Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am a Christian...

"I am a Christian, do you know what that means?  It means I'm far from perfect, Simply redeemed"... (song below)

I have to remind myself of this time and time again.  I'm a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ), but that doesn't mean I'm perfect.  Nor does being a Christian guarantee that life will be peaches and cream either.  I know there are some schools of thought out there preaching the contrary.  However, I honestly don't know what Bible they're reading from?

People try to sell Christianity by saying, "If you come to Jesus, you won't have any more troubles.  Things will get easier."  I'm sorry to break it to you, but that's a fallacy.  Actually things become harder.  Jesus said in John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  He wasn't speaking about material comforts or wealth.  He meant those who believe in Him will be "spiritually" abundant because they will have Him.  Jesus makes our lives full and abundant, despite our problems, which are inevitable and part of the human experience.

In Matthew 6:28-30, He tells us that He will provide for our needs... not our wants.  In Matthew 6:18, Jesus says, "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal."  We are not to accumulate things on earth.  But rather, we are to first seek His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)  People interpret "these things" to be health, wealth and prosperity and they chase after them.  But He is our provider, not our Santa Claus.

I know I'm going to be shaking someone's tail feathers with this blog, but I can't compromise the truth.  The more I go on in this walk, the narrower it gets and the lonelier.  But I realize I'm not here to win any popularity contests.

If that was the case, I would have stayed in show business and singing "Start Spreading the News."  At one time, that was my dream... to have my name up it lights... "Pilar the Star".  I went to professional acting school, modeling school, dance school and studied classical voice privately for over 10 years.  Not only did I think I was going to make it, but everyone who taught me thought I would too.  So much so, that they thought I'd be their ticket to fame.  I did accomplish a lot... and nothing at all.  I guess God had other plans while I was chasing empty dreams. 

Last Sunday I sang alone in church for the first time in years. I can't even remember the last time I sang a solo.  I honestly did it unto the Lord, because I really don't enjoy getting up and singing in front of people.  I know those of you reading this are probably thinking why?  But I really don't have the answer.  I just don't feel comfortable singing in front of anyone.  If truth be told, I literally have to force myself.  I prefer singing in a choir as opposed to singing alone.  Maybe that's why I gravitate to writing as it's definitely my comfort zone. 

But it's not about ME!  What I like or don't like, what feels good, comfortable or not.  I made a promise to the Lord that I would honor Him with my gifts and talents; despite my discomfort, fear or what people might think.  I choose to obey Him because it's not about me, but about Him. 

I am a Christian, but I'm not perfect, just redeemed, that is my new mantra.

There is this unspoken expectation in Christian circles (and in the world), that Christians are to be perfect.  But think about it a minute, who on this earth is perfect?  Noone. If you look at the disciples of Jesus, they were all far from perfect.  The only perfect human being who walked the face of this earth was Jesus Christ.

There is great freedom in this... so just be yourself.  Our sole obligation on this earth is to please the Lord and not people.  At the end of the day, He knows our hearts and ultimately knows us best.   

In conclusion, I end with this song... "I am a Christian, do you know what that means?  It means I'm far from perfect, Simply Redeemed...": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRcoB10LW80

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who do you say that I am?

In Mark 8:26, Jesus asks his disciples the above question.  And lately, it's as if Jesus is asking me this same question. 

I have to be honest and admit, that sometimes when I read the Bible, it just seems like a bunch of fairy tales and fables.  Perhaps this is why I have so much difficulty reading it amongst other things.

Lately, I've been questioning everything.  I read a couple of verses and I immediately start dissecting it.  What does this really mean?  Why does it say this or that?  What does Jesus mean by that?  Questions flood my mind like a tsunami.  So, I get frustrated and stop reading.

However, the following day I try again, but this time I tell myself, try not to get so deep.  But no sooner I say that to myself, I'm back at questioning.  I can read the bible in a million translations and it is the same thing. 

I ask myself why can't I get this?  I see many Christians loving and devouring their Bibles.  However, I'm not having the same experience.  And that's with committing to reading it every day since last year. 

So then I think to myself, well then, what's wrong with me?  Why isn't the Bible alive and real to me... the way it is for other believers?

I guess it all comes down to the condition of our hearts.  How you think in life is how you will come to the Word?  Your experiences will cloud how you see yourself, the world and the Word.  It's all interrelated. 

Jesus whispers... who do you say that I am?  Do you love me?  Sure, that's easy... I can say I love Jesus.  But do I really?  I had to take a long and hard look at myself.  It's easy to sing worship songs and tell Him how much I love Him?  It's easy to love Him when everything is going my way?  But what happens when things don't?  When our prayers aren't answered?  When the heavens are brass?  When our world doesn't make sense?  When the Bible seems like fairy tales and fables?  What then? 

I'm sorry I don't have the answer for you.  I'm trying to figure it out myself.  Some would say I lack faith.  Perhaps so.  Others might say, maybe you have unconfessed sin in your life?  Could be.  Yet others could say, have you truly forgiven or maybe you aren't praying hard enough?  Who knows. 

All I know is that my love for Jesus isn't as strong or deep as I would like to believe.  My wise husband made a point... when he first met me... I spoke about Jesus in a warm and fuzzy way.  He said my emphasis was always on an experience, feeling His presence.  It was all about "feeling" good.  So again, it comes down to idolatry.  I want my flesh to feel good... I want Jesus to suit my whims and desires.  I want to pick up that Bible and it just be easy.  I want quick, easy and fun.  I want a feel good Christianity.  I only want to hear what's good, complimentary, wonderful and elating. 

Let me run over to this conference, so that I can experience the presence of God in a whole new way.  I'm not mocking or putting down those who do this, because I did it myself.  All I'm saying, is that going from conference to conference, seminar to seminar, meeting to meeting... didn't change me one iota.  I had a lot of stuff to talk about, however, it didn't change my heart.  It didn't change my core issue; my sinful flesh. 

My flesh wants to exalt itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  My heart condition is clouded by sin, the sin of pleasure... aka, hedonism.  I want to feel good... and feeling good can come in multiple ways; food for instance.  I'm guilty of going to food for comfort, to feel good.  When I feel empty, lonely, scared, anxious, bored or stressed out... I run to my quick fix... food.  My being overweight tells the true story.

There is a void inside each of us that can only be filled by God; not people, places and things.  However, our tendency is to chase after what is quick, easy and tangible.  In our culture, there is no such thing as delayed gratification or waiting.  We live in a microwave society.  We tend to chase after 'fill in the blank', instead of going to God.   So when we finally do pick up our bibles to read or pray, it is clouded by our own lusts.  We are so busy filling up the void, that there is no room for Jesus.  Basically, our hearts need a tune up.  I know my heart seriously needs a Roto Rooter. 

I was telling my husband the other day, is there any way God can just press a remote control and make me into who He wants me to be instantly?  Like Star Trek, you know, zap it into me or something?  Wow, wouldn't that be great!

I am ending this blog with a song that I identify with:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcdLi40P1c8

Blessings.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Exposure

I haven't blogged here in a long time and the reason why I stopped was because I got discouraged that noone was reading it.

However, as a result of being recently challenged, I started to really think about why I started blogging/writing in the first place. I realized it wasn't for myself, but for the Lord; as an act of service to bless others. The bible speaks against burying our talents (Matthew 25:18).

Lately, I have been taking an inventory of myself. I believe it is the result of my taking an evangelism class at church called "The Way of the Master". It's really an amazing class, and there were things I didn't know or was even aware of and learned being a born again believer for many years.

What I am discovering is that I'm finding witnessing to others very difficult, challenging as well as humbling. I'm realizing that based on the fact that I come from an abusive background, I don't handle rejection very well. So witnessing taps into this fear.

Recently, I stepped out and decided to try something new. I applied to become a member of a well known Christian publisher blogging network. I love to read and write, so I figured I could make use of myself by blogging for them. Unfortunately, I was met with some rejection, and I admit I didn't handle it very well. I guess it tapped into all of these emotions.

I'm not having an easy time writing this, but I sense the Lord wants me to expose it for what it is, instead of burying or avoiding it which is what I usually do. Rejection hurts and I've made it a practice to avoid it at all costs. But, if I was going to think logically about it, instead of emotionally, rejection is big part of life. There is no way around it.

I honestly try and remind myself of this, but it still really troubles me. You would think that I would have developed a thicker skin by my being met with so much rejection in my life, but it's the contrary. It's as if I have no threshold for it, which just makes me want to avoid, hide, bury it. However, I'm realizing the Lord doesn't really want me to do this anymore. And He's allowing certain things to happen to me in order to have me confront it.

I'm still learning, growing and maturing at 44. The Lord is giving me a choice; I can either stay stunted or push through my fear, pain and hurt. If I don't deal with it or confront it, it will find a way to manifest itself anyway. So I might as well deal with it, or it will be found out as much as I try and mask it or avoid it.

Furthermore, depending on the degree or severity, it can be very ugly. Thereby giving others the opportunity to judge you and your [over] reaction as something contrary to who you really are.

In saying all this, I'm going to commit to writing on this blog at least once a week from now on. I'm just going to step out, face my fear and give it to the Lord. I hope you will join me on this journey.

Thanks for reading and God bless you.