I keep falling into Love
I wonder if I am exceptionally ungodly or if I am just a trouble-making hooligan, cause when I find myself genuinely seeking and following Jesus I get confused on how I got there.
Really, every time I find myself being faithful to Jesus in some capacity, it truly feels like I tripped into it.
I even get a bit self-conscious at times because I am just little ole me, and we all know how I can get—drunk, naked, kissing strangers, and making terrible jokes about Joe Lieberman. And something that may potentially be coming from the Spirit is flowing… from me?
I wish I could say it was always humbling, but I feel embarrassed for Jesus! He really should know better than to use me. I am not the PR you want for the Kingdom of God.
In those bizarre and wild moments when Jesus makes an appearance through me, I want to loudly clarify to the world that I am in fact a mess and the righteousness they see is a mistake, on either my part or God’s. I want to scream, “DON’T WORRY, THIS IS NOT ME, THIS CAN’T BE ME!”
Yet, somehow in those moments, I feel the most alive and I feel the most in tune with God and myself. In those moments where something good and Jesus-like finds its way out of me, I feel the most like… me.
Maybe from this side of Heaven it looks like serendipity, but I think someday, when I am swimming in the eternities and I am face to face with Jesus, I will be really overwhelmed by how much God orchestrated all those silly trip-ups into glory.
To think, God would use me?
It is humorous and foolish but beautiful and glorious and I think God does these sorts of perplexing things.
I think I also have good reason to feel like me when I am walking in the Holy Ghost and doing shit right. That was how I was made to be. I was made in that glorious Mystery’s image—the one that was said to be Love and the one who was made known in Jesus. He created me to love, tenderly and sweetly, and radically and furiously, just like him.
So sometimes I make the mistake of being me. Thanks to Jesus, really. He’s doing a good work of recovering all that good in me that I forfeited to greed and lust and hatred. And it is amazing what he can do despite my goofy attempts of getting him off my back.
Believe me, I don’t get how all of this is possible either, but I am glad it is.
I love the way you touch me and the way you kiss my cheek and the way your legs wrap around mine and the sincerity in your eyes and the hope in your heart and the joy bursting out of you and the God who holds you together. I love you.
Held in the Light
Something I have come to really appreciate that I have experienced during Quaker meeting is ‘holding someone in the Light’. Typically towards the end of meeting, especially among the non-Evangelical variety, there is some time left for those in the meeting to name people that need to be held in the Light (and often reasons why this is needed), and a moment of silence is given to do just that. Now I cannot tell you what everybody is doing during that silence or how spiritual or intercessory this practice is for those sharing this moment (especially in a meeting with nontheists), but I have heard a few people describe it as a practice of petitioning God by imagining those named consumed by Light, which for many represents both God and Love. As a wild charismatic, I do believe words have power and that there is value to speaking out prayers, especially intercessory prayer, but I cannot help but really appreciate this form of prayer and I admit, it has become a huge part of my own prayer life. Throughout the day I come before God holding people in the Light, placing them in God’s hands, believing that Love will have her/his (I went there) way. I even hold myself in the Light throughout the day, receiving the free gift of God’s presence wherever I am, believing that I am embraced and cared for constantly and unconditionally. It’s centering: it helps me see life through the lens of the God who is love, it postures my heart to love more fully, and sanctifies my imagination. And if all I got from this year-long Quaker-immersion is this, I think I would be happy.
I found out that my roommate got up at 1 AM to shut the door and made some noise and I sprung up in my bed and spoke in ‘a strange language’ at him rapidly for 15 seconds and went back to bed.
They don’t know about my Pentecostal side and they really are in for something.
Crises, discernment, theology, and calming the hell down
For me, I have found, that many of my inward crises are not best dealt with by trying to actually find a solution to them. I am all for prayer and studying the Bible/Church history/theology/psychology/etc., in order to discern certain things and take a step forward in life. But I think we too often exhaust ourselves discerning and we forget about living. Personally, I hear God best and find the most peace when I simply follow what I already know I am commanded to do.
Last year, I wrestled with a lot of things—moral and theological issues—and sometimes I had to stop obsessing about those things and go to work, deal with produce (I worked at a small grocery store) and talk to customers, smile and pray over all the fruits and veggies, and be a good employee, and in that process of everyday life, I would hear God. I would find myself consoled. I would find peace. Things in my head would find cohesion. And life came together.
When it came to my theological crises, I would often have to stop studying theology in order to understand theology. I had to take a step back and not let worry fuel my pursuit of peace and understanding and direct my soul’s pondering on Christ and his gospel and, in time, things seemed to just mend themselves. And sometimes I also found peace with not knowing—and even never knowing. And maybe this is not always how it is like, and maybe I am oversimplifying the discernment process and how to approach theology, but the excruciating effort people pour into that sort of stuff does not seem healthy.
"My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore."