Knocking. I often pray for God to meet people where they are. After all, I often don’t know where a person is spiritually, how far or close to God they are, or what their particular needs are at any moment in time. So I ask God, Lord, meet them where they are. But this morning, I realized how funny it was that I would ask God to do something He is already doing!
I had just read the 3rd chapter of the Book of Revelation and verse 20 quickly came to mind. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Yes, I am reading the King James translation this year.)
I noticed that God comes to the door. God does the knocking. God knocks on EVERY door, otherwise He wouldn’t say, if ANY man (and of course, woman) hear my voice, and open the door. Clearly God meets us where we are.
So why don’t we open the door? What keeps us from welcoming God in to our lives? I pondered that this morning as it applied to my own life and I had a realization…or really, a revelation!
If you were to know me very well, then you would have heard me say at least once during our friendship that if you want to come visit me at my house you need to give me two weeks notice. Yes, that’s right, two weeks notice. The inference being that it would take me that long to straighten up so that I would feel comfortable letting you in. Okay, two weeks might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is my house is usually messy and I would be embarrassed if you just dropped by and started knocking on my door. (Don’t get sidetracked on me wondering why my house is messy, suffice it say we work from home and we have a dog.)
If you showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, one of two things would happen. I would open the door just wide enough to pop outside and yes, we would have our conversation on the porch. Or, I just wouldn’t answer the door.
And that’s what I think happens sometimes when God comes knocking on our door. It’s messy inside. There’s probably some sin lying around. Maybe it’s really piled up and we only have a trail left between the mounds of trash we’ve collected in our lives. We’re embarrassed. We’re prideful. We want to clean up before we let Him in. The trouble is, we can’t clean it up without Him. He is the original Mr. Clean.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, God.”
“Oh, hey God. You kinda caught me by surprise. Can you come back in a few weeks and give me some time to clean up?”
“Really, Lynne? Cause I was kind of thinking you’re going to need some help.”
“But, it’s really a mess in here.” Sniffle, sniffle. “I just don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much I don’t want you to see. I don’t even know how this happened, God. I just cleaned it last week!”
“How do you feel about it?”
“Really bad, God.”
“You sound remorseful, Lynne.”
“Oh, God, so remorseful. It’s embarrassing! I know I promised I would never let it get this bad again, and here I am. Please just come back later!”
“Please, just let me in.”
“You won’t love me.”
”Yes, I will.”
“You’ll make me clean it up myself, after all, I made the bed…or rather didn’t… you know what I mean!”
“I will clean it for you.”
“Who does that?”
”I do. Just ask.”
It’s amazing, really. I make a mess, as I am prone to do. God knocks. I confess that it’s a mess. I cry. He forgives. He cleans house. It’s better than before. Who does that? He does.
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
Headbutt. What an interesting word ~ if you can call it that. Maybe it’s actually a phrase and not a word. I definitely think it is a wrestling term, as in “so and so just headbutted such and such”. How’s that for using it in a sentence?
Well a couple of days ago I was playing with our dog, Hope, and she headbutted me. I don’t think she did it on purpose ~ I have never actually seen her studying WWF or UFC, so I have to assume it was just a random act of gravity when her very hard head hit me square on the nose.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” I cried out in pain.
“What happened?” my concerned hubby asked.
“Hope headbutted me,” I said from between my hands that covered my face.
Even though my head was down and I couldn’t actually see him, I am pretty sure there was a smirk and attempt to keep from laughing.
Sensing this, I snapped, “It’s not funny! It really hurts. I think my nose is going to bleed.”
“Let me see it.”
“Is it broken? Do you think that this might be the time I can justify getting my nose done?”
His sympathy quickly dissipated, and I did hear a chuckle, and he said, “I knew you were going to say that!”
Several times over the years my nose has managed to meet some pretty hard heads ~ small children, dogs and the like. And each time I thought, is this the time? But no such luck. Just a momentary smart and I was left with my nose intact.
But this time it hurt really bad. It still hurts. I am thinking something might be deviated and maybe, doc, while you are in there, could you just shave a little, just a little off the top.
This got me thinking about our dissatisfaction with what we have been given. Now I am not talking about people who have serious injuries or missing limbs, there is a real loss in that person’s life and I am not trying to minimize that. But interestingly, many of them seem more together and accepting of their physical conditions than those of us with all of our limbs and noses that work just fine. I think of Nick Vujicic, for example. Just an amazing young man! But I am digressing, back to my nose.
So this started me thinking. As Christians, we believe that God is going to resurrect our bodies one day and they will be perfect; perfect as in having all the proper parts in working order. Which means that since my nose is actually in working order, unless God sees bumps in our noses resulting from Italian origin to be less than “perfect” which really doesn’t seem right to me, then I will have this nose forever. Apparently this is the nose that God wanted me to have. Unless it’s broken, and then I think God would be okay if I got it fixed and switched it up a little.
So why the dissatisfaction? Why do I see different facial features as being superior to the ones I have been given? Well, frankly, every time I turn around in my part of the world I see women who seem to be getting younger instead of older. In magazines and online I see women with an absence of wrinkles where mine are so glaringly obvious. I see tight skin, petite facial features, except for lips which are oversized…and I feel, for some strange reason, that I am supposed to look like that. Why? I don’t have an answer. I don’t like my dissatisfaction ~ I know it’s a bad thing and I am working on it. Maybe this is my way of headbutting God. But there you have it. Honesty. Vulnerability. What do you think? Am I a horrible person for feeling this way? If so, maybe best not to comment…if you think I am overly sensitive about my nose, you could put me over the edge emotionally if you rake me over the coals on this. Or maybe you are someone who struggles along with me. What’s the solution? Because, honestly, I am not sure how many more headbutts I can take.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
Busyness. We are officially in “that” time of year ~ the holiday season. If we thought our lives were busy before, well, welcome to the warp speed world of weariness! So I decided that, to really get things started, I would give a talk to two different groups of young mothers the week before Thanksgiving…a month after getting back from our daughter’s out of state wedding…a month spent getting caught up with work that pays bills. Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time. Busyness.
The topic of my talk is taming the inner control freak, a special edition for the holidays. Sometimes I think busyness and the need for control go hand in hand ~ certainly being a control freak adds to the busyness of life. I believe it is a struggle common to many women. So I have been meditating on what I should share in my talk and one story from God’s word came to mind.
Maybe you have heard about this tale of two women. It is certainly a favorite, an oft-told account of two sisters, one caught in the world of busyness. We are told that there was going to be a dinner party and a very important guest was expected ~ Jesus. Jesus was a friend of our two sisters, Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus. I am pretty sure that our present-day Martha Stewart was named after Martha, friend of Jesus. So, imagine that you are expecting Jesus to come to your house for dinner. Think you might be a little busy?
We see Martha in the kitchen getting everything ready. Her guests are in the living room laying around the table (they laid around the table in those days) and just enjoying each other’s company.
“Do you guys want any more lamb? Jesus? Lazarus? Anyone? No, okay.” And off she would go to the kitchen.
“How about some tea? Can I get you guys a cup? Would you like milk and sugar in yours, Lazarus? Okay, be right back.”
“Here, let me clean those crumbs away from the table. I don’t want you getting your robe dirty. No, no problem. Don’t mind me.” And back to the kitchen. Busy, busy, busy.
And where is her sister while she is running back and forth making sure that everything is just perfect? Where is that little Mary anyway? Martha peeks through the pass through door from the kitchen to the living room and sees Mary just lying there at the feet of Jesus. Just lying there while she is making herself crazy trying to make sure that everything is perfect for their guests.
“Pssst,” Martha motions from the kitchen. Nothing. No response.
“PSSST,” a little louder.
Okay, that’s it, she thinks.
“Jesus, you know I love you and everything. But I am slaving away here in the kitchen trying to make everything nice for our little get together and Mary isn’t doing a thing to help me. Would you please tell her to get up off her little fanny and give me a hand?”
“Martha, Martha, Martha…” (I know, you thought that phrase came from that old 70’s show, The Brady Bunch, but I think they took it from God.)
“Martha, look at you. You are frazzled trying to make everything perfect. You are so busy with all these earthly details that you are missing out on the joy I have for you. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you are doing. And you KNOW how much I love you. I made sure to make a mention of that in my scriptures. But Martha, Mary is right where I want her. It’s right where I want you, too. Come here. Sit down. Take a break. You will never find joy in me if you don’t spend some time with me.”
Alright, I admit this is not a direct translation. I took a few liberties, but this is how I imagine it went down at the time. Read the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10 verses 38 through 42 and see what you think. I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Martha. There is a lot to do. There are expectations to be met. People to please. Hey, let’s be honest, people to impress.
Of course we can’t just recline at the table all day. Things do need to be done in order to have memorable holidays. But how much really needs to be done and at what expense?
Thanksgiving is around the corner with Christmas not far behind. Chances are you will be having guests to your home, maybe for dinner, maybe for coffee and dessert, maybe for a gift exchange. Expectations will be set, your calendar will fill up, and life will get busy. Perhaps for you, like me, the busyness has already begun. We may hear Joy to the World over the radio in the car as we race from one errand to the next. There’s a chance we may roll our eyes, sigh, and think, “JOY? Yeah right! If only!” Friends, I hope that in spite of the busyness, the noise, the rush, that we will hear God’s spirit speak to us.
I pray that we will hear Jesus say to us, “Lynne, Lynne, Lynne (insert your own name here) …you are so frazzled trying to make everything perfect. It’s not that I don’t appreciate all that you are trying to do and you KNOW how much I love you, just look at the scars on my wrists. But you are so busy with all these earthly details that you are missing out on the joy I have for you. Come here. Sit down. Take a break. You will never find joy in me if you don’t spend some time with me.”
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4