “For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (ESV).

You and me both, Paul.  This is the reason for my “stuckness.”  I see what is right, but can’t do it.

Paul keeps going:  “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (v. 24 ESV).

Hmm…that sounds like me too.  So…how does he resolve his wretchedness?

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (v. 25 ESV).

To help that last verse make a little more sense, I will fill in the content of some verses I skipped.  Paul is talking about his life now as a Christian and about how he wants to serve God, but finds himself serving sin.  So the freedom from “stuckness” is there in verse 25–serving the law of God with my mind.

At this moment, to my cynical, weary brain, that sounds too simple.  But if I think about Who God is–God Who created heaven, earth, color, stars, eyes, and hedgehogs, God Who knows everything about every single person who ever lived, God Who forgave me for my sins…all of them–why should it surprise me that His way is the way to freedom?

It is truly a humbling thought I cannot completely fathom.  Amazing love, and can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

And while I haven’t finished the tasks that were on my “To-Do” list for tonight, I believe that my Friday evening was well-spent.  And yes, too much self-analysis leads to self-obsession, but a little soul-searching can keep us from straying lik Dante in the Woods of Error.  Besides, I figure my options are soul-searching now…or mid-life crisis later.

Signing off,
Specs, your Friday night soul searcher

Easter Greetings

Happy Easter, everyone.  He is risen.

Although nothing I say here is new, I hope it will be encouraging.

As I contemplate the meaning of Easter, I am stunned.  And puzzled.  And surprised.  My whole life, I have heard about Jesus–that He was God who died for sinful me on the Cross, that He was buried and that He rose again the third day.  I understood the reason for the Cross.  According to Romans 6:23, the consequence of and sentence for sin is death.  Jesus died in my place on the Cross so I wouldn’t have to go to hell.  I got that too.  And He rose from the dead because… Well, I knew the reasons, but didn’t realize how they affected me.  God has been working in my life so much this year.  He’s been teaching me deeper truths about the Bible and showing me how wrong I am when I keep all that truth piled up in my head like neatly folded laundry and don’t use it in my life.  The Resurrection is not something to keep stowed away like last year’s winter coat.  It’s a truth that changed the world.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On a day like none other in history, several women go to Jesus’ tomb to pay their respects and anoint His body with spices, as was tradition.  To their shock, the grave was open.  The guards placed there by jealous Jewish leaders were prostrate on the ground like dead men.  The tomb was empty.  And an angel tells them, “Fear not ye:  for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here:  for He is risen, as He said.  Come see, the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:5-6).

And this is just the beginning.

The remaining 11 of His 12 disciples are in hiding when He appears to them.  And He doesn’t appear just once, but several times in different places and to people:  the women at the tomb, Mary Magdalene by the tomb, the disciples without Thomas and with Thomas, the two on the road to Emmaus, and the crowd on the hill in Bethany, to name a few.

His followers would later be accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 16:7).  Their lives were transformed.  How?  Jesus had risen again.  The truth of the Resurrection was not just a nice theological idea to discuss–it was a vibrant, life-changing truth about God’s power.

There is no greater demonstration of God’s power than the Resurrection.  Ephesians 1:19-20 records what Paul will be learned by the church at Ephesus, “What is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according tot he work of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”  We were God’s enemies of God, but God loved us, died, and rose again for us so we could die and rise again too.

“Wait a minute,” you might say, “how does that work?”

Christ’s death ransomed us.  You know what a ransom is, right?  Payment to redeem something/someone.  Just in the book of Ephesians, we (all mankind) are described as “children of wrath,” “children of disobedience,” “having no hope,” “strangers and foreigners,” and “the old man.”  We are even described as dead in sin.  I’ve talked about before on this blog–the world is not right.  We are broken.  We are sinners.  And if knowing I’m a sinner in a messed up world is where the story stopped, it would be a pathetic excuse to live.

But the story doesn’t stop there.

Christ came to ransom me.  I deserve hell.  If God granted me justice right now, I would be burning in hell in torment for the rest of eternity.  That would be just.  But God is both just and loving.  He provided a way I wouldn’t have to go to hell.  And that was Christ’s dying on the cross.

So I accepted God’s gift of escape.  Christ’s dying on the cross frees me from hell.  And the Resurrection?  It frees me from sin.  This is where the rubber meets the road–where it’s time to stop looking at the pile of clean laundry–Christ’s resurrection give me new life and that fact requires a response.  Ephesians 2:4-10 describes us as risen with Christ because of God’s love while  Colossians 3:1 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.”  Romans 6:6 says our power of sin over us was destroyed when Christ died, “that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Wow.  Christ’s gift–the most incredible gift of all history–pays the penalty of my sin (death) and gives me strength and power to “walk in newness of life” here.

Galatians 2:20 sums it up nicely:  “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (English Standard Version).

Some of you are thinking, “Boy, can this girl yak.  I don’t really get the point of all this.  And does she have to keep talking about God?”  The answer is simple.  My life is being transformed–changed–remodeled by the Almighty Savior Who lives in heaven.  I believe that the Bible is His Word and that it is true.  And if God’s Word is true, then there’s a great, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God Who knows everything about you and loves you greatly.  This God wants you to know Him and wants to give you the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment you will ever know.  All you have to do is come in faith to Him.

And if God’s Word is true, then there’s an awful end to those who reject God.  And if I count myself your friend at all, I will warn you of it.

But this is not meant to be a scare tactic.  God hates sin.  But…”God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

It’s Easter.  Christ is risen.  “And as He stands in victory/ Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me/ For I am His and He is mine/ Bought with the precious blood of Christ.” (from In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend.)

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”–Hebrews 13:20-21

Dear Dido, Please Don’t Kill Yourself

Continuing my theme of classical literature and its contribution to daily life, I’ve come to the story of Dido.  Pretty tragic…and depressing.  Her story is short–after her brother murders her husband, she flees to Libya with her followers.  In Libya, she founds the city of Carthage and becomes its queen.  All is well and happy till this uber-perfect hero named Aeneas shows up.  For reasons that don’t interest us at the moment, Cupid is sent to make Dido fall for Aeneas.  And boy, does she.  After a couple months, Mercury shows up and commands Aeneas to fulfill his destiny of sailing to Italy and founding Rome.  (Evidently there’s no “Take Dido with you” clause).  Aeneas immediately prepares to leave.  Dido tries to guilt him into staying, but he leaves anyways.  As he sails away, she commits suicide.

I told you it was depressing.

These stories of overpowering emotion crop up routinely in classical literature.  And in modern movies too.  Although our culture doesn’t normally view suicide as an appropriate response to getting dumped, there is this belief that being relationally rejected is cause for despair.  (Why else would there be a whole genre of Breakup Songs?) Dido connects herself to wholly to Aeneas that when that love is taken away, she has no identity.  Forget the city she was ruling and building.  Forget her sister (who gives bad advice, by the way).  Forget the vivid person Dido shows herself to be in the first fourth of the Aeneid.  She loses love.  So she chooses death.

I will be honest.  I think the story of Dido is…extreme and even a bit inflated on the emotional level.  But this craving for love is universal.  And, unfortunately, I’ve seen people become so involved in their respective relationships that when that relationship is taken away (or obliterated by stupidity) they can no longer function.  Their main source of identity is gone.

Maybe it’s because I’m living in a girls’ dormitory and hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth when break-ups hit.  Maybe it’s because I have a semi-spinsterly urge to create commentary on the other people’s lives.  Maybe it’s too much classical literature (to quote Austen…”Is it possible to read too many novels?” Oh yeah.)  Or maybe it’s just observation.  Whatever the reason that I’m prompted to write about this, I hope you take it seriously and go beyond my light-hearted jests.  Think about the people around you.  How many of them were torn to pieces when a relationship bites the dust.  Think about the last TV series you watched.  Don’t the characters usually go through an identity/emotional/everything crisis when their love life stinks?

I think the cause of this trend is two-fold: 1) a misconception that love life=good life.  That to have a boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/whatever=to have success and happiness.  So when that piece goes missing, you’re incomplete.  This thought crops up in many circles of thought and worldview–the whole idea that everyone is incomplete without another person to fill that hole.  Phrases like “my other half” or “I’m incomplete without him/her” emphasize this misconception.

2) a genuine desire for lasting relationships.  The problem is we’re looking in all the wrong places.  We were made for relationships–and friendships are great and marriages are awesome–but even those good things will not give us satisfaction or identity.  The crux of the matter is we were made for knowing God.

How do I know that?

First, because the Bible says the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Ecclesiastes says that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commands.  Read the Gospels and Jesus’ teaching is overflowing with the appeal to know God–not to know the latest stock exchange rates, Hollywood break-ups, price of ground meat at Wal-Mart, or the square root of an imaginary number.  God’s primary concern is that we know Him.  Notice the number 1 command is not “Be good.”  I lived a lot of my life thinking that “being good” was the most important thing.  I had met God as my Savior and joined His family, but I didn’t fully understand that knowledge is supposed to deepen and grow.

Second, because I’ve tried to live my life searching for satisfaction in other people.  So when I looked to my friends to be my support and they failed, I was lost.  I looked at the wrong Friend.  God says He loves us with an everlasting love.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Do you think Jesus is important?  The reason He came was love.

God gives fulfillment.  We don’t have to be Dido–destroyed when people fail us or lost when we are betrayed.  Our identity and existence does not depend on what Vanity Fair says about our love lives.  Romance does not equal identity.  I have found my identity in Christ, the One who made me, loved me, gave His life for mine, and raised my soul from its sinful condition to walk in newness of life.

Who am I?  I am Specs, an adopted daughter of God.  And even when I’m rebellious, God’s love draws me back to Himself.  I am imperfect, awkward, and verbose.  I laugh too loudly.  But God loves me anyways.  God loves me in my darkness when my heart is filled with fear, when I just don’t want to do anything anymore, when I’m in despair.  God loves me in my awkward moments when my hair looks like an ill-used cotton ball, when I’m on a date and spill hot chocolate on myself, when I stick my foot in my mouth.  God loves me even though I have an ugly, selfish heart.

Who am I?  I am a saved sinner, and as Galatians says, if I’m a child of God, I’m also an heir of God.  Hallelujah!

And guess what?  My love life stinks…I don’t even have one!  But at this moment, I don’t really care.  Because God has made me to be friends with Himself.  How awesome is that?  So if there’s any Dido out there, rejected and in pain, please…don’t kill yourself, or gorge yourself on an entire tub of ice cream, or lose yourself in the fascinating world of Halo.  People fail you.  But God won’t.

P.S.  Please don’t think I’m trying to be condescending to anyone.  Everything I post are things that I’ve been learning myself. 🙂

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