Monday, October 25, 2010

Do You Walk As Jesus Did?

Last night, I spent some time talking to a friend about Crazy Love. Our church is about to do a small group study on the book and I've been praying for the people that will be doing the study... even though I don't really know who they all are. I have really strong feelings about this book (OBVIOUSLY!) God has used it to radically change my faith. There is absolutely no doubt that I am a completely new person, transformed for the better, because of what God has done in me through this book. But in my conversation last night with my friend, we got into this discussion about what others have thought about this book. We have both heard many stories of people getting up to Chapter 5 and then.... putting the book down. It makes people uncomfortable. We like to see ourselves as the "good guys," but this book makes us think that maybe we aren't as "good" as we thought we were. I know some people that look at me... and how I want to live my life after reading this book... and question whether my "interpretation" of the book is on target. For those that are bold enough to say this to my face... and I truly LOVE it when they do, because it ALWAYS ends up to be an awesome conversation for the both of us.... I simply ask them if their problem with my "interpretation" has more to do with the choice I make on how I'm living my life OR the choice their making on how to live theirs. I follow this up by telling them that I don't judge anyone's decision on how they live... especially in this society. It's hard. The temptations are great. The traps are many. I'll start pointing fingers when I stop making bad decisions...which, I assure you, won't happen in this lifetime!

I guess my point here is that if you've made it this far... you've done better than many. And I have no doubt that God is working as hard in you as He has in me. Personally, I relished Chapter 5. It was my favorite chapter in the book. It's Chapter 6 that seems to be wrecking me right now. I'm not sure this was the case in my first reading of the book... but as I was reading it on the way to church Sunday, I slammed it shut saying, "I hate this book." My husband's prompt response was, with a laugh, "You love that book." And, he's right. What I hate is how I've wrongly convinced myself that I'm doing "enough." This is the part I read before closing the book:

"John clearly tells us that 'whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did' (1John 2:16). Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? If your honest answer to those questions is yes, how are those intentions manifested in your life?

"In Mathhew 25 we get a frightening picture of the coming judgment. In this passage, Christ condemns people to eternal punishment becasue they did not care for Him during their lives on earth. 'I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' (vv. 42-43).

"The condemed protest, saying they never saw Christ in any of these positions of need, and Jesus responds, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me' (v. 45).

"Ouch. To me that is like a stinging, unexspected slap in the face. Like many of you, I've heard that passage taught on numerous occasions. I've left convicted, but haven't taken it literally. We see it as a fresh perspective on poverty rather than a literal picture on impending judgment." (pp. 117-118)

As I read this passage to my husband, I vented my frustration that I wasn't doing enough. But, you see, the problem with us is that we WANT to do more... we just aren't sure what MORE looks like, if you will. To make things worse, with the exception of a few friends, when we share these frustrations with others, we usually come up against infuriating eye rolls or comments like: "Don't beat yourself up. You do more than most people." But, that's not really saying a lot, is it? However, the comment I get the most and the one that truly breaks my heart is this: "You're not going to be able to change the world."

As we pulled into church on Sunday, my husband shared with me something he had read the night before (something that I had heard before, but it was definitely worth hearing again!) It was the story of a little boy walking on a beach covered with hundreds, if not thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore, waiting to die. The little boy was picking up the starfish, one by one and throwing them back in the ocean. A man went up to the boy and said, "Son, you could spend your entire day throwing these things back in the ocean but it's not going to make a difference." The boy looked at the man, holding up a lonely starfish in his hand, and replied, "It will make a difference to this one. " As he threw it back in the water, he walked away... to pick up another starfish.

Maybe people are right, I won't change the world in its entirety, but I ABSOLUTELY CAN make a difference in the life of one person... two people. That number is only limited by my willingness... or unwillingness... to serve Him!


I heard this song on my way home from taking my youngest to pre-school today. I've heard it several times before, but today, it spoke to my heart. I thought it might speak to yours, too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Living Recklessly For Him

When I hear the words "living recklessly," it stirs up images of things I was constantly told not to do as a teenager: Don't Smoke, Don't Drink, Don't Drive Too Fast. When I think of living recklessly, I think of two things: carelessness and fearlessness. So, I was struck a little off guard when I read the following passage:

"If we allow ourselves to live recklessly for Him, then we, too, will see His glory. We will see Him do the impossible. Christians today like to play it safe 'even if there is no God.' But if we truly desire to please God, we cannot live that way. We have to do things that cost us during our life on earth but will be more than worth it in eternity." p. 116

I'm going to veer off course for the next few entries (but will always tie it back to the principles laid out in Crazy love)...only to strengthen the points I'm hoping to make. About a year ago, I read a really great book: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. In this book, Mr. Stearns makes some really bold statements (much like Chan), about the state of Christianity here in the States. I picked up the book a little while ago and flipped through the pages. At times like these, I really appreciate my willingness to use highlighters when I read. I looked over all the passages that I highlighted just a year ago and was struck by the reoccurring theme. Jesus preached about four major areas in His ministry: love, compassion, mercy and justice. Please, keep this in mind as I share three quotes from The Hole in Our Gospel:

"On Sunday morning, safe in our church pews and surrounded by friends, it can be all too easy to leave the world's violence, suffering, and turmoil outside- out of sight, out of mind" p. 2

"...Being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world. If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith- and mine- has a hole in it." p. 2

"...Christian community is not enough. God has always demanded more. When we committed ourselves to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives in such a way that a watching world would catch a glimpse of God's character- His love, justice, and mercy- through our words, actions and behaviors." p. 3

So... where am I going with this... to be honest, it's about where God's going with this because THIS IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED ON WRITING TODAY! God is using a book I read over a year ago to answer a repeated prayer that I've had the past few months... and, hopefully, this will all make sense as I TRY to string everything together: Living recklessly for God isn't about carelessness... but it IS about fearlessness. In my opinion, almost everything, if NOT everything, comes back to our inability to truly trust God: not trusting who He is, what He promises and what He has for us. Chan is right! Many of us live a rather safe existence. We don't want to be seen as "radical." Better, yet, we're afraid to completely give our lives over to Christ because, heaven forbid, God will miraculously change our hearts and place in us a desire to live radically... Oh my, what will the neighbors think?

I'm not going to sit here and try to analyze why (and, in the end, it doesn't really matter!). What matters is that, collectively, we are not living our lives the way we have been called to live... as individuals or as a church. The three quotes from The Hole in Our Gospel speak to me...actually, scream out to me... for THIS has been my struggle the past few months. I see the importance of fellowship in Christ, and those that know me...know that my heart TRULY aches for that fellowship. I am also torn with this insatiable desire to live outside the four walls of my church... that "public and transforming relationship with the world."

This brings me to the last quote from The Hole in Our Gospel: "Christian community is not enough." There's another passage in the book that talks about the stark differences between the Mega Churches here in the US and the small community churches in Africa. Stearns talks about how when you open up a church bulletin here in the States, the overwhelming majority of the activities listed are for people within the church... fellowship opportunities, small groups, youth groups, classes. And I'm not here to belittle the need or importance of these things. They ARE important... but what I'm saying is that they are NOT MORE IMPORTANT than the call Jesus has put on each and every one of us to preach His message outside the four walls of our church. They are BOTH EQUALLY important...but do our church bulletins reflect that? The real questions is whether or not our churches reflect this message. More importantly, are we missing the biggest opportunity there is... to combine these two ministries into one?

If we spend our ministry mostly focused on bringing people into the four walls of our church... I will be the first to say that we are playing it safe. We're not living out the full message of Christ. What better way to teach people the message of Jesus Christ than to hold their hand and SHOW THEM? Reading Scripture in just theory until you actively practice what is taught. When you are posed with the question of whether we, as a church, should focus on "internal" ministry or "external" ministry... the answer is YES... to both. We NEED to be doing both. We HEAR what we are taught... but we REMEMBER and LEARN what we do. Some might see this as living recklessly. I assure you it isn't... but, it very well might bring you and others outside of your comfort zones. But, remember this... living INSIDE our comfort zone isn't where Jesus has called us to be!


I'm quite honestly at a loss today. This is not where I was planning to go... I'll save that for the next entry, I guess. Maybe just spend time reflecting on where your heart is with this message. What ministry do you spend your time focused on... and if you can't think of a ministry that you're even involved in... maybe now is the perfect time to start!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Hall of Faith is Filled with Misfits

Before I go any further, it should be noted that the title of this entry is not meant to be offensive... quite the contrary. It will hopefully serve as encouragement to those of us who never feel worthy or good enough...present company included!

Chan begins Chapter 7 with the following statement: "By now you've probably realized that you have a distinct choice to make: just let life happen, which is tantamount to serving God your leftovers, or actively run toward Christ." I think it's fair to assume that if you've made it this far into the book, you're going to chose the latter. So, that leaves us asking the next question: "What does running toward Christ and pursuing Love look like in daily life?" p. 113-114

Chan advises us to look at Hebrews 11 for the best example of those that wholeheartedly followed Jesus. This chapter is often referred to as The Hall of Faith... but Chan warns us that despite the temptation to refer to those mentioned here as being "superhuman, or supersaints," they were anything but! In an effort to save time and space, the list below highlights some of the great men and women that fill the pages of Chapter 11... along with some of the trials they have faced:
Abraham - feared for his safety, lied about his wife (twice)
Jacob - stole his brother's birthright, tricked his father and then fled from his brother
Moses - was a murderer
Rahab - a Gentile and a prostitute
David - an adulterer and murderer
Samson - had so many issues, Chan didn't know where to begin!
All the people listed above are seen as heroes of our faith... but heroism does not equate to perfection. They were flawed human beings that God used for incredible things... because they had faith in Him... faith that He could redeem their lives and use them for His works. While I'll be the first to admit that I would never want to be compared to these people, I will also admit that seeing their imperfection... and, more importantly, how God used them DESPITE their imperfections... gives me great hope for what He can do in me.
In closing today, I want to share Chan's perspective on Noah:
"Noah spent 120 years building an ark and warning others of the impending judgment. Suppose the flood had never come- Noah would have been the biggest laughing stock on earth." (And my personal side note here: I can only imagine that HE WAS the laughing stock for those 120 years! Can you imagine???) "Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to believers." p. 114-115.
Yesterday, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, working on a writing project. The view was breathtaking... an overlook of Bar Harbor, Maine. But, as I was sitting there, deep in thought, God spoke to me... not audibly, but nonetheless, He made it clear that I was to go speak to this man sitting at another I did! I got up off the couch, sat myself right next to him and asked if I could ask him a personal question. He looked a little taken back, but quite amused and replied, "Sure." So, I simply asked him, "What do you think about God?" This lead us into a 20 minute conversation about faith, religion, doctrine, relationship... and about 15 minutes into the conversation my husband showed up. Come to find out, this man I was sharing my faith with has spent the past two years working with my husband. I'd never met him before... but wished I had because he was a believer! For the next 5 minutes, the three of us talked about faith, and politics... something I don't usually like to do... be we all share the same views, so I made an exception! So this morning, as my husband and I were walking to the lobby, he jokingly asked who I was going to talk to today about God. I told him, "Whomever the Holy Spirit leads me to." He just laughed. When I questioned his laughter, he said quite plainly..."I actually think you mean it." And, my response: "Of course I do!" We both couldn't help but chuckle.
The Push
Do you ever let your sin hold you back from the benefits of being a child of God? It's easy to do... to convince ourselves that we are not worthy because of all the "junk" in our lives... or in our pasts. Look back at those whose lives are written in the Hall of Faith... adulterers, murders, prostitutes. Their sins are no worse or better than ours... but God used them for great things. He can use us, too! Today, spend some time talking to God about this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SomeOne I Can Be Real With

I love this quote from Chan: "If you merely pretend that you enjoy God or love Him, He knows. You can't fool Him; don't even try." p. 110

Chan then goes on to list all the things you should tell God: confessing that you've been lukewarm, that you've placed other things before Him. Chan ends the chapter with a prayer... and to give him the benefit of the doubt...I'll assume that this is his own personal prayer and not a specific prayer that he wants each of us to repeat. If it is the latter, I guess that I understand the purpose of a uniform prayer... but it just seems that a one-size-fits all, "cardboard cutout" prayer takes us a little... off course. It is a really nice prayer. I won't begrudge him that... but, Crazy Love, at least in my opinion, has been about focusing on our own, individual relationships with Christ. Each of us is unique, and as a result, the relationship we have with our Creator is unique. So, it only makes sense that our prayers should be unique... genuine to us. As tempting as it may be to use his words on page 111, I would encourage you to speak from your heart... if anything, use his words as an outline. Take each of his sentences and then expound on the subject: don't just deal with generalities...give Him specifics. This prayer is short on that... but don't lose sight that God loves the specifics. It's the specifics that make us unique. If you want Him to work in the minuscule details of your life... then turn them over to Him. NOTHING is too small for Him!

Chan's subtitle for this last section in Chapter 6 is called: SomeOne I Can Be Real With. A lot of thoughts rush through my head when I read this: "Of course, we can be real (honest) with Him! He's not doing to talk back (even though He has His own way of getting His point across...don't loose sight of that!)." I also find myself snickering a little because, truth is, we really don't have an option when it comes to God knowing our inner most secrets. We can hide them from others, but we can't hide them from God. It only makes sense that we come clean, if you will. At least, if we're honest, we can take one step closer to the freedom that is lovingly offered through Him.

But the problem I wrestled with for so long was this: How do I share the inner most workings of my mind, my heart, my soul, with SomeOne that I feel so disconnected with? I've said it before, it's kinda the whole "which came first" argument: the chicken or the egg? Will sharing these things with SomeOne I honestly feel very little connection to, by default, help me feel connected to Him...or does that connection need to evolve (at least, by some minuscule amount) before I can honestly confide in Him. Well... I have no idea! But, I WILL share with you what worked for me... in hopes that it might be helpful to you.

This past week, I shared with the ladies in my Bible study group, how we can become more aware of God's presence in our lives everyday. I shared the importance of prayer and how it's just more than blessing a meal or placing a laundry list of requests at God's feet. Our prayer time should include praise and worship to our Creator (which, for my son, is a simple, "You're Awesome, God!"), followed up by a word of thanks. There's always something to be thankful for in our lives... but sometimes we forget. I always follow this up with intercessory prayer... praying on behalf of someone else... because, plain and simple, it's not all about us! Then, for the longest time, I would wrap things up with my own personal prayer requests and then a plead for God to reveal His will for my life... because that's really what's most important, right? Living out God's purpose for our life? Maybe... But about six months ago I stopped asking God to reveal His will for my life. Instead, I asked Him to reveal His will for me on that day. And, almost instantaneously, I started becoming more aware of His presence in my life everyday... through a conversation about Jesus with my youngest child's preschool teacher (a teacher that all my kids have had, someone I've known for 5 years, but not once had shared my faith with), in conversations with my neighbors, my husband's co-workers. Opportunities to talk about God and serve God just came out of the framing of my life. In these situations, you have no choice but to draw closer to Him... resulting in a desire, a longing, to share everything with Him.


It's time to start Chapter 7! Take a look at the video. I love this chapter!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not My Finest Moment

This past weekend was a struggle for me. It started off pretty great, but by Saturday night, my heart was heavy... and soon my attitude turned sour. I've been trying to put my finger on why and there are a lot of contributing factors: my current bible study is pushing me out of my comfort zone a little, after four months, I thought I was finally past that awful stage of "morning sickness"... I was wrong, and then there's always the dreaded finances. And while it would be so incredibly easy to point my finger at any, or all, of these things, the truth is... God is trying to tell me something... and I don't want to hear it. I'm literally fighting it... and it's making me miserable.

So, this morning, I woke up and spent some time praying before I got out of bed. I prayed for a better attitude, a gentler spirit. I prayed for my family, the women in my small group. And I prayed that God would reveal whatever it is that I've been wrestling with Him over... even though I know I'm not going to like it... I also know that this isn't going to get any better until I confront it! So, I went down stairs and finished my bible study and then picked up Crazy Love. Of course, the irony here is that I have been avoiding this book for almost a week... which would explain the absence from the blog. Don't get me wrong, I've tried. I've sat at my computer, book in hand, many times this weekend... only to stare at a blank screen and wish for a timely distraction. I couldn't figure out why. It didn't make sense, because I usually LOVE this time. But... when I started to read the pages of Crazy Love, it all started to make sense: I didn't want to face what was coming next.

As he references the Book of Malachi, Chan says this: "...we get an incredible promise from God: 'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse , so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, ' if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows' Mal. 3:10.

"This is the only place in the Bible where God invites His people to test Him, to try to out-give Him. He knows it's impossible, that no one can out give the One from whom all things come... If you really want to experience God's supernatural provision, then do as He says. Test Him. Give more than you can manage, and see how He responds." p. 110

Seems pretty innocent, right? Well, not for me... not after this weekend. You see, my husband and I went to a local ministry fundraiser on Friday. I was already extremely hesitant about going because, to be quite honest, we had very little money to give. But, putting my pride aside, I knew that God wanted us to go... I couldn't tell you why (and my husband was more than eager to know God's reasoning because he wanted to stay home!). So we met up with some friends and had a really great time. At the end of the night, it was time to give our donation. I was already starting to fill out the envelope when MY HUSBAND told me to give more. I looked at him like he was crazy... for two reasons: #1 My husband NEVER says "give more" and #2 the only thing left to give was our grocery money for the week... and that is NOT an exaggeration. I can show you my checkbook!

I was flabbergasted... shocked. And this is coming from a woman that wrote a $1000 check to a local Christian radio station because she knew God wanted her to do it... and if you read my blog earlier this year, you know what God did with that! So then, why was this so hard for me? Well, I figured out the answer this morning... and I'm so horribibly ashamed of my response. But, what I'm more ashamed of is what happened as a result of my unwillingness to trust God. You see, all that was left in our account, after our donation at the fundraiser, was enough to give to our church for the next two weeks. But, instead of giving the money on Sunday, I just held on to it... rationalizing that we've given enough... SERIOUSLY, I THOUGHT THIS! It's no wonder I've been feeling this way for the past two days. There is no way in the world that I could give enough. I could empty out my checking account, my savings account, sell my house and all my possessions... it would never be enough. But, for this one moment, I allowed myself to believe that I had a right to hoard some of that money for myself. For what, I don't know... probably just out of fear of seeing $0 on the balance sheet... which can be a scary thing when there's still another 8 days to the next paycheck.

Even as I sit here this morning, sharing this with my husband... who, by the way, is reminding me that once I put this on my blog, it's out there forever ... I'm reminded of the fact that money has a tighter hold on me than I ever imagined. And, yes, this is NOT my finest moment... and definitely not one that I'm eager to share with the whole world... literally! However, it is a HUGE turning point for me in this journey. I'm tired of pretending. My bible study this week was focused on removing the obstacles that are keeping us from an abundant relationship with Christ. I didn't even realize this WAS an obstacle... but God is good and faithful.


The only person getting homework today is me! First things first, I'm writing the check to my church and handing it in tonight! Then I'm going to spend time in prayer, thanking God for this reminder. His timing is IMPECCABLE...what are the chances that I would be reading this excerpt in Crazy Love right after this happened? I'm still shaking my head in amazement and laughing through the tears. God is really good.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The "Chore" of Being a Christian

Have you every just stopped to think about how difficult it is to be a Christian? I've written here before about how someone once told me that being a Christian isn't hard... I just make it hard! (And I also told you that my not-so-subtle-reply was that if she didn't think it was hard, then maybe she wasn't "doing it" right.) But the more I've thought about it the past few weeks, the more I've come to believe that this woman only associates "being a Christian" with her proclamation of faith and church attendance... and if that's her understanding of what it means to be a Christian, then it makes since that she doesn't find the task too arduous. Proclaiming my faith in Jesus and hanging out at church for a few hours on Sunday without complaining is definitely do-able... but, then again, how many of us have still found ways to complain about that?

Today, I want to look at why some of us think it's difficult... and, hopefully, how we can change our attitudes about this awesome privilege... something we seem to forget. I think the number one reason why so many of us find following Christ to be so difficult is because it is counter-intuitive to almost everything in this world... especially the western culture. Instead of seeing our faith as freedom and liberation, we compare it to the shackles of a teenager with a curfew... we see it more as a list of things we "can't" do, instead of things we "can" do. For example, if I'm really ticked off at something a friend might have said about me, I "can't" go and vent my frustration to other friends... behind her back. (And, let's be honest... even though our intention is just to "vent," we enter into this extremely slippery slope that quickly winds itself around the entanglements of gossip.) But, what I "can" do is vent my frustration to God, asking Him to soften my heart and abate my anger so that I can then go to my friend to talk to her about the situation. You see, our society relishes the first example... there are reality TV shows that merely exist on the formula of the first. There's no drama in the second...just the glory of God. And while I readily admit that it is MUCH more difficult to confront a friend... in the loving spirit of Christ (that's IMPERATIVE!)... this road less traveled is FAR LESS BUMPY than the road paved with gossip... which in the end, cause much more difficulty in our lives.
Chan says the following: "When I look at my relationship with God as a chore, a sacrifice, the I am getting the glory- not God. I keep saying 'Look what I have sacrificed for God...' or 'Listen to what I do for God. It's hard, exhausting really...'" p. 108
I was once told that anything with a reward of value will involve hard work. So, if this is true, then I can only assume that the work involved with my journey in following Christ WILL be difficult because, quite honestly, there isn't a reward more valuable than my salvation. But, I want to take this a step farther...
In general, when we work towards a reward... whether it's a summer reading goal for a child, a bonus schedule for an employee or an Olympic medal for an elite athlete... there's usually minimal complaining involved. Why is this? I think there's two reasons: #1 We know what's at stake and what is expected from us and #2 We want the prize! So, as I try to relate this to my faith...and I think the same can be applied... I'm left asking myself two obvious questions: Do I know what is expected of me (And for me, the answer is "Yes.") and Do I really want the prize?
So here's the thing...without thinking, I would answer yes to the latter question. I think we all would. But I want to pose another question: Do we really understand what the prize is? Is it eternal life in Heaven? Or is it so you can just hedge your bets against going to hell? Is it peace in our lives here on Earth? Or is it because you were raised this way and you just want your kids to grow up with "some morals"? Have you ever really asked yourself WHY you want to be a Christian? Because if we don't know why... then MAYBE that's why we aren't working so hard... MAYBE that's why we complain so much. Maybe we really don't understand the choice we made and what it means for our lives. I can give you a scripted answer... we all can. But, do we really know what it means... not in our heads... but in our hearts?
Do you know what it means? Find someone... anyone... and have this conversation... not because you want to see if someone else understands... do it to see if you really understand.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When Our Troubles Help Us Achieve An Eternal Glory

Have you ever found yourself in immense turmoil, only to ask yourself: "How in the world is this for God's glory?" Just looking back the past few years of my life, I can name many friends that have faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles... circumstances that would have undoubtedly left me asking, "Why Lord?" Now... that's not to say that I don't understand "why"...I know, from experience, that God allows such circumstances to enter our lives as a way to draw us close to Him... and for others to watch as we rely on Him for strength, bringing Him glory in everything we do and every obstacle we come across. But... despite knowing this, my humanistic, selfish nature still asks the rhetorical question, "Why?"
Chan writes: "The promise that our troubles are 'achieving for us an eternal glory' seems hard to believe in the midst of the mess. It sounds trite to say that our struggles on this earth are 'light and momentary' as Paul wrote, doesn't it? Mine don't feel that way. At times they threaten to engulf the rest of my life." p. 107
I have this friend that makes a point of reminding you that none of your struggles in this life can compare to the horrible atrocities that are being committed somewhere else in the world. And I will readily admit that she is right; however, her truth is sometimes spoken with condemnation and contempt. I truly feel her intention is to encourage us by changing our perspective, but the undeniable result is anything BUT encouraging. You almost always walk away feeling ashamed... that you have absolutely no right to be upset about your circumstances. Honestly, you walk away not wanting to seek comfort from God, or draw near to Him... instead, you want to run away and hide (like that's even possible!) ashamed to let Him see that you are so "self-centered" and incapable of "handling it on your own." Does this ring true to anyone else besides me?
What I've come to understand this past year is that God does care about how I feel. He cares if my heart is wounded by someone's piercing words. He cares if I feel overwhelmed with life's demands. He cares that I feel alone... even though He is always with me. But, more importantly, I've come to understand that it's when I experience immense sadness or trouble that I seek Him... almost like a reminder that "Yes, my child, I am STILL here. I've always been here...YOU just forgot!"
If I'm honest, for the longest time, I only sought Him in desperation. I didn't seek Him for the "smaller" things in life... because I could handle the smaller things... of course, I can only laugh at that idea now. We become so ego-centric... We think we can handle the small stuff without Him... which is probably why so much of the small stuff becomes BIG STUFF... and why we worry so much about it! Sometimes, I'm left wondering if He allows the bigger obstacles into our lives so that we don't forget to go to our knees... so we don't forget where the source of our strength comes from. So that we can see how miraculous His love is. I'm still having a hard time being thankful for the obstacles... but I am thankful for the reminders of how much He loves me and wants me.
Look back at the past year of you life. Were there any obstacles... trials... burdens heaped upon your shoulders that constantly had you asking, "Why, Lord, is this your will?" If so, looking back, did that experience ultimately draw you closer to Him? Did you seek Him more? Did you talk to Him more... even if it was to just ask "why?" Reflect on that time, and ask yourself if you can see the blessings of God's grace and love during the trial. If not, ask Him now to help you with a better understanding.