“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!” -Jerry Maguire
Guys, these last couple of weeks have been the WORST. I am not being dramatic at all when I say that and there have been plenty of times where I could’ve been uncomfortably confrontational with fist and rage and everything. Why? Because everything I had essentially worked for felt like it was in jeopardy. Things that I had been chosen for were suddenly up for grabs, like a competition. I felt like I was being humiliated and everyone around me knew what was going on. I felt exposed and alone and it wasn’t fair. I had put my energy, effort and muscle to build this thing that I was a part of and it felt like all of it meant nothing to them.
Then there were some car issues. Don’t even get me started on that one.
Then at church, an obligation that I had signed up for was suddenly too difficult for me to partake in and some of the people in there were rubbing me wrong.
Online schooling was necessarily letting up either and my GPA slipped a little.
Stuff at work was getting out of control. I was kind of stuck mentally and my options of how I could handle it were slim. I have to admit that I was leaning toward a meltdown and quitting. I mean really cutting myself off and away from all the stress and doing other things. I am ashamed to say that it was almost too easy because I was so focused on the proverbial green grass on the other side. I was on the verge of having anxiety attacks and or exploding on someone both are not reflective of Christ or more importantly how I was raised:)
I’ve been stuck for several weeks now..and I’ve been feeling like the tax of taking the proverbial high road not only was too high it wasn’t even fair….
But I was shown something lately…Which brings me to a story I found in the book of Acts.
And a certain man that was lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of them that entered into the temple. (Acts 3:2)
This man was a lame man. Lameness is an attack on your legs or limbs, on your movement. I could relate to this man, there is a frustration that comes with being still, stagnate. I’m the first to admit that I have very, short patience or tolerance for anything tedious.I’ve been in this period of my life, where everything has now become rhythmic. I have goals, plans, and a life that I have in expectation for myself, and because of certain factors and things that have happened to me, I have been fearful of making certain choices. I’ve been feeling lame. I limped around the things that I needed to bring before the Healer. Yes, I knew his pain. I was familiar with the coiled arms and hands, the breaking down of the body and the hobble from one day to the next. Depression and Anxiety is a disease of the mind, an attack on the free soul and has the ability to grip one so.
So he was brought here, to the door of the temple. The place where there was supposed to be special offerings and prayers, sent up through the aroma of these sacrifices. To a god, that has clearly displayed his strength and beauty in this very building, since the time of King Solomon. It’s here we see the possibility of healing. In the mystery of the temple, there can be a miracle. Can you feel the small glimpse of hope, that he may have had? The gate was called beautiful, and it was I am sure. It was covered with gold, silver, fine jewels that could and would only muster feelings of awe of what was behind it. An experience, that only a privileged few at the table could witness. But the beauty…(sigh) That the beauty had not yet made its way into this man’s body, into his locked limbs, nor into his soul. It was separate from him. It was around him, he laid in its shadow but it was not in him, this beauty and power displayed here.
Gates regardless of how beautifully decorated there are only have two purposes. To protect and guard things on the outside and to give privacy to the things on the inside. What you are, depends on who is inside. Knocking on the door or laying at the steps does not necessarily mean you gain entrance. It could mean rejection, detachment from whatever it is that others are allowed to partake in. That’s how I’ve been feeling these last couple of weeks, detached from the beauty. It’s been really hard, just yesterday I had to clean my classroom for someone else. Money is doing what money does…disappearing and my needs and prayer list are getting seemingly longer. I feel stuck which usually means that at this point, I usually start cutting things away with ease. I was questioning major things like dropping school .Period. (I know what you’re thinking). I’ve asked for prayer from people and my church….and I have felt the support kind-of. But honestly, I’ve been frustrated because it feels like the elusive, beautifully decorated gate..it feels like I’m working toward something and the door won’t open up….for …me.
But as he was brought daily before the temple, before this beautiful gate, he must have thought the same thoughts that many of us, might’ve thought in our own lives. Doubting, our place, our significance or doubting the faith, the very love that brought us through. Because it looked like, only a privileged few were getting ahead. It looked like everyone else, all of my friends, were passing me by. I was being rejected. I wasn’t allowed to move on with my life plans, I was not allowed to go forward. I ,like this man, would put my faith in an institution, in a building, in a man, or a man-made thing and I would be quickly disappointed.
-Like putting my trust in my job to supply all of my needs…
-Like putting my trust in people’s words toward me
-Like putting trust in myself.
There’s a poem by Robert Frost that talks about two roads that diverged. It is one of my favorites, because Frost describes the two roads and at the end, you get a sense that he had finally come to trust the road that he had chosen..the one less traveled by. But he had to trust in his decision. Trust, a four letter word that takes every ounce of your being to execute in your walk of life. A four-letter that makes anyone question pivotal points in their lives and decide if this struggle really is worth it. If it had all been true. If somehow when we hadn’t been paying attention, the seed, in the ground would bud a little green from the dirt of all our efforts.
The story continues with two disciples, stopping by….
4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk.(Acts 3:4-8)
. He, whether he was aware if this or not, had positioned himself for potential. It became clear to me, that faith wasn’t always grandiose with obvious hints of brawn and muscle.
I tend to try to rationalize my decisions, it’s a way of justifying that I was right. When in actuality all the words in the world, couldn’t change the fact that I am scared of what this feels like and that I’m actually trying to run away. I’ve learned over and over again, that it’s not good to make decisions when “Life is HIGH on the boiler”. Sometimes keeping still is the absolute best thing to do. The lame man never lost his sense of expectation He was lame, but he was not dead. His mind/soul was available to the opportunities….He was OPEN.
You know this past Sunday—I heard something that stuck with me…God is not a coward. He is not shaking, and anxious over the things that are going on. He thrives on connecting people and using people for his purpose, showing himself amongst us. He is always using the weak things to show his strength, using the ugliest situations to display his beauty and using the foolish things to confound the know-it-alls….
Because I know that God does not ignore us, he is not like what is represented by his people at times or building built in his name. The beautiful thing about Him is that He is constant and consistent. His love brings beauty. His peace brings beauty to us on the inside, allowing for us to shine. I am not detached and He doesn’t show himself in pieces. He doesn’t say one thing and does another to tease us. Choosing him means that I get to be one of his display pieces of his love.
And as for the tax of the high road…it has been paid by His Son.His sacrifice was proof of his love and dedication for us. I am human, I am capable of making mistakes but I am tax-free and I can choose my way. AND AGAIN, I choose Jesus.
So….I didn’t have a breakdown. I tend to get emotional, and that’s just a part of my makeup and that’s fine too. But I can’t use that as an excuse to start losing it. This morning, I got dressed. I put on my makeup and the brightest lipstick I could find and danced, into work with a bright smile and energy. Because I am not a coward either. My responding outside of how I am so supposed says that I am defeated and on a losing side.
And losing is not what I do. (and you don’t either)
Here’s to us walking on the narrow, dirt covered paths and finding that thing that we’ve wanted since the beginning. That whole, and complete love that requires so little of us and gives so much. Finish Friday strong friends.
Stay on the path,
Quote of the Day:
“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” -Winston Churchill