Thursday, February 28, 2008

Just As I Am

Just as I am. Let's see according to the songwriter this meant: utterly hopeless -without one plea, darkly blotted in our souls, tossed about, conflicted, doubtful, frightful, fight-ful, poor, wretched, and blind. yikes. Yet we believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ, meets us in that wretched state and by His abounding mercy and love draws us to Himself "just as I am."

Amazing, isn't it? But then somewhere along the way, thanks to our "maturing" in our walk we decide that this same God who met us just as we were can no longer handle us just as we are. We start believing that we Christians are supposed to be dignified in our pain. Then, if by some horrible loss of our witness, we respond to devastation by throwing ourselves down and pitching a royal fit, we quickly shroud ourselves with guilt; making excuses to God and apologies to others.

And if we don't immediately plunge into the sea of self-guilt, it's not long before some pious Christian brother or sister -usually some legalistic nitwit who's only half way down their check list for earning (or keeping) their salvation; only half way because they just can't get past that "stop sinning" box - gazes down on us through piteous eyes, shaking their heads, and sucking their teeth...for shame, for shame, for shame.

I'm going to say something right now that might get me in a lot of trouble...hesitating... hesitating...gonna say it anyway. If you haven't bitched God out for something that was beyond your ability to understand and that shook you to the core of who you are in the past year or two of life, you may as well go and plant your fake, plastic behind in a department store window. You are a mannequin. A hollow imitation of humanity. And what's worse -you are the only one who is convinced by the mask you wear. Like some poor sap who doesn't know his toupee is on backwards.

I've seen too many instances recently of Godly people who are truly wounded by life, sin, or circumstance who just need permission to feel something less than super spiritual.

God tells us to cast our cares on Him because He cares about us. This makes me think of my children. Sometimes they come to me with quiet words expressing a fear or concern. But suppose one of them falls off a bike and finds themself sliding spread eagle down the pavement. How do they come to me then? Are you kidding me? In legs pumping, arms flailing every which a way, screaming their lungs out, body writhing agony. And I can say with a soft, soothing voice "baby, it's gonna be okay." At which point they will yell back at me "BUT IT HURTS!!!!"

Now, I could look at them and say "well, if you were a slightly more mature eight year old you would be handling this with more dignity." Of course, if they drag it out for six years and are clearly wallowing in the mud of self-pity I'll certainly give them the "buck up camper" speech. But I don't expect my child to stoically swallow legitimate hurts and I don't think God expects that from us either.

I have a song in the wings that will hopefully be ready for intro soon (at least to our church family crowd). One of the verses deals with this very thing:

"You are faithful when I am faithless,
You are strongest when I am weak.
You are mercy when I'm blinded by anger
I throw my fists in Your face, You gently lay me at Your feet.
You are faithful. You alone are faithful."
Copyright 2007

Let's take off the mask and get real with God and each other. You have my permission. ;-)

13 comments:

Rachel said...

I've been lurking for a little while, I found your blog through the Livesays. I just wanted to say that I love how you write. Today's post just kind of whacked me over the head (in a good way). Thanks for your real-ness.

Amy said...

Thank you. We are struggling big time with the adoption process right now. Big time. It hurts. Bad. And we don't know what to do. I appreciate your words. 29 1/2 months is too long.
Amy (the other Amy-TN)

lisa said...

Preach it, girl! you are so right on amie. thanks...again.

Anonymous said...

I like what you are saying, but could you do it in a "G" format? I am just glad my 8 year old wasn't reading over my shoulder like he sometimes does. I would have had some explaining to do and I'd hate to know Aunt Amie introduced that word to him!!
Lu

The Sexton Crew said...

Well, I considered "griped" and "complained" but quite honestly, those would've just been spiritually masked versions of what I was saying. The whole point was to be ugly real.

I've never written with the assumption that 8 year olds are reading it and have covered a lot of things that probably need explanation. (i.e. SexFest 2004)But in the future (not that it happens often) I can post a parental warning at the top of the page. I really don't mind doing that.

=)Amie

The Sexton Crew said...

Rachel -We are a lurker-friendly site but glad for the comments, too. ;-)

Amy -29 1/2 months is INSANE! I'm sorry. I'll be praying for peace of mind and a homecoming soon!!!

Bobbey said...

You’ve given us lots of food for thought. I've been mulling this post over since yesterday and I have to say that recently I must be that poor sap. Thinking back, between 1993 and 2003 there were many things that brought me to my knees screaming out to God (back then wondering IF there was a God.) In 1997, I found Him, but the struggles didn't stop, they actually multiplied, and yet I found my strength in Him dozens of times over. I won't go so far to say I've been on a "mountain top" since 2003; however my valleys seem less deep than they did in those years. To make matters worse, I find myself staring at that "stop sinning box" daily. God's people have been making excuses since Adam and Eve. That doesn't make it OK. It makes me wonder why we even try when He sees right through those excuses. He always has.

So your post has brought me crashing down wondering if God has no longer found me useful to His good purpose. Or if I’m just so wrapped up in the busy-ness of life and raising kids that I no longer allow myself to be useful to Him. OK, admittedly, I know the answer to that; which once again lowers my eyes to that wretched “stop sinning box”.

If I’m that mannequin, how can I be effective in the ministries He’s placed me in? I’m feeling like a potato stuck at the bottom of a beautiful fruit bowl. All around me are the Fruits of the Spirit, and here I am, still edible but not as sweet and desirable as the people around me.

Ultimately, I’m realizing that it’s ME that has brought me to my knees this time, not outside things and events. It’s definitely time for a revival in my life. Thank you for the wake up call. It’s time to raise my eyes to the Creator of All and let Him take me Just as I am.

The Sexton Crew said...

Bobbey,

I hope you meant for me to publish this. I thought it needed to be. We love you (and your crew) so much and you are by no means the only one in need of a personal revival. Thank you for sharing your heart and being real!

Amie

Rose Anne said...

Amie,
I haven't checked your blog for a few days but all I can say is Amen Sister!
My son Saul is almost 7 going on 25...Alot of other things have happened for us in the 6 months and he is just reacting to allof the changes . some days it is just hard to remember that ,I have been talking to God alot lately!!!
Thanks for not being fake!
God Bless,
Rose Anne

Troy & Tara Livesay Family said...

wow. i feel loved.

you are too.


tara

Heather said...

Reminds me of a line from one of my fave Kendall Payne songs; "I don't think He's threatened when we ask questions, when we have doubts and disbelief. I don't think He's angry when we are human. It's what He made us to be."

Aubrey said...

Thank you for this! As someone who is new to finding Christ, I still sometimes find myself..... well, confused. So wait, the fact that there have been moments in my life that I just scream "WHY?????, Just give us a break!!!" doesn't lessen my faithfulness?? Though deep down I know this, it really does make a huge difference to have amazing women like you be honest and brave enough to speak the words. Thank you.

The Jeltemas said...

This is probably one of the most real things we have ever read, thank you for not holding back. You are a very good writer and expressed yourself so well. I would love to print this out and sneak it into some church bulletins. Probably not appropriate, but wow! wouldn't it shake people up? Like Martin Luther pinning his 95 page thesis to the church doors...ok, well maybe not THAT big, but really...it's an awesome reality check of who we are and who God is NOT. I love that God "gets us"...when did we turn into such snobby, self-righteous peanut-heads? Seriously?