Thursday, August 27, 2009

Caught in the Net

I keep hearing the Lord whisper in my ear, "One step at a time, Megan. Just take it one step at a time." This is in response to my frazzled mind wondering how am I going to "do better" next time when it comes to sin. There is always that one thing in your life that becomes the incessant thorn in your side that you wonder how you are going to let go of because it is such a part of you. That sin that you have dealt with for years and years ago you thought surely by 30 or 40 or 50 you wouldn't still have this "problem." You know what I am talking about. For me it is Performance and Perfection, two very nasty things I have come to despise. For you it might be gossip, pessimism, doubt, control, pride, fear...just to name a few. And whatever it is seems to be the driving force in your life.

I have come to a place of exhaustion and I ask myself why, Lord, why can't this just go away. Why do I still battle with the same things over and over again. You would think I would get it by now. And I keep hearing Him say to me, "One step at a time, Megan." But here is the clincher it has to be "one step at a time while you fix your eyes on me." Oh, you mean I have to get my eyes off myself (who I am pitying at the moment) and fix them on Jesus? I have to get my eyes off of the sin than entangles me in its nasty web. So for the moment I start to fix my eyes on Jesus. Whispering His name over and over again and peace is there for a moment. And then, I hear that nagging voice in my head that says, "What about next week when you are in this situation? Or what about when you encounter this person? Or what if you wake up one day and find that this has happened?" You can fill in the blanks for yourself because we all do it. And I start to panic, taking my eyes off the prize and back onto self, sin and the web I am caught in.

And a few days ago I am reading God's word and it's like He shouts at me through the pages. Psalm 25:15 says "My eyes are CONTINUALLY toward the Lord, For He will pluck my feet out of the net." I sit. I breath. I listen and let God speak. I envision myself caught in this net like a bird. Fingers, toes, head, legs, arms all twisted and caught in this web that is keeping me from freedom. Freedom to be me. Freedom to be complete. Freedom to be used for God's glory. I am so sad. Sad because I am so caught up in this net. I long to be plucked. And the Lord shows me something gently and kindly. He slowly unravels one finger as our eyes meet and I see such compassion and grace and mercy in His sweet face. Then He unravels another and another and another. Then He moves to my toes when I begin to realize He is just at my toes and I have a whole body to unravel!! Panic sets in and I start to squirm. Reaching to help Him, He who needs no help, I am desperately seeking to quickly unravel my toes when my eyes turned away from Jesus and back onto my self. And in that process I have managed to get my fingers, the very same fingers that God himself untangled, right back in the net, caught up and twisted and entangled once again.

This seems to be the theme for so many of us that live life in the net. We long to be plucked out of it and yet we are working and weaving so hard to get ourselves out of it we panic only to find ourselves right back where we started, and sometimes, even more tangled than before. So I have a new goal. My goal is different this time. Instead of setting actual, tangible self-improvements I will just focus on Jesus. I will be aware of the risen Christ even while in the web. I will improve what it means to have the discipline of awareness of the present risenness of Jesus. I will know that if I just keep my eyes on Him, He will slowly, but surely untangle me. Then He will pluck me from the web that keeps me from being all that God desires.

God promises to pluck me out of the net if my eyes are on Him. All the while He is doing it "one step at a time." Thank you Lord that you want to do the unravelling yourself. All you ask of me is to look into your eyes CONTINUALLY. Keep me from myself, Lord. And keep my eyes on yours; eyes full of love, grace, mercy and peace. Teach me this Lord. Please teach me this.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suburbia is Killing Me

I can't believe it has really been 6 weeks since I allowed the time to indulge myself in some mind-clearing, gut wrenching blogging. Summer is crazy in the Wright house as I am sure it is in most homes. Vacations, pools, playgrounds, friends, barbecues and sunscreen eat up most of our time in the months of June and July. Running around trying to cram it all in before the days start to get shorter and the weather begins to get cooler. Just trying to do the all-American thing that most families do during summer vacation. I get caught up in the busyness of it all. Packing for two weeks at the beach for five people seems utterly overwhelming and exhausting at the moment. Picking out the right out-fits for all of us to wear for great beach pics! Applying sunscreen, then re-applying sunscreen. Making sure lunches are packed and ready to be toted to the pool. Everything seems

I mean, really, does it really matter that all of us wear coordinating colors for beach pictures? Or that everyone has a different outfit to wear each day on vacation. The things I work myself up over are, needless to say, RIDICULOUS! And then, my sweet, godly, righteous husband says it all to me during a Sunday afternoon stroll, "I think Suburbia is killing us. It is the worst thing for our walk with the Lord and the kids." What! I mean how can Suburbia be bad for our family? We live in a great neighborhood with lots of families and kids and fun and....and....and....he is right. It is killing us.

I am justifying desperately seeking the complacent life because I really like Suburbia. I freely admit I like the comfort of it all. The friendly neighbors, the good schools, and even, dare I say it, "keeping up with the Jones." Not like we can even begin to keep up, but at least the "Jones" keep me informed of what ever is the popular at the moment. And as I begin to pray about it, I am completely convicted that it really taints what it means to be a follower of Christ. Please hear me when I say, there is nothing wrong with Suburbia, but it keeps us all so comfortable. We like the comfort. We begin to forget what it is like to step out on faith and rely on the Lord for everything. We get comfortable in our homes, our circumstances, our faith. We compare ourselves to the "Jones" next door and at least we are going to church and have a relationship with the Lord. We become so comfortable in our lives in Suburbia we forget to deny it all for the sake of the cross.

So now our goal has become familiarity and contentment. I find myself teaching my children the things that are really unimportant. Oh, Lord forgive me for loving Suburbia. I want to be willing to keep my faith fresh and real and I want my children to desire that instead of good schools and constant entertainment. I really do want them to know that He is all we need. But I do such a poor job at it. I want them to have the "best" just like everyone else. And yet all it is teaching them is the opposite of Jesus. Focused on self and the things of this world. Material things don't matter, education doesn't matter, pretty houses and cars don't matter, and heaven help me, cute children's clothes don't matter.

So my prayer has become "Lord, please don't let Suburbia kill us, the Wright family of five." Don't let it kill the passion we have to save those who don't know Jesus. Don't let it kill the the desire to be content in ALL circumstances. Don't let it kill my understanding of what is important. Don't let it kill this house who chooses to serve the Lord our God. And please don't let it kill the hearts of our church.

I have so far to go...but acknowledgment is the first step to healing from this sneaky illness called Suburbia.

Until next time,