Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In The Image of God...

"Hello, this is Courtney with Empirica, and I was just calling to follow up on your pre-employment screens.  The clinic says you didn't show up."

"Well, see what happened was…"


It doesn't matter what the explanation follows, I've already made up my mind; this dude has wasted my precious time and added just one more headache to my busy, unpredictable schedule.  A simple phone call could have saved time, money, some of my valuable brain cells, and eased the ulcer I'm fairly certain is forming somewhere within my gastrointestinal section (Yeah, I passed biology by the grace of God and my professors).  I'm exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, and now this individual who I don't have to physically face has become, in my eyes, the biggest moron ever to walk the earth.

Amidst this conversation, someone walks in the door (obviously a solicitor), the other line rings, two e-mails pop up, and my mortal enemy, tears, begin to threaten to reveal stress and irritation.  In an attempt to remain professional, I try to work up a smile for the visitor, the tremble out of my voice as I ask the caller to hold, and take a deep breath.

Stupid, stupid, stupid…I hate this, I hate this, I hate this…

At this point, everyone is dumb, including myself.  I suck at this job, I suck at life, I don't know why I'm here, I don't know God wants me in this dumb situation when He's made me good at other things and given me a passion for other work, why didn't He make me better at handling stress, and why, oh, why, did He allow some people to be so stupid!

Then His words come to me, not words I expect, but words that help none-the-less; "God created man in His own image…he knit them together in their mother's wombs…they are fearfully and wonderfully made…" (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14).  

I'm humbled and calmed somewhat.  The guy on the phone, smart or not, the solicitor, intrusive or not, and I, useless or not, were made in the image of God, knit by His hands in the wombs of our mothers, valued by the Creator.  Each of us has a story and a soul that God has crafted in loving sovereignty, each of us has stressful days, and moments in which we kick ourselves for dumb moments.  We all, desperately need grace.  

This reminder doesn't completely pull back the tears, it doesn't make me love the situation in the short or long term, but it does help me relax, help me be a bit more gentle, reorganize my thoughts.  I'm so thankful God doesn't leave me in my own frustrations without reminding me that He's there, reminding me of what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, worthy of praise…(Phil 4:8).  Truth can change one's attitude, truth applied by the Spirit, Who's help I am so grateful for.  I'm quite sure I'll need more reminders along the way, and a lot of grace, but I'm thankful for the reminder I got today.

This experience reminded me of the song below by John Foreman.  It didn't relate as well as I would have liked, but it is about viewing others properly, maybe more graciously, so I still decided to share it.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The World Has Been Overcome

I'm never sure what to say on this day.  I remember along with everyone else, recall sitting in my sophomore speech class when the news came of the first plane hitting, then onto dance where we listened over the radio as a second followed it.  Friends around me called parents and teachers didn't stop them.  A girl I knew was in tears because her father was in the air and she hadn't heard from him.  Our youth group gathered to pray.  I sat glued to the TV almost every day after school watching as fire fighters and others tried to stop the ever spreading disaster, as people lost their lives, as my friends and acquaintances either found relief in making contact with someone in potential danger or lost a piece of themselves a midst the fire...

...and I waited to cry.

In a way I felt disconnected and the lack of tears made me feel guilty.  Yes I was horrified, yes I was sad, yes I prayed…but that pain, what I saw, it never really got inside of me.  After a few days the emotion finally set in, but somehow it still felt off.  I hadn't lost anybody; I didn't have a right to cry, to mourn.  Still I did, wondering if this was true sadness or something the musical montages and media coverage and speeches and prayers had conjured up.  Emotions are easy things to rile and ought often to be distrusted.

Even now I feel somewhat guilty in even talking about the event, like it wasn't something that actually happened to me, as if I’m perpetrating a fraud by trying to connect with it.  So I didn't know what to say today, but I didn't feel right leaving it alone and ignored.  Those that died should be remembered and mourned, those who lost should be comforted, bathed in prayer.  In many ways for me it is learning to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), learning to listen and hear and care more about loving those who are weeping  than about stirring up emotions in myself.  It’s hard to make sense of this day no matter what you lost twelve years ago and my prayers are with the mourners, with our leaders, with our nation, and I rest on the promise Christ left with us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I See Myself in Miley...

I see myself in Miley Cyrus.

Really, I swore I wasn’t going to get in on this discussion.  I was rather depressed simply by the sheer number of articles I actually read and the plethora of disturbing pictures I subjected myself to made even more abysmal by the fact that I still don’t really know what the heck is going on in Syria or what to think about it.  Often I condemn the comments sections of articles on the internet for their serious lack of attention to important things and failure to follow any semblance of rhetorical argument structure at all, yet I find myself sucked into the discussion and adding to the attention the ex-Disney Princess has garnered for herself.
I write about it now because I see myself in her.      
Though she’s claimed to have hardly thought about her actions on national TV, her movements, her costuming, her song (I’ve never heard it but read some of the words…) are all clear cries for attention.  And sadly, it worked.  Though most of it has been negative, everyone’s talking about Miley.  Some people are disgusted, some saddened, some defend her, (some like me wonder who the heck dressed her in a color so unflattering) but whatever the reaction she got exactly what she wanted; the masses talking.  Even negative attention is attention, and in the entertainment industry especially, it doesn’t really matter which sort you have, so long as the voices don’t go silent.   

But I do the same thing.  Granted it’s on a much smaller scale, I certainly don’t have the rapt attention of the masses, nobody is going to be tweeting about my antics (you doubt I have antics?  I submit that I do!), but like Miley Cyrus, I crave the attention of others.  A lack of comments on my blog frustrates me, someone else becoming the center of a conversation sprouts the small vines of jealousy, losing makes me feel like a failure.  I want your attention, I want your praise, and I’ll be loud, offensive, or ridiculous to get it.  

So yeah, I’m a little sad for the girl desperate to make a name for herself, but I’m also sad for me.  And if I’m honest with myself, I am a bigger failure than the girl on TV because I know what has been done for me.  Due to no merit on my part I have been cherished and loved by the God of the universe, made apart of His kingdom, His body, at the expense of His Son.  I know all this, I have been, and am always, loved, yet I long for the approval of man.  I need to remember what Miley needs to know; that I was made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), that though I rebelled against Him He died for me (Rom 5:8), condescends to have a relationship with me and allows me to call Him “Father” (Rom 8:15)…but how easily I forget, how easily I seek satisfaction in the laud of the world…         

I pray for a better memory, to believe what I know to be true, and I pray for a gracious heart towards my fellow attention whores and people pleasers.  Lord, may your kingdom come swiftly…