Monday, November 17, 2014

The Worst Kind of Collision...

I was almost in two different car accidents this weekend.

The first was Saturday afternoon, returning home from errands and luncheons and all things post vacation-related. I was driving in the right lane, passing a Raceway gas station, thoughts drifting...and suddenly, the SUV in the lane next to me decided to come over. No warning. No blinker. No indication. Fast and hard. They were simply in the left lane, and then they were simply in my lane.

I yelled. Yanked the wheel hard and propelled us onto the shoulder in front of the gas station, swerving, grateful for the driveway, grateful no cars were coming or going out of the station's driveway. Grateful the shoulder was there and was clear.

By then the SUV had realized it's mistake and gotten back over, so I could get also back on the road where I belonged.

I drove home, shaky, adrenaline laced, and alert.

Twenty minutes later, the entire incident was but a distant memory.

Until it almost happened again -  this morning, on the way to work, merging from one highway to another heading into downtown. I was driving, thoughts drifting, and suddenly, the cars in front of me that were merging suddenly were no longer merging. They were slamming on their brakes.

Once again, I darted out of the way, yanking the wheel to the left this time to avoid ramming the car in front of me, who had somehow managed to avoid ramming the car in front of them, while somehow the car behind me managed not to ram me as well.

I drove to work, shaky, adrenaline laced, and alert.

And God opened my eyes to what that was all about.

It wasn't about me not paying attention - I was, clearly, and my instincts were sharp, or else I'd have been in two wrecks this weekend if not for His grace. No, it wasn't a wake up call to drive more defensively or a reminder of how fragile life is, though there are always those lessons to consider.

For me, it was 100 times more personal.

Because God showed me the pattern. He gently reminded me where my thoughts had been BOTH times I was in those near collisions. They'd been drifting into a default pattern that He has repeatedly set me free from. I was defying my liberty and allowing myself to sink back into old habits that are no longer who I am or what I want. The thoughts were going to take me down a dusty-familiar trail I had no business and honestly, no desire, to trod again. It was a sneak attack, and it was my wake up call.

Our thoughts come like that express trains on a one-way track. Waiting to collide with either acceptance or denial. We choose to embrace the crash of This Thought...or we choose to dodge This Thought and avoid the collision.

Had those near tangible wrecks not woken me up and shaken me up and changed my course of thought, I'd have embraced the metaphorical wreck of old, destructive patterns.

Both times.

It's not a coincidence.

So I'm choosing to dodge those thoughts, just like I dodged those two vehicles, and avoid the pain and expense of a collision.

You have that freedom to choose, too - the freedom to take your thoughts captive to Christ and crush them with rejection, or open your arms wide to the collision of acceptance. The risk is you have no idea how hard the crash will be. What it will cost you to repair. What damage will be done.

If you don't actively put a stop to that oncoming train, you might end up with a minor fender bender...or you might end up with a totaled heart.

It's not worth the risk.

"We...take every thought captive to obey Christ..." - 2 Corinthians 10:5

Friday, November 7, 2014

How much do you want?

"All we want in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little, we shall find little. If we want much, we shall find much; but if in utter helplessness we cast our all on Christ, He will be to us the whole treasury of God.” Henry Benjamin Whipple

I keep coming back there...

When I'm in church, covered in worship.

When I'm sleeping, tucked in peace. 

When I'm driving, lost in regret.

When I'm in my shower, drowned in prayer.

When I'm remembering, distracted by shame.

Wherever I am, whatever the state of my heart, I return there. To those words. To the truth of them. 

We can have as much of God as we want. 

So how much do I want? Do you want?

When I've messed up (again)? How much of Jesus do I desire? When I'm struggling with pride? How much of Him do I want? When I'm wrestling doubts? How much of God do I need? When I'm fighting fears? How much of Christ is there available?

As much as I want. 

The offer is free to me. 
But the result is somewhat dependent on me. 

If Mr. Whipple's words are true, then we get what we put in. 

I'm not referring to salvation here, which is grace. I'm talking basic principles that we overlook and overcomplicate and underestimate. The simple fact that we get what we look for. We find what we seek. If w e aren't looking/wanting/seeking...we miss it. It slips right past.

I believe there are exceptions, absolutely. I believe that Jesus comes for His sheep when they wander and aren't seeking much at all and are lost and bleeding, and caught and crying. He comes to them when they can't or won't come to Him, and He offers to carry them back to pasture. He did that for me. 

But... He also knew deep down the cry of my heart. The cry I couldn't hear anymore because of my sin and stubbornness and the howl of the wind in my storm - but He heard loud and clear. 

So yes, of course there are exceptions and God will not and can not be bound to any formula we as mere humans can attempt to chain Him to. But I have to consider this truth...The Word promises us in Jeremiah 29 that when we seek God, we will find Him. But look - 
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

It's not a catch. It's not a formula. But it matters. It's there, black and white.
"All your heart."

So how much do you want? How much are you willing to put in? 

How much am I?

A ridiculously wise friend told me a while back that there is a duality in me that needs to be resolved. And he's absolutely right. And it's in a lot of us, maybe all of us. The age-old flesh vs spirit struggle, sure. But more than that. It's that duality of desire. I want this and believe this for my life, yet a lot of the time, my actions and thoughts portray the exact opposite. My spirit is torn between what I truly desire and what I think I deserve, between what I believe God has for me and what I'm afraid is all that's left. 

A duality to be resolved. 

Want little, find little. 

Seek with all your heart. 

I want to cast my all. Even in helplessness. Maybe because of helplessness. In spite of...even though...even so... I want to give it everything. 

Give HIM everything. 

Will you?