Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changing my tack

At this point it's really becoming silly of me to expect that I can or am able to update this as much as I would like to. I can't tell you how many times I lay in bed and I come up with an entire post in my head but my eyes just won't cooperate to allow me to come to the computer and pound it out. It's frustrating, because I enjoy blogging and also because I usually forget what it was that I wanted to say by the time I do get to the computer, often days later.

But the main reason I don't blog hardly ever anymore: I don't have a desk job anymore. I don't spend hours 'working' at a computer that allows for me to piece a post together over the course of a day. I can't come into the computer/laundry room while Coen is up because he just loves messing with everything in here that he really shouldn't be messing with, especially the keyboard and super-especially after he managed to do some keyboard command that make my screen turn to a sideways view once!

I like sharing my little thoughts, epiphanies and opinions AND I like making them "real" by putting them onto "paper". Ah, well, maybe it's not meant to be. Or maybe, as I have been learning, I have to wriggle within the limits of my current life and so I have to sit down while he's napping to get this done. We'll see if this new tactic works.

Today I want to talk about a funny topic: my faith. To some people I'm sure I seem like some wacky liberal heathen with tattoos and not-so-very Christ-like ways. And that wouldn't be too far off the mark, in a way. But what I am only now beginning to show is what has also been true for a very long time: that I am a Christian who believes in a loving and just God. I was raised in the church and was burdened and blessed by having experienced many different kinds of churches - Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Nazarene, United Methodist and non-Southern Baptist. It was tricky for the obvious reasons: am I saying trespassed, sinned or debtor in the Lord's Prayer? Some of the core messages would vary wildly; i.e. am I SINNER or am I FORGIVEN? (We're both really, but some denominations focus more on one than the other) It was also awesome because I have gotten such a great chance to pick my own version instead of having been raised only one way and possibly risk feeling obligated to stay in that one denomination.

Anyway, I am becoming more bold in my faith and it's been a pretty amazing journey to get here. Bittersweet, for sure. For much of my young-adulthood (late teens to late 20's) I put God on hold. No, really. In a quiet moment I had a little convo with Him and said, "I do believe in You but I am not going to follow You right now. I'm gonna do what I wanna do and I'll get back to You later." And that's exactly what I did. I was ASTOUNDINGLY selfish during that time. It wasn't that I didn't care about other people, but that I was so stuck in my own desires that it never even occurred to me that my actions and choices might be hurting others.

I was living a life of "better to regret what you've done than what what you didn't do" with the added belief that while I might learn some things the hard way, I wouldn't ever REALLY regret my choices. How silly & stupid youth can be. It's okay though: while I do regret how slow I was to figure some things out and how easily I gave myself away (in more ways than one), I am working on forgiving myself and trying to see the bigger picture of my foibles.

Wait. I shouldn't say "forgiving myself" so nonchalantly. It's real and hard process. Mostly for all of the classic reason why forgiveness is always a challenge: I don't feel I deserve it, I don't know how to do it, I don't know what it's supposed to look like when I'm done, etc. And what about the things I thought I'd forgiven myself for but that still creep into my mind lat eat night and eat away at my sanity and sleep? But see, here's exactly WHY I am beginning to realize that I am precisely where I need to be in my life and all of that has to do with my new "tack" of turning to God in all things!

Here's the BIG POINT that led me to make this post today:

IF I had not had SJS I wouldn't have met Megan Johnson. She received a forwarded mass-email prayer request from a friend who wrote, "this person is in Atlanta - maybe you can help out with this?" To which Megan replied (in thought) "yeah, right! there are 5 million people in metro Atlanta!" And to which that God-voice in her head said, "No, you CAN help with this person." Long story short: she found out we live only 1.1 miles from one another and the hospital I was in was only a quick trip down DeKalb Ave from her house. She came to pray over me in the hospital, she had people at her church pray for me, when I got home they brought us meals, she married Jon and me AND she was my main link into life after I was homebound by driving me to rehab appointments and also bugging/encouraging me to join two different bible study groups that I otherwise wouldn't have even known about and definitely wouldn't have stuck with had it not been for her persistence!

And now I am an active participant in her church's activities like the evening worship service, Last Call (great name, huh? we go out for pizza and beer afterwards!), the Women's Ministry Team, the past two Women's Retreats (which were wonderful experiences) and now Jon and I will be joining Clairmont Presbyterian soon! But wait, there's more! If ALL of those things had not happened, including and especially if I had not gotten sick, I would have probably never gotten to experience so many wonderful people and thing, much less the personal growth that has happened, including learning a HUGE lesson about forgiveness last weekend.

Namely, that Forgiveness and Reconciliation are two different things. Reconciliation is not truly possible without forgiveness but forgiveness can (and should always) happen regardless if reconciliation is possible (or a good idea). This lesson has freed me up for so many new possibilities! I am preparing myself to forgive myself knowing that I am free from the fear and burden of having to reconcile with my "old" self. (Note: I am STILL ME, the me I have always been at my core. I am just a better-edited version now)

This also frees me up to forgive so many other people whose "trespasses" against me, and the pain and resulting disappointment I have had a hard time letting go of, can finally be released. Wow, what relief! This means I can learn from the past hurts but that I don't have to be hung up on the notion that they have to make amends with me before I can move on. I don't have to be stuck in this ridiculous and festering limbo anymore.

So, to get all churchy on ya: if it weren't for God's amazing grace and the forgiveness He's given me despite my so-not-worthiness, I don't believe I'd be able to pass it on to those who may not be worthy in my eyes, but are in Jesus' eyes. Everybody wins! How freaking awesome is that?!?