Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For when you feel the need for rain

Do you feel the need for some rain?  Maybe even a flood.

A flood that will cleanse me of myself. 

Jesus is so loving and kind. He always picks me up again and again and brushes me off and says "I still love you."  He comforts me.  He guides me.  And sometimes He rushes over me like a wave.  I need one of those moments.  So real that I know it was from Him.

I am thirsty for that encounter.

Beth Moore calls it "Between the Rains".  She is referring to the verse in James, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord."  Another words, be patient until His return.  {I just love that, don't you?} I am so good at being patient!  Be patient when we are down right tired.  Tired of 'doing' christianity.  And tired of trying to get along with those around us who are 'doing' christianity as well.  I am so self-deceived.  I play christian.  But really, in God's sight, am I living much different than those who never claim His Name?  Not because I murder 20 children in a kindergarten classroom, or cheat on my spouse, or abuse my precious children.  But because I am so wrapped up in the things of this world.  So blinded by it.  I could hold my own against The National Enquirer's gossip columnists.  I show little to no grace to my family or others when they make mistakes.  I don't pray for those who persecute me, but rather I tear them down with my words and harbor bitterness against them.  I spend more and more money on me while others throughout the world are dying from the lack of food, water, and shelter.  I spend untold amounts of time shopping the latest fashions so my children can win "Best Dressed" while children all over the world are wearing rags with no shoes. And now with the most important of all seasons approaching, I'll celebrate Easter with "bunnies, baskets, and expensive clothes. What better way to say Jesus reigns than dressing my preschooler in a $75 dress to show her off in the church lobby? (You're welcome, Jesus. Be blessed)."

 I'm consumed by consumerism.

Jen Hatmaker writes in her book, 7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,  "Now let's be clear: if you had asked me what my Easter priorities were as I stood all fancy in the lobby, I'd become grave and mention the resurrection.  For crying out loud, I'm a Christian.  But truthfully, between the outfit shopping, the Easter baskets, the egg dying, stuffing, hiding, hunting, the pictures, the lunch menu, and the gift buying, Jesus was flat last.  That's just true.... Assessing the typical American Easter, on one side I see Jesus on the cross, humiliated and mutilated, bearing the failures of every person past and present, rescuing humanity through an astonishing miracle of divine redemption, splitting history in two and transforming the human experience for eternity.  On the other side I see us celebrating this monumental heroism with chocolate bunnies and boiled eggs, with Jesus as an afterthought."

That's me!  As Paul said, ..."Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

I have missed the point so many times!

God is working on me.  I want Him to weed through the fake.  Through the self-absorbed me.  Through the lack of commitment to Him and His will.  Through the distorted lens that cover my eyes and show me 'all the stuff I need.'  Clearing my ears from the sounds of Satan telling me I deserve bigger.  Better.  More.  And that it's all in the name of  "I'm doing it for my children."  What am I doing for my children?  Re-affirming the lie that 'it's all about me'?!   While we, dressed in the best, literally look out to a world with no real sorrow for 'the mother who prostitues to feed her children or the nine-year-old who eats trash to survive the streets.....or the twenty-five thousand people who died today from starvation.' 

Our religion seems so meaningless.  Shallow.

In her book, Hatmaker makes a quick observation.  I decided to do the same.  She went through her closet, counted all the items, and did a round-about figure on what she had spent in the last 5 years {approximately} on clothes alone. 

Here are my stats:
371 articles of clothing
If they averaged $20/item {and let's be honest, that's stretching it!}--- I have spent $7,420 on CLOTHES!
If they averaged $30/item {and still, you can't hardly buy a t-shirt for that anymore}---I have spent $11,130.
29 of those items are blue jeans.  Yes, blue jeans.  My husband is right.  That's ridiculous.

And sadly, I only wear a small percentage of those items.   So while my mouth is yammering about being frugile and saving money, my hand is steadily reaching into my wallet to buy more.

Talk about perspective.

"With my genuine needs met but so many dollars yet unspent, shopping has become a stronger marker of freedom than voting, and what we spend in the mall matters more than what we're accomplishing together as the church.  I am a part of the problem, a contributing member of inequality.  Every time I buy another shirt I don't need or a seventh pair of shoes for my daughter, I redirect my poweful dollar to the pockets of consumerism, fueling my own greed and widening the gap.  Why?  Because I like it.  Because those are cute.  Because I want that....This one pair of shoes? Big deal.  This little outfit?  It was on sale.  This micro-justification easily translates to nearly every purchase I've made.  Alone, each item is reduced to an easy explanation, a harmless transaction.  But all together, we've spent enough to irrevocably change the lives of a hundred thousand people.  What did I get for that budgeting displacement?  Closets full of clothes we barely wear and enough luxuries to outfit twenty families...This is hard to process, so it helps to imagine standing in front of the families of my Ethiopian children, who were too poor and sick to raise their own beloved babies.  As I gaze upon their hopelessness, I imagine them calculating what I've spent on clothing alone, realizing that same amount would've kept their family fed and healthy for thirty years." ~ Jen Hatmaker

What can I say?

I briefly read about this book before Christmas.  I knew right then and there, I didn't want to read it!  But, guess what, I am.  God really does laugh at me sometimes.  I'm not sure where He intends to take me.  But I do know that right now He is really messing with my heart.



Bethany Fegles Photography said...

Hi Beth,

I found your blog from a comment you left on another blog a few days ago. :) Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and thank you for sharing this powerful post! {Jen Hatmaker's book sounds very honest and real... and convicting. But so good.}

I love the things you choose to write about here and how you say them. You have a beautiful heart that gives God glory!

Thanks again,
:) Bethany

Beth said...

Thank you for the sweet comment Bethany! So glad you stopped by! Her book is AMAZING! I have been completely convicted by every word! It's one of those books you know you will be impacted by but you also know it's going to be tough to hear!

Holly Browning said...

Beth...This is Holly from Down to Earth Style. Thank you stopping by my blog. I hope your husband is healthy. What a scare cancer can be. I feel extremely lucky to have my hubby with me every morning to wake up to. You have a darling family. xo