Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not Feeling "Too Guilty"

So, I have to begin this blog admitting my own feelings of guilt. I've slacked off a little the past two weeks, only two posts, instead of three. Two completely different situations (one personal, one professional) happened almost instantaneously... I've been joking that it was INCREDIBLY bad timing. But, as a dear friend gently reminded me... God is creating the marvelous tapestry of my life...I'm just getting poked by his sewing needle at this moment! I know that EVERYTHING is in God's timing, so I'm rebounding pretty well...including the blog. So, back to business:

"LUKEWARM PEOPLE do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. they want to do the bare minimum, to be "good enough" without it requiring too much of them." p. 76

Chan goes on to give these example:

"They ask, 'How far can I go before it's considered a sin?' instead of 'How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?' They ask, "How much do I have to give?' instead of 'How much can I give?' They ask, ' How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible?' instead of 'I wish I didn't have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!'" p. 76

Well, I don't know about you... but, I've been guilty of saying (or thinking) some version of all three! The first one's pretty easy... as far as examples. I've mentioned before that we don't have cable. We haven't for years. One of the reasons was financial, but the main reason was a lack of will power when it came to how much television we watched and what we actually spent our time watching. However, we do still watch movies. And, I guess I'd like to pose this question to you. When was the last time you watched something, knowing that it probably wasn't the best thing to be subjecting yourself to? Have you ever found yourself cringing at elicit scenes or when a character disgraces the Lord's name? Here's what I've been convicted of lately.... Watching something that I would never let my children see! I rationalize that I'm "old enough" to filter through the bad parts... but is that the truth or just a lie I tell myself to wipe my conscience?
I also struggle with reading my Bible. Last night, my husband asked me if I had been reading my Bible. We have some really big decisions to make and he was curious to know if I was seeking counsel from The Word. I had to be honest and say, "No." I was reading...I've actually been reading a lot, including daily devotionals and Francis Chan's book about the Holy Spirit (realizing that I need to be more aware of the Holy Spirit in my life...for making these HUGE decisions!) However, NOTHING can replace the Word of God. So, this morning, the first thing I did...after grabbing a slice of apple cinnamon bread and Powerade...was crawl into bed and read Psalms. I have to admit that this isn't one of my favorites...but, it brought me peace. More importantly, I didn't read it our of obligation or guilt. I genuinely wanted to.
I really think this characteristic boils down to one thing: We need to work on authentically loving God instead of acting like we do. If we authentically love God, we wouldn't waste our time in this balancing act... keeping one foot in this world and one focused on the promise of the next. This has been my prayer for a while... and I won't lie, it hasn't been easy! I can PROMISE you that if you genuinely want this and ask this from Him...He will show you what you need to do. That's the easy part!!! The hard part is deciding if you really want to follow Him. God has revealed some really difficult things to me... and I'm embarrassed to say that I'm still wrestling with a few of them. He is selfish desires are dying. But, it has been a slow and painful death. But, in the end, God will be glorified and my life will be better for it (even if I can't see that now). The tapestry, I have no doubt, will be magnificient... and worth every prick of the sewing needle. I trust God... and I guess that's what it really comes down to!
Spend some time in prayer. Talk to God. Really talk to Him. Sometimes we get so caught up in the "formality" of prayer that we forget to be ourselves. We try to sound regal, sophisticated, intelligent...not to be callous, but we try to be someone we aren't. It's time that we start being ourselves. That's the first step. Once we work on being our-authentic-selves, then we can work on our authentic love for God. Better yet, ask God to help you with both at the same time... He's definitely capable!

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