Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Follow Jesus. So Why am I Still Such a Big Mess!?

Jesus has come into my life and taken hold of me. He has rescued me from slavery to sin, given me new life, and made me a child of God. Yet I still live mostly for myself, afraid to go beyond my own limits. God has given Himself to me, but where is my love? Why is it so small?

So much of me still sleeps in superficial preoccupations. God's life in me is hidden away, buried, constrained by all my own nonsense. I am alive in Christ, but wounded. Even when I want to walk, I limp badly.

If there is anythinganything at allthat has real value in my life, it comes from the grace of Jesus. He really does act and renew my particular life, in such a way that it is clear to me that I must never let go of Him.

Jesus is building up my humanity. I want to let Him work in me, change me, and empower me to cooperate with His loving plan for me as a human person destined for eternal life.

There is a lot of work to be done.

I am still a mixture of genuine aspirations and hypocrisy, possibilities and failures, faith and love and sin and mediocrity, hope and the struggle against falling back into fear. I have a few poor and fragile intentions to do God's will, to be true, good and beautiful, along with some not-so-good character flaws, a desire to live deeply but also inclinations to pride, stubbornness, vanity, and laziness.

Then there is my overall disposition: I try to be loyal, perceptive, affectionate, and intuitive, but I have a quirky personality that is sometimes overconfident and other times painfully insecure. I have "a beautiful mind" wanting to think deeply but always thinking all over the place and ready to find some problem to worry about, some situation to overthink, or some way to overcomplicate an easy task. I have a lot of education, and I can speak and write with some skill. I also have some poetic insight and some craft when it comes to turning a phrase. I have a sympathetic temperament, an artistic sensibility, and a love for music. I have reached the age where I have a fair amount of life experience, but little wisdom and many rough spots, disappointments, unresolved conflicts, and scars. I still have vast gaps of emotional immaturity, and of course a neurologically dysfunctional brain, other health problems, disability, insomnia, and just the ordinary "weight" the human condition. And I can't even begin to understand all the stuff that is going on in the "subconscious" (or whatever it is), that vast murky underworld beneath my awareness.

What we have here in John Janaro is a big mess! Lord, have mercy on me. Help me! I keep seeking Him and I keep praying. With all of this mess, I still have hope because my hope is in Him, and all the weakness in me reminds me of how much I need to stay with Him.

But then I turn around and judge other people. I judge other people? How preposterous!

We really have to love people.

That doesn't mean we ignore when they are being self-destructive and destructive of others. Of course we must bear witness to the hope that is in us, and the One who has embraced us. We must try to help people, but always we must endeavor to see them as God sees them, with real love.

Here we have to be especially humble, because only God truly knows the depths of any person. Even when we know what's true and real and we see externally the wrong behavior of another, we don't know all that's going on inside that other person.

I gather from my own experience that the inner world of every human being is basically pretty freaky.

Jesus needs our love to touch deep places in the lives of others that we will never understand. This mystery, along with our awareness of our own weakness, should make us humble lovers.

If we have been given some of that bread that is the Word of God, and we see someone hungry, we must share it, not by bending down and offering a few crumbs, but by being with them, and sharing both the gift and our common poverty. If they turn away from us, we still have to stayas best we canand share their suffering.

For we are all poor, poor, poor human beings. Whatever our circumstances, we all have hearts made for God. We are poor and hungry and invested with a desire that refuses to die even when it turns to desperation. We are wounded and, somewhere in the midst of all our freakiness, we are longing for healing.

I am a poor Christian. How can I be a witness? Certainly not by pointing to myself and saying, "look how great I am." But Someone Else has come into my life and awakened an unconquerable hope that my poverty might be transformed into humility and love. I don't know how this will reach its fulfillment, but this hope engenders trust in Him, moment by moment, and I begin to find healing.

This is something that can become visible in my poor world.