Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Oblivion


Twenty months ago, when all of this started, I would regularly find myself semi-comatose in the shower. I know that's not a pleasant image, but the truth remains. I so clearly remember standing there in the steamy quiet, mostly unable to move. I remember feeling that dull ache in my stomach, something like the nasty kind of flu.

I never understood when people said that falling in love felt like getting the flu. That hadn't been my experience. But having your heart broken and your world knocked around a bit? Pass the Pepto.

My mind reeled a thrumming truth-track and no matter what I did, I couldn't escape it. Not for a second. It kept me awake at night. It kept me dizzy in the day. It kept me standing stock-still in the shower. It went something like this, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

And a little something like this, "Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be." Luke 12: 33-34

My phantom stomach bug was caused by two things:

1) I had never really thought about this. I mean, of course giving to the poor is good. It's a great idea. Jesus sure was nice about the needy, rah rah rah. I had never fully considered that maybe he's not quite as nice as I thought. Maybe he's tough as nails. Maybe he means serious business with his words. Maybe he expected me to move beyond thinking about what he said and start actually doing it. (Maybe I should stop thinking about him in the past tense.)

2) I believed at my core, all those months ago, that my world was about to be rocked. I wasn't sure that I was completely on board. I wanted the train to slow the heck down, because I needed more time to think. I wanted to go back to those easy days where my tithe check took care of everything.

Of course, the rest is history. A very long, drawn-out history. 8th period on a Friday history.

Through a course of events, we came to believe that this is the truest truth:

"If you cling to your life, you will lost it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10-:39

I thought my life was pretty fantastic already, and come to find out I hadn't even found it. This made me want to track it down.

I'm not a proponent of the idea that God wants us to prosper, but that's another post for another day. I don't think giving up your life is code for "trade it in for something that's bigger and fancier". This isn't one of those tricks where you win a new Buick just for making the right choice.

Over and over again people in our life said that maybe God was just testing us to see if we would be willing to give up our home. Know what? That's not the God I know. If he tells you to do something and you say you will, he's probably going to put you on that path, pure and simple.

My experience has been that it is difficult to pine for heaven when you already think you're there. It's hard to care that there are so many people who don't know Jesus when almost everyone in your life does.

So we're laying this place down. We're moving with no expectation that we'll be anywhere forever, because we're still recovering from being so wrong about that sort of thing. This isn't our ride. We're not the boss of us.

And after a day of lugging and loading; a day of a million steps in a short stack of hours, that's an incredibly freeing truth. That's something I could rest my head on for a while.