Well... this is it. This is the last characteristic Chan gives us for being obsessed with God... and it's also the end of Chapter 8! But first things first:
"A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying 'Thank You!' to God. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to pay God back or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in his role as child and friend of God." p. 148.
Well, I have to admit that this one is quite hard to swallow tonight. It is yet another reminder that despite how far I have come... I still have far to go. Just tonight, I was brought to tears out of pure frustration over our finances. We were holding out hope that the New Year would bring with it a little relief... I mean, that's what we were promised. But as it turns out, because of the way our State's finances are structured, not only are we not getting that much hyped about "relief"... we're bringing home less. All I could do was plead with God, asking Him why this is happening... the LAST thing that even crossed my mind was to thank Him. Even now, to say the words, "Thank You" would be hollow, void of all sincerity. To be quite honest, I don't even know if I'm in the right frame of mind to even write this tonight... but I can't sleep and the house is quiet, so I'll just see where God leads me in this.
Right now, I'm reading Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll. In the section I read tonight, he talked about what he considered the biggest heresy: humanism.... the thought that we control our own destiny; the whole "pull yourself up by the bootstrap" philosophy of life. And as I sit here pondering the current situation I find myself in, I can't help but think that I'm falling into the trap myself. And then on top of that, I'm feeling a little hypocritical. A dear friend of mine is about to take one of the biggest leaps of faith I can even imagine. She and her husband are preparing to plant a new church, and for the short term this means leaving their life here (with no certainty where they will be in one year) and no definite income...except what they can raise. The other night, I sent her a rather lengthy email, in hopes of encouraging her... reminding her of God's faithfulness and how we should never hide our fears...or our doubts... because God uses all of it for His glory. That advice would be really good for me, as well... but I don't want it!
On Sunday, she got up in front of the church and spoke words that have been resonating in my soul ever since. During this journey, she had to challenge herself to make a choice between living by comfort... or living by faith. As I sat there and watched her speak, I couldn't help but marvel at how far she has come... and as tears streamed down my face, I realized that I am terrified by the thought of letting go of my comfort... because I have no idea what my life will look like if I live by faith. As unhappy as I am right now, I'm the first to admit that my life is good... better than good... but, I'm equating "good" with comfort! The reason I'm unhappy is because I'm placing comfort over faith. If I can't thank God now... when I face small bumps in the road... how will I be able to thank Him if, and when, I face real hardship, real loss? I don't have an answer to this question. This is a HUGE road block in my journey right now... and I'm also realizing that He won't remove the road block (even though He can) until I stop protecting it!
I usually post the video for the next chapter at this point, but tonight I came across this very appropriate video by Matt Chandler. It's short, and humorous, but also extremely on target with this characteristic.