Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm calling a time out.

Do you ever pray for patience? Me either. I quit that in junior high school. I learned that if you started praying for patience, you suddenly started getting your patience tested at every turn.

Have you ever railed at God? I mean seriously told God off? Kind of like "we are breaking up because I am sick of you letting me down." These conversations can happen silently with a lot of fist raising. Or loudly with a lot fist raising. There might or might not be crying involved. You might be so broken that you are on your knees and aren't able to raise anything, but you are silently letting God have it. You and God are done. Kaput. Calling it quits.

Every now and then I will have these sorts of conversations with people, and most folks admit to having a break with God. At some point, they reached a place in their lives and they gave God what-for, so to speak. I suppose you could call it a crisis of faith. I am always surprised when someone says that they have never been there. Unless they don't believe in God at all. But that is a whole different story. That always makes me think one of several things...

1) They are lying. They have totally been there, but they think it makes them look weak or like lesser Christians to have had such a conversation with God. If I think this is the case, I somehow like this person a little less after this conversation. This always makes me sad.

2) They are totally in denial. In fact, they might be still having this conversation with God even now. I feel compassion for this person. They need to let this out and feel it.

3) Uh oh. I don't want to be the one to tell this person that they somewhere in their future, when they least expect it, they are going to get sucker punched in their solar plexus. That will be followed up with an upper cut to their jaw. And before they can process that, someone is going kick them from behind, and they are going to hit the ground so hard that they won't be able to breathe.

You see, no one is exempt from the hits that life hands out. Life hits hard. And if you haven't been hit. It is just a matter of time. And that verse in Philippians about God not giving you more than you can handle (4:13) is really comforting when you're not the one lying on the floor unable to draw a breath. It is awesome when you are the one holding the Bible trying to comfort a friend. However, when you are the one who can't breathe or move, all you want to do is punch the person who is reading it to you. That is, if you could lift your hand off the ground. However, if all of your muscles have become rubbery, elastic, and you can't feel your extremities, so that isn't possible, it makes you pissed. And you don't want to hear about God. In fact, right now you are really pissed at God. And that is when the breaking up with God that I referred to earlier kicks in. When you are lying on the floor, mad as all get-out. For the record, there usually isn't a Bible-toting friend around quoting verse. You are alone. Alone and angry.

I've said it before, but I will say it again. This whole Big Idea thing was not my idea. God put this idea into my head and has been filling in all of the blanks on that paper. None of this has been my idea. Yeah, it has been coming out of my head. I am taking that to mean because God must think that I have the skills and tenacity to make it happen. So, while I was lying on the floor (metaphorically) railing at God yesterday I was angry on a whole bunch of levels. One of the biggest was that I didn't see it coming. This whole idea was not mine, so I had an expectation of it running smoothly since someone bigger than lil ol me was at the helm. I also was really looking forward to getting my life back.

After my meltdown yesterday I thought a lot about Job. Almost enough to get out my Bible and read the story again to get the details. But I think I remember it well enough for my purposes. Job lost everything at least once. His whole family. His property. Maybe a second family. Eventually, his faith was rewarded and he didn't lose everything in the end. The story is about having faith and pushing forward even when you lose everything. Over and over. I don't remember if it says that Job dropped to his knees and railed at God. He probably did. That is a very human reaction to a terrible situation. But, then he got back up and remained a man of faith.

Faith doesn't mean anything in good times. Anyone can have faith in anything in good times. Faith in yourself. Faith in God. Faith in whatever. So long as it is going well. Having faith in something, in anything, is having faith in bad times. So there really is no faith without a crisis of faith. You can't say that you have faith until you take that punch to the solar plexus and land facedown on the pavement. You can rail at God all you want. You can break up and call God names. That is fine. So long as you recognize that God wasn't the one that sucker punched you. That was life. Then you go back to being in it together to win it and pull yourself off the pavement. You can't just lie there forever.

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  1. Or perhaps you are standing in a movie theater parking lot screaming at God out loud and telling him F*** you, I don't want to be YOURS anymore...I am DONE! AND ripping the christian fish off your bumper while crying and yelling and people are standing there watching? maybe? lol.
    I have been there.
    I have done that.
    And Job lost everything including his health..he had boils all over his body and lost his family, his home and his flocks. His wife told him to curse God and die, his friends told him it was his fault.
    And finally Job questions God.
    And God asks Job..
    "who do you think you are?'
    But God never condemned Job for questioning.
    I think the greatest indicator of faith is getting mad at God...if you didn't believe in him, you wouldn't be mad at him.

    Job says sorry...God gives him everything and then some.
    It's a tough story.
    a tough pill to swallow.
    But once we make it through these times, we are tougher and better prepared for it.
    *and God didn't give you the idea and say btw robin..this will be cake.
    read about jeremiah, or Jesus' disciples.
    I do believe one ended up crucified upside down in rome.
    We kind of have a prosperity gospel here in America...they don't talk about the 'thorn' in pauls flesh...the story of Jonah in the whale is great, but he ended up in that whale cause he didn't want to go the direction God told him to. Then he had to go and preach to people he couldn't stand, they repented and Jonah WISHED FOR DEATH he was so pissed off.
    But what is important when you are lying in the middle of the road like a flattened varmint, is that you can talk your self through it, that you can pull yourself up.
    And I know you will and can, it will just take a while.
    And God is holding onto you, even when you aren't holding onto him.

  2. I don't have an issue with God but for those that claim to be all super godly and do things very unbiblical. Kinda like the previous owners of this house: Christian book author, a liar and thief and more. Grrrr. I just think if you are going to be a sucky person, admit. If you are going to try and live Christian like, then try and admit your mistakes. Doesn't go too well with the break from God thing but just was on my mind. Thanks for letting me vent!

  3. What I love about you, Robin, is that you know your strength even in your weakest moments.

    And, I do recall telling God that if what was happening in my life was a test, to just go ahead and give me my damn "F" because I'd had enough.

  4. I'm right here with you girl....if you only knew. I haven't had it in me to write about.


  5. Anytime crap happens to me Robin, I tend to blame in on the Fates. I seen them often in my head as three spoiled children who are bored and like to mess with people!

  6. I'm with Average Girl on the whole business of getting a raw deal. I always put it down to the Fates.I like her analogy to the spoiled children too. I'm not sure where I stand on the whole God thing...but that's another story. All I can say is if I could send you mental and physical strength to deal with it all I would, and if friendship helps then you've got it. I'll come and hold your sponge for you while you deal with the next round:)The Elizabethans believed in fortune being like a huge wheel and after a period of good fortune you'll get bad, and after bad, seems to be the case for me and I'm somewhat apprehensive about 2011 but for you, surely, good fortune must be en route.
    Warmest wishes

  7. Wise and thought provoking words Robin. I agree, anyone can claim to have faith in the good times, but as you said, faith is making it through tough times and still hanging on, being angry...furious even but hanging on...
    Take care my friend.
    Hope your new year will be a good one for you.

  8. In any good relationship, there are ups and there are downs. Sometimes we get on each other's nerves, sometimes we disappoint. Same with our relationship with God. If we didn't feel the unconditional love, we wouldn't feel entitled to vent ... so the venting is actually indicative of a healthy relationship, the kind where there is no pretense but only honesty.

  9. Late, as usual. But here catching up, reading of your struggles as of lately. I won't say it as eloquently as some, but I will say it.
    I do have faith in humanity and some direction we all share in some way. Not really sure what it's all about. Used to think I kind of knew, but now I know I don't.
    The more I leave things to chance or happenstance or something like that, the more I get it. You've got meaning and purpose. I feel it. I know it. But the timing, that's where it gets rough.
    You will flourish in ways you never saw coming. Because if you saw it coming, you might change it and then it just wouldn't be right.
    I really like the way you often get me to that edge of realization- where living is so real. No need to try to tough it out. I can embrace that I truly am a glass half full kind of girl with a side of happy go lucky if I'm really gettin' real with myself. You do that for a lot of people, I just know it. God knows what your talents are and they will be put to good use. Seems sometimes those who do the most good for others have to pay a high price before any of the good they do comes their own way...

  10. Wow! You have no idea how much I neede to read this. So I'm a little late doing so, story of my life! lol I've never told God off, but I have gotten angry at God before and I've questioned him sure, but the person I get most angry with is myself. With God, I get impatient. And I ask and I ask and I ask, "when?" or "wny me?" or "why not me?". Being raised Catholic, we were taught not to question, but to accept and remain faithful. I have a problem with that. And you're so right when you say that "faith doesn't mean anything in good times" and it doesn't. The Phillipians scripture is one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing this!

  11. wow, you hit the nail on the head of what I've been going thru spiritually for a long time!!! Thank you Robin! You do always have the right things to say and the right timing, thank you thank you thank you!!!


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