green is not my color


(I mean that both as a way to sort of address this post - as in "Dear God..." and as a totally non-"Lord's name in vain" kind of exclamation of disbelief - or belief - or a little of both - or, wait, what? I think I'm starting to digress... I mean, um... Star Tours, what are you doing here?)

I don't know about you all, but I can go from perfectly happy to a crazy-insecure-slap-me-as-I-scream-into-a-pillow mess in no time flat.

Am I alone here?


You don't have to answer but if you're so inclined, lend me your ear (and I'll sing you a song) (no, I won't, but they will)...

Anyway... Three things occurred while I was driving home from from a wonderful day with Dean and Robin tonight (well, four if you include stopping by Fred Meyer to grab sushi). 

1) I heard something I knew pertained to me
2) I asked God to help me with it and,
3) He heard me


I've been listening to the 2011 Rewind CD my church gave out which has various sermons from last year as a sort of roundup of the core of teachings. I've been loving it (it's nice to be able to think back on things and even hear some of the lessons I may have missed). Anyway, the one I was listening to tonight was about Love. And not just any kind of Love, but Agape - God's Love. 

Now hear me out, I'm not trying to get on some soapbox of Christianity but as I've said before, this is simply the positions I'm coming from here. It by no means assumes you can only love with God, just that in the particular case of Agape, the translation from Greek refers to "God's Love", a spiritual kind of love that loves expecting nothing in return. It is a pure, unconditional and selfless. And that's something I think everyone can appreciate, regardless of anything else. 

In 1 Corinthians 13, where that famous "Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious" deal comes from, it is talking about this kind of Love. 

Now here's the thing, most of the time I feel like I've got the Love thing down. When I love someone, I do my best to do so unconditionally and expecting nothing in return. It's something that I attribute not only to believing in Christ but my humanity in general. That is plain human kindness. 

 But as I've mentioned before, for the first time in my life I am experiencing some pretty ugly emotions that are seriously impeding my ability to Love and it's making me a little crazy. He is pushing me and testing me ("God, help me grow closer to you!" "OK, you asked for it!" He's making good on that... Be careful what you wish for! He has some clever ways of answering you!) And that part "[Love] is not envious" is the part I am currently working on. In the sermon I was listening to, Phil, one of our pastors, was talking about two very specific kinds of envy, or jealousy. 

The first is the better of the two, but it's still bad. It's the "I want what you have" kind. The "you have a cool car, I want it!" kind of thing. Bad, but the kind that you can overpower when you realize how many blessings you have in YOUR life and that envy will dissipate and you can love again.

The second kind is worse... Much worse. It's the "I don't want you to have it" kind. The kind that looks at someone and says, "You don't deserve it and I can't stand that you have it". It's greedy, it's vindictive, it says, "I don't care if I have something of equal or greater value, I want what you have so that you can't have it!"

Folks - that's the one I'm dealing with. 

The ugly kind. The really bad kind... Please don't hate me. 

(There are about five people reading this who know what situation I'm talking about and while I'm not going to get into the details here, just know that it's not some flippant little thing I'm feeling this way about - trust me on this one)

So I did what I knew I needed to do: I said a little prayer, once again (I wonder if God's getting sick of hearing me ask the same things over and over?), to help me with this. Help me overcome this horrible feeling because I know it's not doing me, or anyone around me, any good. 

I remember a conversation I had with Jared probably two years ago where he told me something I'd never really thought about before. He told me how when he was little and asking his dad how to become the man he wanted to be, his dad (who is just as flawed as anyone else, but I consider exceedingly wise) had told him that while of course we could pray for the things, and the qualities we desire in ourselves, we can also ask Him to take away the things we don't like. The sort of character flaws that cause such self-loathing and disappointment. 

And so I am asking, I am pleading with God to take this away from me. Take it and destroy it before it, in turn, destroys me. It's pissing me off that something is controlling me like this (and even more so because I know I am letting it, bah!). 

Well then something pretty interesting happened, right after a little tornado swept through my psyche and stirred everything up right nice about five minutes after I got home - my god, timing is a sticky little wicket...

I got a comment on my 2011 retrospective post from Jenna (go check out her blog, it's pretty rad) with this quote:

Our relationship with Jesus is messy, intimate, and beautiful all at the same time. Often He takes us on these dangerous adventures just to strip everything else away but Himself. From there, He’ll show us that He is writing a bigger and far more beautiful story than we could have ever imagined
-Paige Armstrong-

Well... Hell. That just about nailed it. I had just asked Him to strip from me something deeply undesirable and make room for something better and more beautiful in its place and... BOOM. 

Mere minutes after I feel the great Jenga blocks of my life start to teeter (again), He moved in (again), toppled it over (again) and said, "Now this is happening - but try again! Build it again, you can build it better! Trust me!"

I've got to keep building and rebuilding until I get it right. 

Oddly enough, driving home last night I was listening to a John Mark sermon (who is Phil's son) and he was talking about how God will work through people to help others. How cool it is when seemingly out of nowhere someone will connect with your life, with no way of knowing how or when you will need them, and be the outstretched hand you need RIGHT when you need it. 

Oh geez, did I need another reason to believe? Apparently so.


Like I said, and will continue to say, I will never say this faith is the only valid faith in the world. I just know that this is what I believe and that I think it's pretty damn cool when I can see it so actively at work in my life. 

So if you've made it to the end here, thank you. Thank you for hearing me out, thank you for listening, thank you for not judging me, and thank you for being a friend

(That last link made you hate me right? Dean, you're not amused at all, are you? Neither was Mike when I posted that on his wall... Worth it.)


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