Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Struggle

There's a struggle going on inside me.  A struggle with excess.  Too much stuff.  Too many choices.  I'm struggling with seeing how much I have and seeing how little others live with. 

Apparently I'm not alone, I'm finding that my heart is being drawn to people who's hearts are breaking in the same way.  Maybe this is how I'm supposed to feel when my eyes are opened.  At least until I figure out why my eyes have been opened at this point in time.  What I'm supposed to do.  Who I'm supposed to give to, talk to, listen to, work with.  What do I give up?  Everything?  Nothing?  Where's the limit? Where's the line drawn between just enough and too much?  Is there a line?  Who do I feed?  Who do I clothe?  Where do I go?  I don't have the answers.  I know the One who does.  I'm waiting on Him for direction. 

Everyone struggles with sin.  Most people have a particular sin that they struggle with more than others.  Satan is really good at figuring that out and tempting us with our sin of choice.  It may be lying, drinking too much, pornography, gambling, lust, homosexuality - there's a long list.  Some may seem worse than others, but it's all sin.  It's all why we need Jesus. 

For the first portion of my life, my sin of choice was coveting.  Not the extreme jealousy you'd see on a Lifetime made-for-TV-movie.  But dissatisfaction with what I had.  And I had it so good!  I loved name-brand clothes.  I'd drop money constantly without thinking.  The mall was my second home.  I wanted a nice house.  Nice stuff.  A nice car.  A boat.  An RV.  A vacation home.  I wanted to travel as much as possible.  I didn't get all of these things, but I still wanted them.  Thoughts like, "If I had ____ , I'd be a lot happier." 

Then Jesus grabbed hold of me about 11 years ago and began to shake me up.  I was hungry for His teaching on contentment, money, and giving.  My life in many ways turned upside down and I was so very grateful. 

There have been backslides since then.  Five steps forward, one step back, ten steps forward, three steps back.  A person can do a lot of growing over 11 years. 

But oh, what a year this has been!  If I thought I was stretched over the last few years, I was only seeing the beginning of the process.  It's like when you are about to blow a huge bubble.  You chew the gum really hard for a minute first.  Your tongue has to get in just the right position.  When the Bubblicious has been chomped on and everything is in place, you can blow all your air in and watch that pink bubble grow.  It feels like I'm the piece of gum waiting for God to fill me up with His plan.  I'm getting chewed up right now in my Spirit, but He's doing it to get me ready.

After spending a lot of years judging others by what they have and don't have, what they do, what they spend, and where they go, among other things, I am already feeling the effects of that same judgement on me. What goes around comes around. I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it.  I read a blog post tonight from another adoptive mom who is passionate about the orphan crisis as I was thinking about this post.  I decided to link you there and ask you to read it because she puts into words exactly what I am feeling.  Here's an excerpt: 

 "And I worry what people think. I'm afraid that someone will see me in the park with my Kindle (an unasked for gift) and judge me for the post I made earlier in the day regarding 'necessity.' And I'm afraid of what people will say when they see me eating at the local Mexican restaurant after I've made a comment about starving children. And I'm afraid of what people think when they see me snap at one of my children right after I tell them I'm adopting another.

And yet, I find myself angry with people for not getting it. For not seeing how good we ALL have it.

And I picture them thinking about me
Yeah, you're one to talk. You have something to give away. I've seen your house.

And they are right. And I'm unhinged. I'm sick of the extravagance. Because I can hold
bead parties (and will) and I can sell goods crafted by women in vocational training (and will) and I can sponsor children and I can give to my church and I can adopt a child (and get all sorts of wild accolades about my selflessness) and I can donate to the local food bank and I can volunteer at the meat cannery and I can boycott stinking Hershey for their child labor practices (and Pepsi for their fetal testing--knife to the heart--fire your PR guy) and it's NOT ENOUGH.

Because there are still children going to bed tonight that won't wake up tomorrow. Malaria is still rampant when all it takes to slow it down is a
$18 mosquito net. Women are still selling themselves to feed their children and ending up with AIDS so they leave them as orphans anyway.

Oh Dear God when will we wake up and see that this life we have in America is so crazy extravagant and DO SOMETHING so that babies don't have to starve and their mothers have no choice but to let them be raised by strangers or watch them die?"
Here's the link so you can read the whole post:

I do worry about what people think.  I am human, after all. 

As I get stretched and God begins to fill me up with His plans, I'll let you in on it.  For now, I'm continuing to ask God to break my heart for what breaks His and help me know what He wants me to do about it.  That's not something to ask lightly.  When you ask for your eyes to be opened, be prepared it's going to be a whole lot more than you bargained for. Proverbs 24:12 says,"If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" Once you know, you can never go back. You are responsible to act. I am responsible to act.  We as the visible Church are responsible to act together.

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