23 Oct 2014

Suppose you're not such a great witness..but ..today . is . a ..gift!

This being a Christian thing can be unnerving

biting nails !

I remember my daughter struggling with it, and each time as we sorted through the debris of doubts and questions, this one piece will appear persistent, almost like it can crawl back after we toss it out: but I'm not good enough!

Somewhere deep within her (no thanks to our imperfect parenting) lurks the notion of 'measuring up'.

In my latest book Shed Those Leaves, I come right out and say it: Forget it! You and I - we won't measure up!

But how we hate to hear it. We want to measure up. We want to be good enough. What kind of wimp lets someone save them? That sounds so much like... failure!

But suppose we come to our senses and cry out for salvation. What do we do next? Go right on trying to measure up again! Habits, especially such ingrained ones, die hard! So commonly I hear -

I'm not a very good / strong Christian
I am sure that wasn't a very good testimony
There goes my Christian witness!

and it goes along with the expression of helplessness and a taint of defeat; sometimes complete with an audible sigh!

To their disappointment I don't hug them and say, "I am sure you are trying your best" - because sometimes, honestly, we don't! We don't care that much about God's reputation. But my quiet presence is not meant to be rebuke; it is meant to be company. I know. I am right there with you at notch four.

You see, I used to beat myself up.
Then I would get sick of feeling beat up.
Then I may beat myself up for not being firm enough on myself...you get the crazy routine.. until - one day, I realised I was having this conversation all by myself. I was deciding whether I was good enough, and whether I right about my estimation, my feelings about it and so on...

So I did a weird thing. I asked God.

Did I really mess up?
Was it that bad?
What could I have said / done differently?

God swooped right in on me then.

What is in your heart for this person / situation?

We are so bent on making an Impression when our witness is meant to be our Expression of Him!

Huge difference there.

Now I was feeling true, real, guilt that will make a difference. I saw the paucity of my love. I saw my priorities in clear light. I saw my attempts to feel good about being good.

It was a good, necessary seeing, the kind described as thus
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret...
~ 2 Corinthians7v10
I grieve often for my lack of love, a love that prays on knees, serves with hands, runs with feet, weeps with a broken heart and sacrifices that others may live better or stronger. This is a grief that empowers me. It doesn't in the end lead me to wallow in my lack; but to run to the Supply.

What about you? What helps you take the next step?

And one more thing God still says to me; which this video captures so well {you need a few minutes to enjoy this} -

Each day is a day for adventure, for receiving, for giving as we are being led to higher places or lower places -- and our witness happens in smile, speech or service as we express that bit of the Great God who mercifully works and weaves Grace and Truth, Life and Light into our days.

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