Sunday, March 27, 2011


It's like this: four or five weeks ago, I managed to catch "a bug" which quickly developed into something worse than a cold. I rested, took lots of vitamins, but did not get any better. I decided to visit the doctor wherein I was told that whatever I had was turning bronchial. Enter: the use of three prescriptions. A week later, after finishing up my antibiotics, I decided to visit the doctor again because I still had a "lingering cough." The experience of having a night where I had extreme difficulty breathing helped fuel this decision. Upon my second visit, I was told that my bronchitis had moved deeper into my lungs. Enter: the prescribing of more medicines and even stronger antibiotics along with the admonishment to not drink any caffeine (which I actually had already stopped drinking from the week before). About a week after that, I finally finished my prescriptions, feeling much better - so much so that I would have called myself "healed"...

After three weeks of being sick, I felt "fine"...

my cough bothers me on rare occasions yesterday when it came back in a force so strong that it left me feeling light headed and needing to sit down.

I don't get it. I just don't get it.
Three weeks. Three weeks of intense resting, taking care of myself, taking vitamins (until I had to stop because of my prescriptions), and of taking some very strong medications...
Three weeks of doing everything I was supposed to do. And yet I continue(d) to struggle with being sick. I just don't get it.

In the midst of my frustration, I see an illustration of my spiritual life. I "do the things I'm supposed to do" and yet the results are not what I expect. I do not quickly emerge victorious (even though I think I should). Instead, I continue battle in an exhausting fight. Then, when I finally "win," it comes back so that I have to fight it again.

What an image of sin in my life.

This is why prayer is important (concerning matters of health and beyond). This is why I need to rely on the strength, knowledge, and love of One who is greater than I. The doctor can tell me what's going on with my body, and he can tell me what I need to do to be healthy; but only God can take care of my soul.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today at work a girl came in to order a drink. By my estimation, she was probably in junior high or early high school. Naturally red, long, thick bangs swept across her heavily freckled face. She seemed tired or disinterested and I picked up on something going on internally as she gave me minimal eye-contact and hardly returned my smile (perhaps it was battles with insecurity, thoughts over a heavy homework load...I don't know). She had a sweet, kind face though. After ringing her up, I commented to her as she walked away, "By the way, you have adorable freckles." She did. They were really cute. Her face immediately broke into a smile and she turned around to beam at me as she walked away, bright blue eyes sparkling.

Honestly, it was a slight risk on my part. I mean, it's easy to tell someone that you like their hair, clothing, nails, cologne or perfume, etc. but to say that you like a person's facial features takes a bit more risk. It just does. I thought it was worth it and it was an honest compliment though, and it paid off, so I'd say it was worth it. (I try to live my life in following up, "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all," with, "if you have something nice to say, then share it." Life is just too short.)

I was caught off guard when my coworker (whom I'd been unaware of watching or listening to me) remarked, "You are so weird. Who compliments other people on their freckles?"
My indignation and response aside, my remaining thought on the incident is that we live in a very sad society if we are so insecure that we are unable to say kind things to one another for fear that we might look like fools.

I guess this is what it looks like to have my identity grounded in the love that Christ showed for me on the Cross. I am released from having to work for approval. I could never earn it anyway. I could never be good enough, cool enough, pretty enough, talented enough. Instead, God, in His ultimate mercy, chose to shower me in His grace and determine that which was unlovable to be worth of love - love beyond reason or understanding. How often I forget: the world doesn't understand that.

Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1: 22-30)

So, let me look like a fool, then, if it means that I get to love.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


She sat silently after my last statement.
"Mom, what are you thinking? I can see the wheels turning."
"Well, I don't know what to say. I can't make you not want his approval so badly, and I can't make him give you approval either." As instantaneous tears sprang to my eyes, she added, "I can give you a hug though."

Approval. I hadn't realized that I wanted it so badly.

Oh Lord, have mercy on me. I don't take my faith seriously. I brush it off. I brush Your Word off. I brush You off. I look for love, approval, and acceptance from things, people, and relationships that do not satisfy - that cannot satisfy. I lack discipline. I am totally and completely unable to fix myself so that even with the desire to live in healthy relationship with You, I am cannot make myself better. I look in the wrong places for forgiveness - for meaning. I live my life for things that make me work and yet never satisfy me. I am tired. I lack intentionality. Instead of pursuing the beautiful things that make my heart come alive, I waste my life with the mundane - with noise - endless static. Refresh the internet page. Maybe something interesting will have happened. No, click it again. God, I'm bored. Instead of living my life to its fullness, I settle for mediocrity.
And yet, I hide all that so well. No wonder I feel so tired.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Oh, great and loving Father who still beckons me in the midst of my brokenness - which extends beyond my own comprehension - wash over me with a love that blows my understanding.

Oh Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.