All Over the Map

I’ve been gone lately. I haven’t wanted to write. Honestly, it’s been too hard to share where I am and where I’ve been. I’ve felt pressure from all sides to do stuff…stuff that supposedly gets me closer to God, and I’ve run the other way. At first, I thought I was running from God, but I think I’m running from the religious Bible thumpers who say I have to do certain things in order to be “good” with God.

Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.

Neglect your Bible, forget to pray, and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink.

Really? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. We all know people who read their Bibles, and that’s about as far as it gets. There’s no real relationship. It’s all a façade…an act…a performance to prove that they’re “good” in God’s eyes…that Jesus loves them because they’ve pleased Him with all their lists of things to do for Him.  They’re usually the ones who are trying to push their “methods” on everyone else around them and making everyone tired in the process. It’s all about control and manipulation. They’re posers…pretenders…hypocrites, and deep down their lives are a mess, and they know it. I’m a mess too, but I want to expose my mess so that others know that they are not alone and to find healing in the process.

I’ve been reading a lot of different things lately. And one of the books I picked up is called Families Where Grace Is In Place. Awesome book, by the way. But one thing VanVonderen points out about the passage in Matthew 18 which talks about causing “the little ones who believe in me to stumble” is that Jesus is not teaching this message to the drug dealers or the child abusers, although I’m sure they would be included, but  He’s teaching this to His own disciples, and He’s telling them to not make the children stumble by having them try to measure up…to try to earn God’s approval.  This passage comes right after the disciples were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. Coincidence? Probably not.   VanVonderen says, “I think Jesus was very concerned that His disciples were concerned about earning points in a kingdom where there are no points to earn.” (124)

Lately, I’ve been confused about who God is. Up until about five years ago, for me God was a God of judgment and condemnation. I didn’t know the loving, merciful, compassionate God who is NOT all-consumed with every sin that I commit. If He was concerned and kept record of every sin I committed, then Jesus died needlessly. All my sin was placed on Jesus at the cross…past, present, future. It’s gone, taken care of.  But that’s not what the legalists want people to believe, because they would no longer have control over other believers if everyone knew they were FREE from their laws…free to be who they are in Christ. Many pastors would be without congregations if believers realized they no longer have to be under the tyrannical hierarchy and rules that so many churches are built upon.

I’m angry and frustrated with the people who are posers, pretending to be bringing a message of God, when in fact, they’re using God to promote their own self-serving agenda. I’m surrounded by those who are afraid of God because they really think they can earn and lose points with Him and also by those who only use God for their own purpose to get noticed or to even become “blessed” and wealthy. In another book I read, the author said, I don’t believe Jesus became poor so that we could become rich.  I’m sick of being around religious people who are purposely trying to look full on the outside and are empty on the inside. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” According to the ESV notes, “the poor in spirit are those who recognize they are in need of God’s help. The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who confess their spiritual bankruptcy.”

I have so many bad feelings toward the God that I grew up with…feelings of fear and anger and distance because my view of Him was so distorted. So many leaders I knew would take God and use Him like a weapon, to bash around at will to keep me and others in line.  But a few years back, at a very difficult point in my life, I met the part of God who was my Abba, my Father, and I put the other aspects of God out of my mind. Until now. And right now, I’m trying to reconcile the other aspects of God with my Abba. That’s been hard. I know my Abba is with me and loves me, but Almighty God still seems a little distant.

When Jeff was without work for close to a year, I knew God was providing, and it was amazing to see, but it was difficult. Friends and family were paying our bills and buying our food. But it became hard to receive because there was no end in sight.  And so I grew a little tired of waiting until we could become self-sufficient again.  Dan Allender in his book Cry of the Soul says, “They (the Psalms) expose the essence of our emotional turmoil—the commitment to finding life apart from trusting God.” (33)

Sara Groves has a song that reminds me that it’s ok to struggle…that it’s ok to wrestle…even if I’m having a crisis of faith…a lack of trust.  Because, remember, we’re not on a point-earning system with God, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief, especially for those of us who aren’t good at to-do lists, or get easily bored, or simply forget what it’s all about at times. That’s where I’ve been lately…a little lost, a little confused, a little forgetful, a little tired.

There is a love that never fails

There is a healing that always prevails

There is a hope that whispers a vow

A promise to wait while we’re working it out

So come with your love and wash over us.

7 Responses to “All Over the Map”

  1. June 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Kim – I love your honesty, my friend. About a year ago, our pastors did a series on Galatians. It was life changing. Two of my favorite “quotes” were:

    Jesus + Anything = Nothing
    Jesus + Nothing = EVERYTHING!

    “There is nothing I can do to make God love me more and there is nothing I can do to make God love me less.”

    I’m still learning to live this way. I fight the guilt and the need to “measure up”…praying for you as wrestle with it too.

  2. 3 britt stratton
    June 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Kim, Your post spoke to me as they usually do:-) Let me tell you, I can relate so well! I have been thinking recently that we have so many friends who seem to all be in the same place. I know God is changing us and making the way fuzzy so we can only look up to Him.

    About a year ago we were at a church for a time, looking for a place to call home. The pastor gave a pretty standard message and then told us to ask ourselves about our relationship with Christ compared to a year ago. Obviously implying that we should be more mature in our Christianity. I disagreed with his “measuring” but thought with tears in my eyes, I have persevered. I haven’t given up, I still love Him, I know that it is only by his grace, and I know that he has dragged me kicking and screaming at times. You have persevered as well, Kim. The message of grace challenges our beliefs and it is SO good to question what we have held to and so healthy to ask why, even through gritted teeth!

    You are not alone, my friend!

  3. June 27, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks, Britt. I know you understand the struggle, and I appreciate your encouraging words.

  4. 5 Bethany
    July 2, 2010 at 9:20 am

    To make my comment short & sweet and to steal a line from Facebook … “like”. Love you Kim.

  5. July 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    thanks, Bethany! Love you too!

  6. 7 LeeAnne
    July 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    wow, what a journey! I agree 200% with everything you wrote and feel lady! Firsthand I know! It’s a hard place to be but……you know all the cliche’s and I don’t want to use them….I do want to remind you, which has probably already been done by now….You’re still in God’s hands and this will only make us look forward to His returning even more, for sure! One day, we won’t have to live by man’s rules on this earth where money and jobs matter so much! and paying bills, LOL, look to that glorious day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

time flies

June 2010
« May   Jul »
Follow enjoying the ride… on WordPress.com

enter your email

Join 1,208 other followers

when I wrote my stuff

Stuff others seem interested in


%d bloggers like this: