Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Error in My Thinking

One of the things that I assumed when I first started going to Journey was that everyone else there was perfect. Unlike me, of course. I looked around and everyone seemed so perfect. So, what's the word I'm looking for, put together. To me, everyone had given their lives to Jesus at an early age and had since been living a life of mission trips, Jesus camps, perfect marriages and children, and marvelous friendships. Now, I knew logically that it wasn't true but that was my perception at the time. I figured there were a couple other damaged goods kinda folks like me there but we were few and far between. Perhaps looked upon as a novelty for all the other good church going folk.

It's been awesome learning that I was totally mistaken. It seems I go to church with a bunch of other people that are just like me. People that struggled for years before finding "The Way". I love that phrase, I think that I picked it up in Acts. People that had and have what Ed called broken cisterns. My kind of people. I'd like to think Jesus' kind of people.

It's funny because I wouldn't have exactly thought of myself as Jesus' kind of people. Most of my experience prior to Journey had been (whether it's true or not I'm not sure, it was my perception) of Christians that seemed to veer from self righteous to patronizing in their attitudes to a person of my ilk. Nothing that exactly appealed to me to come over to that side of the fence. If I was going to be a prideful, arrogant know it all I could do it from my side of the fence. On my side at least I knew all the answers.

I'm always amazed how God works. How He puts exactly the people you need to hear right in front of you at the time that you need to hear them. That's happened many times over since I've been attending Journey the last couple of years. It's not just Journey either. In my travels through the Christ Following peeps on the Internet as well. In the last couple of years I've heard other Christ followers talk about their struggles with addiction, pride, sex, abuse, fear, money, depression, and all the other myriad issues that we as humans deal with in our lifetimes.

I love the hope that it gives me. Not that I want to be a shiny, happy member of the congregation. There are other things that I DO want that I see in my fellow Journeyites. I want their passion for Christ. I want their faith. I want their determination. I want their spirit of service to their fellow man. I'm blown away constantly by the things I see other members of my church doing. Whether it's leading people in prayer or adopting children from Africa or raising their children up in the Holy Spirit or helping people in TJ or feeding the homeless of a Friday night it inspires me to take that next step into a more aligned path with God. "The Way".

This is just a little thank you for everyone sharing their stories, their journeys, with me over the last couple of years. Letting me know that there aren't any perfect people. That God uses us in all of our inglorious natures to reach others that wouldn't be able to hear the Good News from any other person.

Thank you Lord for everything that I have been through. I understand now that I needed to do what I did so that I can reach those who might otherwise be unreachable. Thank You for those that You have brought to me that I was able to hear their message of Your grace and Your love for them and how through Your Son whose incomparable sacrifice made my life redeemable as well. Amen.


Kevin Brangwynne said...

Great stuff Bub! Thanks for sharing it. Being a far from perfect person myself, I'm also amazed at how God works in / with our flawed lives and I stand in full agreement with your prayer of thanksgiving...Amen!

I Whisper to God said...

One of my favorite sayings from Maya Angelou is this "we are more alike, than unalike". It is so true. When I am struggling with something or someone it helps me to remember that the person(s) involved most likely want the same things I do - love and acceptance. We all hurt, struggle, and seek. We are all here on the journey to find our way home. Some, it seems, are wise and choose to traverse a path that is not so wide and treacherous. But I think it is within us all to seek and find the narrow path.

Great blog. Love you thoughts.

Lise said...

Bub, I'm so moved by this. Like you, I had similar fears about whether I belonged at church; mine centered on some bizarre belief that you had to be part of a family to be a church goer. You had to come from a good family and/or have a family of your own. I also had all the stereotypes that go along with Christianity and hypocrisy. Journey has blown the cover off of that mind-set for me.

I think as humans, we're all inherently flawed and that life's circumstances and conditioning can take us down some rocky, twisted paths. Thank God Jesus and His followers can meet us on those paths and point us towards another Road. I think the biggest gift Journey has given me is in starting to heal the bizarre, inherent shame I have simply for existing. How dumb is that to feel shame for breathing? Or speaking. Or having feelings and passion? Or for wanting to be a part of something? It's so primitive and subconscious yet powerful. And God is saying - you are okay. You are okay and you have FAMILY all around you that will accept you as you are - flaws, quirks and good that you are. I love the Marianne Williamson quote about how our deepest fear isn't that we are inadequate but that we are powerful and good. I think God wants that in us. And it our job to see it in everyone around us.

Michelle Goforth said...

This is the best one yet! I know just how you felt entering that church and I thought the same things. Except I was so hard headed I had to be sent to rebab where we had church in the basement to get me to see the truth. Thank you for the honesty. I can see God is doing a major work in your heart. I see the difference in the focus of your blogs. I prayed this for you a few months ago. It's scary sometimes living a spirit filled life but it's the best life to live, because God's will is good, pleasing and perfect. That little girl is wonderful. How did you begin this communication with this little girl and what started it? Thank you for your prayers. It's cool to have someone way across the U.S. prayin for ya. Know that I'm doing the same for you. God Bless

Evonn said...

Great post, Bub!! Love the perspective, and insight.

Lise said...

Hey Bub,

I did shoot you an email. I hope you got it. Let me know if you didn't.

Have a great week! Lise

Lise said...

Hey, I don't twitter but I saw your comment about Adam Lambert which made me laugh. But seriously, I was utterly mesmerized by his song the previous week.