Friday, July 1, 2016

The Story Wrecks my Life.

Let me tell you a story.

Gather around, squeeze in close. I only want to whisper, lean on in. Lend me your ears, a piece of your time, a moment if you will. Let me tell you a story that wrecks me. that breaks my heart and puts it back together simultaneously. One of love so strong, love so grand, it turns everything upside down and on it's head. and nothing is as it was, but everything is as it should be.

The story of a forever sinful people and a forever loving God.

You see lately I've been at war with myself. And I can feel both Savior and enemy tugging at my soul. It started about ten or so weeks ago. About the time the church I've been attending starting going through the series called the Story. It's basically reading the entire Bible Genesis to Revelations as a continuing story. and it's been an eye opening, and gut-wrenching experience. One of a constant tug-o-war, of growth, of doubt, of looking at myself and truly hating the person looking back from the mirror.

Before this series everything to me just seemed black and white. I had my faith, I knew right from wrong, but then words were preached and my hearts been convicted and the black and white have smeared, and it makes a mess as it turns grey. It's always been easier to keep walking around in the dark, I may trip over things and fall, but I can't see the mess. But God's turned on the light, He's leaned down and called into the hollow parts of my faith and of my heart. "It's time, Cameron, stop stumbling in the darkness. turn on the light, walk in the light, be the light."

God's word has just been kicking me in the teeth as I try to choke it down. For so long I've been swallowing the lies that surround me, the truth is hard to throw back and let sink down into my gut. Especially in this series my church is pushing through. And we're only into our 11th week and the Story is wrecking my life!
In opening the scriptures and digging into the meat and the marrow, I'm seeing all that I've missed. Of how much my life, my human condition echoes that of Israel, that of a people who cried out to God when in chains, but when freed, cursed Him. Of a people who wanted all the promises, all their desires without the walking, without the following, without the trusting. And the minute they received them, they traded the gloriousness of God, for worthless idol worship.

This is me.
by definition.

And when did I start thinking that only when God gives me my desires, than i will serve Him whole heartedly, that only then i will truly pursue the plans and the callings He's fervently placed upon my life. When did I become this woman who's half-hearted in her worship of the Almighty God. Last Sunday Pastor Benji said "God wants all of you or none of you." And when he said those words my heart seized, because I felt it in that moment, I could see myself so clearly, raw and laid bare. I've been standing for so long on both sides of the fence with one foot in the world and one foot in my faith. Almost believing, almost living, almost. Almost. "But almost never works with God."

Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." And maybe the reason I am struggling to find Him is because I cannot seek Him with only half of my heart involved. I need all of it. No halfway in or out. No dipping my toes in the water, I must be, I need to be fully submerged. I need to be fully in Him. Exposed, vulnerable, real, raw, and honest. Whatever that may look like.

There is this deep hunger that I'm discovering, this ache that's been buried under years of crap and nick-nacks. a hunger for something so much more, for something so much greater. for a glimpse into this Upper Story joined into my lower story that He is weaving and writing and creating. But I'm looking at this desert place that is my heart and I'm looking back at God saying "How can anything grow here?" and He's pointing at those desert places, where the wildflowers grow and so many things spring up from the ground and He is saying "even here things can grow." and He's pointing to the dry places of my heart and I'm leaning in close and He is saying, "Cameron even here things can grow."

And I hunger still.

"Piper says the reason we don't feel the depth of the hunger we have for God is because we've nibbled at the table of the world for so long, anesthetizing our desire with lesser things. Lesser dreams. Lesser loves.
     Those lesser things aren't good enough to stop the hunger, but they keep us full enough that we don't feel the need to put our lives on the line and seek out a permanent solution. Especially is we're told that solution is God. We feel like we've already been through this, that we've tried that path but it's never gone anywhere that has hit us on a deep life changing level. We think we're doing well out here on our own, maybe if we could just get that one thing we always wanted it would rid some of that hunger. And in this world we have an endless supply of one more thing to try. The hunger we have is manageable, so we feel like God works good as a side item.
And we don't even know what we're missing by not craving Him as the one thing worth trading everything else for. Like manna raining down from heaven, we're too busy wishing for steak, to realize that He has provided what is needed to sustain us."  (Grace Thorton).

And my dad said something a couple weeks ago that convicted my heart even more so. It's like God is pulling out all the stops, and I need to open my eyes. You see I had made some snappy comment about someone or something and it wasn't loving by any means, it was the complete opposite. And my dad look at me and said "so, how's your walk with God?" And I know he was saying it jokingly, but there was so much truth in that question, so much conviction in those six words. That here I sit weeks later still mulling it over, still thinking about it.

"God wants all of you or none of you."

Because if I am truly walking with Him it should change me, utterly and completely. My actions, my words, the way I love people. I look at the story of David, just a boy fighting armies, but He brought God into those fights. He didn't claim them as his own, he claimed them in the name of God. And I need to realize that I don't hold the power to save myself or to make myself good and that God didn't start expecting that of me just because I met Jesus. But still I question myself everyday, because if a mere human man can't find me worthy enough to love, how could a God made man find me worthy enough for anything?!?!

And I'm learning through my life group's study on Romans that my human condition is sinful. Yet God still gains glory through the wickedness, but that doesn't make me any less wicked or sinful. That my human condition may be sinful but if I am walking with God my heart condition should be affected, should be changed.

I mean He's brought me into this community, this church and its movement, given me people to challenge me and speak truth over and into my life. and it is good. but it still hurts.

"And maybe I just need to stand in that hurt and feel it deeply for whatever it may be... The deep cuts, the hollow hunger, the raw scars, so that it may usher in more truth. Pain, C.S. Lewis said, becomes God's megaphone straight into our hearts, because it wakes us up to the fact that some things are just too big to have a solution here on earth." (Grace Thorton)

We know deep in our hearts there's a bigger story, an Upper Story, at play here. Something grand and beautiful with deep risk. but what a mighty thing it will be to behold.

I just need to dig in deeper and fill my hunger with Him. I need to dig into this Upper Story and realize that He has not forgotten me, never has He. To let go of my life and lean into His. To preach the gospel to myself everyday. Because the good news is just as good as the day I first believed.

and to always remember; He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. He who is in you is greater. He is greater. He is. 

Here's to letting Him take control. to jumping all in head first. to my lower story reflecting His upper story. for hunger to be filled with His righteousness.

Here's to beating back the darkness one day at a time. And ushering in more light.

to the Story that will continue to wreck my life in the best way possible.

HIS and yours,