Last year changed me. Not the kind of change in which you get a glimpse of something beautiful and shine and you delicately prance towards it as you slowly transform.
It was bloody and ugly. I saw parts of myself revealed that disgusted me. I saw parts of others revealed that disgusted me. I wrestled with doubt, and I don't mean that I dared ask the questions, I mean I stepped into the questions and lived them while getting the tar kicked out of me. (Remember when I talked about what I learned? And a lot about freedom?)
It was necessary. But it was hard.
My personality type is often described as a diplomat, or in less flattering terms? A chameleon. I like to meet people where they are, and that isn't a bad thing. Seriously, it's not.
Until it is.
Because, I've spent my entire believing Christian life thinking that if people liked me, if they liked my ideas, if they liked what God was asking me to do, then they would like God too.
So while I did technically do what God wanted me to do, I liked to run it through the poll of public opinion first. Should I talk about this with this person? Should I stand up for this? Or just politely let that happen so that I don't put pressure on someone?
I found out that has a name.
Let me repeat that:
I had made myself into the image of God.
No stinking wonder it all fell apart.
But last year was my Exodus. I was forced out of my idolatry. I was forced to stop pleasing people.
We are called to please One. Only ONE.
Does that look like love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and faithfulness?
You bet your bottom-dollar it does.
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18
But we get some pretty fair warning that not everyone is going to like us all the time. You know when the Bible uses the H-word, you should probably listen.
You know it's true. You've heard it preached. "You wouldn't let your kids jump off a cliff would you? Sometimes loving people means making them mad." Or something to that effect.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
It was one thing for me to know that and live that with my kids. It was quite another to actually live it in real life with grown-ups. Grown-ups that I desperately wanted to please.
So it took me almost thirty years. Just a little short of how long it took the Israelites wandering around in the desert.
But I'm ready to accept that I'm free now. That hither by thy help I've come. So I raised my Ebenezer.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." 1Samuel 7:12
And I did it like any good rebel would. I got a tattoo. (Sorry Daddy!)