Worlds Collide

She would rather not be noticed by anyone. She doesn’t seek accolades, recognition, or anything beyond the knowledge that she serves. She is so uncomfortable with eyes focusing on her that she avoids the front of a room.

He is not the same.

He thinks it is nice to be noticed but he doesn’t care if you see him or not. He will speak out in a crowd (sometimes quite loudly) without thought for whether the crowd is bothered by him or not. He intentionally seeks the front because that is where the “action” is.

And that is just one of the issues that has made our married life so interesting. She still cringes every time I open my mouth. It bothers her. I would rather speak out, be involved, play the game, than sit in the bleachers.

We drive each other crazy.

I hear a lot today about people separating because they have issues. “I just need time to myself so I can work on me.” I will probably offend some counsellors or psychiatrists, but I disagree with this. First of all, I don’t see it in scripture. Second, my experience has taught me that if left to myself, I won’t change. The issues I really struggle with can be buried, medicated, glossed over in every environment except marriage.

I look back over my life sometimes and think how good a Christian I seemed to be before I got married. I think of the evil that has come out over the years we’ve shared together, and I do mean evil, wicked, selfish sin. I would never have grown past myself without this woman that challenges everything I say, every thought I hold dear. Some people, some Christians, over the years have said we shouldn’t have to deal with the pain the other one has caused. No one should have to put up with someone acting that way. But God was there and we stayed together.

Proverbs talks about “Iron sharpening iron.” And we think that is some interesting metaphor for exhorting one another. But, it is actually talking about two rough, brittle pieces of metal that smash into each other, knocking off the dull places, the burs and the rusted spots. It is talking about friction that heats the metal, that goes against the expected norms.

Seinfeld fans will remember the episode when George didn’t want his girlfriend hanging out with his friends. “Worlds collide,” he shouted. But that is marriage, that is friendship.

That is life.

Bitterness of the Soul

Anger seems to be such a default response in me.  Consequently, I deal with depression, fear, anxiety, addiction.  They go hand in hand.  I constantly battle with bitterness.

I am no longer charming, or young.  I never was tall or good looking.  I’ve never been able to “sell” myself.  I have ear rings and a tattoo mainly for one reason.  I wanted to shout to the world, “accept me for me, not for what you want me to be.”  And have, for most of my life, dealt with the subsequent rejection that ensued.  See, I was the black sheep of my family, always in trouble.  In church, I was the one who asked too many questions, raised too many doubts, didn’t take things by faith.  In school, I didn’t accept authority just because of their position.  Respect was something you earned from me.  Friendship, trust, were things that were not given to many.  What seems so laughable to me is that I was accepted by many, part of many groups,  but always as one on the fringes.  I was a jock but not one that excelled, in the clique but not.   I was a brain but of lesser intelligence.  I was a druggie that no one ever saw take drugs.   I was on the fringes but too close to the cliques to be a real part of the fringe element too.  Friends with everyone but friends with no one all at the same time.

So much bitterness has come from this, and I think I was not alone in this.  I turn that bitterness on God.  Every lost opportunity, every chance that I didn’t take, was because He wouldn’t let me in.  “Yes, you can be a Christian, but I can’t really use you for anything great.  You just don’t fit the mold.”

Now, the reality is that many who are in leadership are looking for a type.  Young, charismatic, super-talented, years of experience wrapped up in someone who just graduated.  I had been told that, even at the age of 30, I was too old.  Now, some 21 years later, I am done for sure and no one will even listen to me.  I have been told that, should I take a more public role, it would actually hurt the efforts to attract the younger crowd.  Statistics are quoted, there is documented evidence.

And with all that, I can’t walk away.

See, the God that I serve doesn’t look on the outside.  He looks at my heart.  He sees past all the anger and fear and calls me to walk with Him.  And He isn’t done with me yet.  Amazingly, He is still in the business of using me even though I fight Him so much.  He knows my issues and has decided that I shouldn’t be tossed, I have a purpose in His kingdom.  I can’t fathom this because I have actually made a pretty concerted effort to get Him to reject me too.  Bitterness does that.

He just continues to love me, to heal my brokenness, to hold me to Himself.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I have a feeling that there are many, many people who feel the way I do.

Bitterness be gone.  I’m choosing to trust….and rest.

Family and Friends

There she goes again.  Nag, nag, nag.

Why did God put me with this woman that seems to do nothing but drive me crazy?  And for that matter, why did He put me with all these people who seem bent on my destruction?  Why did He command us to fellowship with each other?

Hebrews 10:25 says we shouldn’t give up meeting together.  But most churches have so many that are bitter and angry with the church, complaining and arguing over minutia, wounding and cutting with words and deeds.  Why did God put us in this dysfunctional, insane, inharmonious cauldron of humanity that He calls His bride?

Short answer:  Because we need each other.

It isn’t easy.  It isn’t fun.  It is bloody and painful and hard, oh, so hard.  And really, the premise of these questions is misplaced, wrong, evil.  “Why did God put me with this woman,” assumes that He could have, should have put me with that perfect woman that never drives anyone crazy.  It also carries the connotation that if I had been placed with said perfection, I would then be perfect also.  HA!  He put us together, all of us, because that is what He has chosen to work with.  Can you imagine how many old testament floods, fire raining from heaven events, Jehu type cleansings there would have to be to eradicate imperfection from this planet.  Needless to say, we’d all be dead.

Can I see that the things that hurt me, bother me, anger and frustrate me are much less about their problems and so much more about mine?  Can I look at those around me and see the blessings God has given?  Can I serve them and love them with a full heart, knowing that, should failures and aggravations set the standard, I would be the first to receive my pink slip of life?

And dare I say it?  It’s like sex.  If you are desiring sterility, asepsis, you are sure to be disappointed.  If you go into it, knowing and accepting that it will be messy, it can be a lot of fun.