We sang a song today that has the refrain, "no turning back". When Jesus first called my name and brought me out of my own personal pit of hell; I thought this meant a list of behaviors on my part. After making a commitment for Christ I was supposed to change my behavior, language, dress, and lifestyle. The next step was to get myself cleaned up and straightened out right?
My best friend is funny like Lucille Ball. She laughs so hard, and she is also wise. in between giggles Lucy kept talking about the great love Jesus had for me. She pointed me to the path of redemption by grace, and restoration by grace.
Why on earth would anyone think they could be a wreck one minute and a mastermind the next? It just seemed like if I was going to be a believer in Christ that my lifestyle would have to change. No drugs, sex, or rock and roll. That was the mantra of the 80's. I had an incredible record collection, had been to some concerts and enjoyed some boyfriends. Do I dare incriminate myself with any other confessions?
The question is why does anyone think that the first thing after meeting Jesus is to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and remake your own mess. If you pick yourself up by your boots you'll fall on your face. What exactly are my qualifications for this? The mess was incredibly widespread,involved many other people, was shamefully ugly, and devastating for all. Sounds like good experience to me for superior life transformation skills, right? Not.
Would you believe that what became important to me was exactly that? I observed this "code of conduct" certain dress styles and manners of speech. Which group of women friends was the "best" group, who had "money" group, and the "needy" group of "not togethers" that the togethers "ministered too". Not having one suitable outfit to wear to church and wanting to be part of the most desirable "in" group, I charged up a bunch of expensive dresses that I couldn't afford. That didn't get me in their group, it got me in debt. I threw all my records away. Got rid of all my clothes and decorations that were "different". The goal was to become a good church going traditional woman, mild mannered, gracious and genteel.
There was a big problem. God wasn't interested in working so hard on my outer image. He was concerned about my heart and the inner working of my soul, things that take a lot of time and care. Being busy with an exterior remodel was very low on the Saviors agenda.
These are the thoughts that I found myself reflecting upon this Resurrection Sunday. September 24th 1985, on a Monday morning the Lord Jesus rolled away the stone from the dead tomb of my life. Really all I knew was the tremendous overwhelming freedom of forgiveness that was washing over me in waves of tears. I have never forgotten, never turned back.
There was this dilemma, what Jesus was interested in doing on the inside of me; and what I thought I was supposed to do. Everything was so messed up, I just wanted to get it right, and I didn't understand the first thing about the GRACE that I had just received. For years I worked on the image, the code of conduct. It never occurred to me that was exactly what the Pharisees were doing. The enemy of our souls knows how to lay such subtle traps; he's had 6000 years of practice. My husband says, "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Our enemies traps are very effective, they aren't really clever but they are so easy to fall into. Bahhhh it's a sheep! Sheep are dumber than dirt animals, and I GET IT, why we are compared to them! Baaaaahhhhhh again. I am qualified to assert my sheep characteristics because it has taken me this long to assimilate spirit and truth. My house can look like whatever. My clothes can be anything that doesn't have tata's and whoo hoo's hanging out, hair and make up is also a free for all; because it really doesn't matter. That part of "hippie" philosophy was and is right. Those things that are perishable are really not important. What's cool about all of this is that finally, I quit. I can't clean me up. I can't polish the poop. Which circle of people I hang out with at church is of no importance. I'll befriend anyone, that the Lord brings into my life.
Isn't it wonderful to be free? Why do we trip ourselves out? Jesus is so real, so liberating; He asks us to do one thing,"Follow me".
These days I allow myself to wear long skirts, fill up my home with funky stuff that makes me feel relaxed. Go to town without any makeup. Listen to all kinds of music. Life is short, it's no joke that it's a vapor. We struggle to acquire a bunch of stuff that we have to give away when we're old. We're sheep. The smartest easiest thing we can do is follow the shepherd and just relax. That my friends is the glorious message of hope. Cease striving and know that HE is God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will renew....