I wrote a version this for this weeks e-newsletter for Paseo. Thought I’d post it here too:
Paseo is currently walking through the book of Luke. I usually enjoy book studies. And in this case, I am LOVING it. When I read through the journey Jesus walked, I’m reminded of two things:
1. I am a Pharisee.
2. The Grace of Jesus gives me a second chance to change that.
Last week and this week is focused on Luke 6. In The Message version, we read the famous Beatitudes like this:
“You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all. God’s kingdom is there for the finding. You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry. Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal. You’re blessed when the tears flow freely. Joy comes with the morning. Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.”
What is listed above is the exact opposite of what we are taught to be like as strong Americans. Most (if not all) of us can NOT say we’ve lost it ALL, been ravenously hungry for an extended period of time, allowed our tears to fall freely and unashamedly, or found joy when we’ve been cut down and discredited.
We avoid this like the plague. The mere possibility of the list above makes us all uncomfortable. We work extremely hard to control our results, outcomes, possibilities, other people, and our chaotic lives around us in order to avoid discomfort. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves in this very predicament of “discomfort” due to our controlling behaviors.
I can’t say I’ve lost everything. I’ve lost a lot in my life… but definitely not everything. I’ve been hungry… but I can’t say I’ve ever been “starving” (though I’ve over-exaggerated at times). And I’ve never found joy in being cut down or discredited. In fact, I’ve found myself hurt, offended & angry.
And the more I process this, the more I can confidently say it all comes down to one thing for me: PRIDE.
I care too much what others think of me. And maybe I care too much of what I think of myself. I’ve forgotten what God thinks of me.
So now, my desires must be adjusted.
I don’t think I need to search for ways to lose everything or become starved or to find someone to cut me down… but I think I need to be okay with all that happening.
And when I take a moment to ponder the things… important things I’ve lost, I realized the insurmountable amount I’ve gained afterwards. In the moments of hunger and thirst I’ve found food and drink to be so much more delicious. In the times I’ve cried so many tears I almost drowned myself… the freedom and release that comes next is incomparable to anything else. And in not fighting being cut down and discredited… God has inserted others to build me back up.
In all this, I am reminded of what I really am: BLESSED.
And I want more blessings. So in exchange, I give up control. It’s only my perception I have any in the first place
How about you?
How do you manage the pain to receive the blessing?