“Then we learn that we can’t use Jesus to defend and maintain our position of power and wealth or to keep up for our own sake a positive self-image as polite and decent people. It could be that Jesus will lead us to a place where we ourselves don’t know whether we’re holy, where all we know is we have work to do, where we have to obey the word that we’ve learned in our heart.” -–Richard Rohr
Blame it on Ginger. When I was a little girl, I watched Gilligan’s Island while my mom ironed.
I wanted to be glamorous, beautiful Ginger.
I never once wanted to be Mary Ann. Mary Ann was cute and spunky but Ginger sparkled even on a deserted island.
One of my earliest memories focuses on white, patent leather go-go boots and a fur cape complete with muff – I owned these items at the age of two.
I have loved clothes since I was born.
I love so clothes so much, at times it becomes a preoccupation and a distraction.
I’m in church, arms wide in worship, heart and mind all in. Suddenly, a newcomer sits in front of me.
Worship gets shelved as I find myself thinking, “cute shoes” or “black and cream – I love that – I have cream pants, what black shirt/sweater can I pair with them?”
I’ve had discussions about stuff and excess with other Christians.
Most assure me it’s not a problem. I tithe, I give, therefore it’s fine for me to spend everything else on whatever I want.
My heart can never agree – much as I want it to.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a nice life or possessions. But when it becomes a distraction, a preoccupation, a lifestyle of excess, it borders on idolatry and becomes a barrier to God.
It blocks the life He has for me.
In her book 7, Jen Hatmaker writes:
”Until God asks for everything and we answer, “It’s Yours,” we don’t yet have ears to hear or eyes to see. We’re still deaf to the truth, blind to freedom, deceived by the treasures of the world, imagining them to be the key when they are actually the lock.”
God change what I see and what I seek.
“Do not be fooled by the luxuries of this world; they cripple our faith.
As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live – we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness and love.”
She later writes:
”We want the life part without being united with Jesus in the death part, but that version of Christianity doesn’t exist – that is a false gospel, void of sacrifice.”
I think about the point of my faith – to love others and love God. To imitate the One I follow – Jesus Christ.
I think about who He served and how He loved.
If Jesus were here today, He wouldn’t be the stud doctor wearing aviator sunglasses, driving a Porsche.
The Bible offers this description in Isaiah 53:2-3
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised and we esteemed Him not.
Jesus wasn’t elite. He didn’t hang around the best and brightest. He wasn’t well dressed or handsome.
“At first glimpse Jesus was forgettable, neither standing out for beauty or charisma. Maybe this is why the wido and marginalized and sick and outcast flocked to Him. He was approachable in every way.”
–Jen Hatmaker, 7
In Liz words, He wasn’t sparkly or fabulous.
Jesus was approachable, practical, down to earth. He loved the un-loveable, those society has no use for.
Jesus made the invisible visible – He demonstrated God’s all encompassing love for a people God never forgot.
Dear Lord, where do I begin?
He leads me gently.
I pray, “God show me your direction, Your will.”
What I want is to understand His will first – then go and do.
I like to know the how and why before I go.
I’m learning obedience is often doing without the how or why.
Sometimes the why comes later.
It’s taking small, fragile steps of faith.
Leaping into the unknown, trusting He is in control.
He won’t let me fall.
The Father is faithful.
Jesus requires all of me – my whole life, not just the pieces and parcels I choose to give Him.
I pray He waters well sown seeds to create a new life of service that honors Him.
A life bathed in love.
A life that leads the lost.
New life requires death.
Death always precedes resurrection.
In my journal I wrote, “Before He can change me, transform me, I must let go – let go of the past and everything else – give it to Jesus and let Him create in me a new heart, a new person. Scares me but I want that – if I’m being honest, it’s hard to let go of my “self” – who I am, who I used to be, my stuff – give up control and let Jesus drive.
I don’t know where He’ll take me or who I’ll be when I get there but the thing I know for sure is Jesus is calling and I can’t stay where I am.”
Lord, change what I see and what I seek.
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Luke 9:23-25 NIV