Friday, March 26, 2010

I am not a very holy person. I may have moments where I am in the vicinity of holiness but they seem few and fleeting. I rely heavily on the miracle of Grace in my life! But holiness still calls.

I am reading a book right now called "66 Love Letters" by Larry Crabb. In it he breaks down each book of the bible to show us how God is calling us into relationship with him. And not just any relationship. A relationship beyond any we have ever experienced before and won't be able to fully appreciate until we enter heaven's gate.

The first three books of the bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus) tell us of how "we have failed and He succeeds". God set out requirements for living and we just messed things up. God set out the 10 commandments and then added more rules to how the Hebrew people were to conduct their everyday lives...right down to how they were to wash their utensils. He left nothing out. Then He set out rules for sacrifices to be made because the people couldn't keep the first set of rules.

I know from a theological standpoint that all these laws were set in place to show people that we COULDN'T meet God's Righteous requirments and that we would require a Saviour to be the Final Sacrifice.

And somewhere in all of this, I am invited into intimacy with a Holy God through the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ. Me. Self-centered, unfaithful, complaining spirited, just to name a few, ME. And there is the rub. The closer I get to God the more aware I am of my failings. I know that He loves me and that He has imputed Christ's Righteousness onto me. But as I enter deeper into intimacy with Him, I become painfully aware of the area's in my life that are not in line with His Holiness. I know that His Grace was costly to the Father, allowing His son to die in my place. Isn't it the very least I can do to pursue holiness with a little more energy and passion?

But that can be very demoralizing if I let it. I will continually hit up against a standard that I can never never meet. And that makes me feel like crap. Sorry, but it does. I don't measure up. How can I have a real relationship with a Holy God if I can't even be "good enough" to live as if I am thankful for the Grace He has offered me? (Can't you just hear Satan laughing at this point?)

I am still groping in the dark in this area of my life. I want to live a life worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ. But I am not worthy. He knew that - God did, I mean. He stands in the gap for me. His Grace covers my past sin and my current sinful state. Every day He calls me to enter into His Throne Room of Grace and I still tend to want to cower in the corner. But if I approach boldly, I will find a God willing and ready to accept me as I am and yet somehow also inspire me to be better than I am - and offer His spirit to do the work for me. I still don't understand. I know that it is by the Blood of the Lamb that I am able to do so but I don't think I completely appreciate the fullness of the Power.

I have heard this feeling described as the great tension of the Gospel. What we are, what we ought to be, how God sees us today and how we will be at the end of things.

I will continue to trust in the Saving Power of Jesus Christ. I will continue to pursue holiness and allow the Spirit of God to work in me to make me more like Jesus.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crazy Day

I thought it was going to be one of THOSE days. I awoke to find that my alarm had not done it's job. Well,that isn't exactly true. It went off and I thought I hit the snooze button. I turned it off instead. So at 7:20am, a full 50 minutes past the time I should have been up, I scrambled out of bed to get my kids fed breakfast, teeth brushed and out the door to awaiting buses. When they were gone I raced to get myself ready and out the door. This was not goinig to be good. I had a tonne of things to do and I was sure something important was going to be left undone or someone was going to be let down.

Well, I am ok with things not getting done. Things can wait - like laundry or emptying the dishwasher. But when I let someone down? If I don't meet someone's expectations? That upsets me. When I fail to meet my own expectations? That kills me.

I read somewhere that we have expectations and then we have reality. The further apart our expectations are from our reality, the more frustrated we are with our lives. So, it would seem that we have two choices: lower our expectations or alter our reality. Sometimes we do well to lower our expectations of ourselves and of others. This can be the kindest thing you can do for yourself and those you care about. Regardless, we still have expections of some kind. And since we can't alter reality, we need to make sure that our expectations of ourselves and others are reasonable. So, what is reasonable?

Micah 6:7-9 tells us "He has shown you, oh (wo)man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

Today, in my crazy busy day, did I do as the Lord has instructed? As I raced to get kids out the door, did I act justly and did I show mercy to the child who had a hard time getting up and going - just like I had? In my frustration with the day, was I humble or did I act as though what I had to accomplish was more important than being kind to the grocery lady as she took WAY TOO LONG to scan my items?

We are always going to have unmet expectations - like alarm clocks not going off. And we are going to let other people down when we don't meet theirs. This is reality. We can be uptight about it or we can rely on our Heavenly Father for grace to deal with it! And Grace through Jesus Christ is what he offers us when we fail to meet HIS expectations of Holiness. Let's receive it with gladness and joy - liberally passing it on to those in our lives who also need us to extend it to them!

Tonight as I set my alarm (which I fully expect to wake me up tomorrow) and get into my unmade bed I can thank God that He sustained me today. I didn't do everything perfectly. I didn't accomplish all the things on my to-do list. But God doesn't care. He cares that I took time to be with Him. He cares that I was merciful and kind to others. He cares that I tried to be a little more like Him today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beginner Blogging

With the help of my good friend Tyler, I have entered the world of blogging. This is very strange to me as I have never considered that people would want to read anything I might be inspired to write. But Tyler has assured me that even if no one else follows my beginner blog, she will. (thanks!)

I suppose having an audience is the very reason for blogging. Putting your thoughts and ideas "out there" is a much more rewarding experience if you think someone might read and be inspired/challenged/encouraged by them. Even so, the idea of an audience is very intimidating. It is easier to stay silent, out of the spotlight, invisible.

But I want to move past my fears and insecurities, out of the shadows and off of the sidelines and onto the center stage of my life. I want to develop the skills and talents that God has given me for His Glory. And yet, as I step out and become more visible I want the world to see HIM and not me. In essence, I need to be invisible. It may seem a little strange but the only way this can be about me is that it is NOT ABOUT ME!

It is like God is asking me to step into a spotlight; and the light that shines on me simply reflects back Jesus.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wish we could have stayed longer...

KUDOS CrossRoads Retreat Team! You have done what I would have thought was impossible. You have made a Retreat Girl out of me!

I stayed up way too late. Learned to play Dutch Blitz and Banana-grams! Worshipped with an annointed worship team. Had a WONDERFUL 40 minute massage. Started this I had a lot of funblog. Ate way too much food. I even got to shop for jewellry and books! It was a great way to spend a weekend!

In all of that, I think my favourite thing about the retreat this year was the time of relaxed fellowship. I was able to meaningfully interact with old friends and make new ones. Most important, it provided me with the environment where I could connect with my Best Friend, Jesus.

See you all next year! And Jesus? Thanks for meeting me there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lessons from Retreat

Insecurity and anxiety are rooted in unbelief and pride.* This is good news and bad news for me. The bad news is that this lumps insecurity and anxiety in with the sin of unbelief and pride. The good news is that I can deal with my insecurity and anxiety the same way I deal with any of my other sins...let it be placed under the blood of Jesus Christ.

*From Beth Moore's DVD series Loving Well.