Saturday, April 01, 2006

LBY: An Uncharacteristically Serious BooMama Moment

About three and a half years ago some Life Stuff reared its ugly head. You know how Life Stuff pops up out of seemingly nowhere, rocks your world, and leaves you in its wake. By the way, there were three completely unrelated metaphors in that last sentence. Life Stuff apparently renders one incapable of coherent figurative language.

Here's the thing. The Stuff has absolutely nothing to do with me other than it affects someone I care about, so I feel the ripples. And if you're thinking, "Um, could you possibly be more vague," I apologize. Vaguery is of the essence, I'm afraid, because I try not to be in the business of betraying people's trust. So you'll have to bear with me. Just know that as a result of The Stuff, I feel like I've been in the midst of two Big Battles: 1) fear and 2) pride.

The fear part seizes me at the strangest times. I can be bebopping through my little BooMama life, minding my own business, and BOOM - my stomach drops down to my knees. I like for things to make sense, for all the parts to add up, for everything to be out in the open, dealt with, put back in the box, and filed away (it's Mix Your Metaphors Day, evidently). Nothing about this situation is like that. And so the unknown - the fear of what's down the road - well, it gets to me sometimes. I want to know how The Stuff is going to play out; I want to know the end result so that I'm not so wary of all the what-ifs.

Obviously, this is one area of my life where I've struggled with trusting God. I lay it all at the foot of the Cross, stare at it awhile, and then I think, "You know, I'm just gonna pick this little teensy part up again...I think I can handle it." And I tippy-toe over to where I left it, pick up a little bit, and before you know it I've put the whole load back on my shoulders, and I'm overwhelmed, and I'm scared.

On top of that, my tendency to speak my mind, my desire to say my piece, means struggles with pride can't be far behind. Now I have no right to say anything, mind you - this is not my battle to fight - but I have an almost physical need to try to right all the wrongs in this situation. I want to fight for someone who has been hurt; I want to shout, preferably from the rooftops, "HEY, EVERYBODY! LET ME TELL YOU WHAT SO-AND-SO DID!" But I can't. Over and over again I've had to die to that selfish need, and I wish I could tell you that that was it, that I was over it, that I surrendered my need to speak and let it go altogether.

But that wouldn't be true. Inevitably what happens is that I'm not myself when I'm around this person. I'm not rude in the conventional sense - I'm just distant. But it's impossible for me to fake it (side note: one time I said that to Sister about something else, and she said, "Oh, believe me - we know - you are many things, but you are not an actress"). :-) On top of that, I want the person to know that they're wrong, and they messed up, and doggone it there will be consequences, which I will happily facilitate if need be.

Surprise! Welcome to my passive-aggressive party! It's loads of fun.

As it turns out - and there's no way I think this is a coincidence - David and I were talking about these very issues last week. I was telling him all my frustrations, pouring my heart out, feeling just a tiny bit sorry for myself, talking about how lonely I was because I hadn't been able to share the details of this situation with my friends, and I was really expecting some sympathy, to tell you the truth. But about halfway through my self-prescribed journey to martyrdom, David looked at me and said, "You know what? I don't buy it. I don't think this is really about you needing to share your feelings. I think this is about you wanting to point a finger, you wanting someone to pay for what they did. And you know what? That may never happen, at least not in a way that you can see."

So, um, yeah. That sorta cut to the quick with me.

On Monday I started the LBY study. At the end of Monday's lesson, I had to answer a question about how God might want me to respond to what I learned. My answer: "I think I need [to work on] pride has been fired up lately...." And then Wednesday, when I opened my workbook to the lesson for Day 3, the following verse was staring at me: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). It hit me right between the eyes.

As I moved through the rest of the lesson, which dealt with 10 essential qualities of being crucifed with Christ, I started talking back in the margins, writing like a madwoman. By the time I got to quality #4 - "intense times of aloneness with God are required" - I knew that being in this study was, as our former pastor would say, "by divine appointment." Out beside point #4, I wrote, "Maybe God has 'pulled me aside' over the last [few] years because He wants me to lean on Him [in this situation], not [other people]."


And then quality #8 - "You must forego your rights" - pretty much wipes out any excuses I make for being fearful or prideful. Here's what Beth Moore said, and I'm going to quote it because I hope it'll resonate with some of y'all the way it did with me: "You may have the right to be angry, the right to be bitter [but]....Don't make the mistake of trying to simply ignore your rights when they are so difficult to lay down. Surrender them to Christ and ask Him to replace them with a supernatural work of the Spirit: with healing, with power, with wisdom!"

That spoke to me.

By the time I got to quality #9 - "You must accept that death [to self] is painful." - I felt like God had a 2x4 and was ever-so-gently slamming it against my skull (in a most loving way, of course). Beth says, " choose the will of God over our own is excruciating....Never misunderstand pain as permission to forego the will of God." And I was so completely humbled by that point that all I could write in the margin was "yes ma'am" - because she's exactly right. Just because I can speak my mind doesn't mean that I should. Confrontation with the purpose of satisfying selfish motives will never, ever be of God. That's a tough one, but it's true.

Dying to self is, for me, the biggest battle of all. I want things my way on my time in the manner of my choosing - and it is so arrogant, this presumption I sometimes have that somehow I know better than God. At the end of Wednesday's lesson, when it was time for me to write down how I felt God wanted me to respond to what I'd learned, I was crystal clear: "[God wants me to respond] by laying down my need for confrontation and closure with _____. It's not my battle. It's not my call. And my motives are selfish."

So I got a little clarity, you might say.

I Corinthians 2:9 offers great assurance about why I can happily, gratefully die to my own will and desires. It says, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

I have to trust Him. He knows better. It's just that simple. Because it's way beyond me.

JannaFlipflop Robin
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.


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