Lately, I’ve been reading Young Adult fiction narratives to stimulate my creativity. The last narrative that truly left an impression on me was Kate McManus’s “One of Us Is Lying”. It makes me ashamed of some of the adults walking around here today, who behave like they’ve never been teenagers. Adults have this superior sneer about them that cause them to function as though their teenage years never gave way to sneaky behaviors.
People tell me often: Things will get better. I hear this like pain is supposed to just evaporate away.
The best example is one’s self. Why is that important? It’s easy to levy encouragement like a quick fix and more vulnerable to honestly proclaim that situations may get worse before they calm. Surely, encouragement is necessary. But words mean nothing, if actions do not follow them up.
I grew up having this sanguine idea of God. A young me in the Pentecostal tradition believed that praise was all one needed to be close to the Lord. If you look at much of the Baptist tradition, it’s painfully similar. I am not saying that all things about Baptist and Pentecostal churches are wrong. On the contrary, I would not have known God without exposure to these great denominations. It is just easy to come away confused about integrating spirituality into purposeful, authentic practice when we being primed for praise and worship.
The Christian walk is not a vague, esoteric vastness in which “the saved” are just wandering from one lane to the next like a directionless vehicle on the freeway. Somehow we super-impose our pride, jealousy, and greed onto Christ and get hurt when he shows us the reaping. The one thing consistent about my Christian walk is that God consistently challenges what I think know about everything. Often, I see myself changing, while God lovingly abides unchanged.
God speaks when I get alone, while allowing my inner thoughts to collect. He speaks while I am buried in the insights of books. He reveals ideas to me when I have not prepared for their arrival. My Christian faith heaps upon me judgment. It is not an always peaceful journey. It has all the starts, stops, bruises, and lacerations of a anomalous voyage. My joy for God has just as much grief. I mourn often realizing that no person can comfort me like my faith can.
The best man or woman you can change is yourself. Things in my life flood with grace when I make a fervent choice to see God like a conductor and not a warden. He guards the composition, and we are the instruments. You can play a noisy note, or a wonderful note. He will conduct whatever you decide to play. I check myself against the fruit of the spirit often.
I’m becoming more temperate every day, but it’s a journey that I struggle through everyday. The trick is have a support system that helps us keep sight of God.
It does get better, but we all must be willing to work on ourselves, even if those around us resign to stay the same.