I've gone my whole life pretending that everything was A-OK.
Well, everything's not. Everything never has been. And everything never will be. It's just a fact of life that some things are not okay. And a lot of them shouldn't be.
Mediocrity is not okay. But most of us battle it.
Bitterness is not okay. But most of us harbor it.
Regret is not okay, but all of us bear the load of it.
Pain, sadness and sorrow are an enormous part of each of our lives, but they were never meant to be -- and when you look at them in that light, they're not okay either.
We, who are Christ's, do have hope, even though we all struggle (some more than others) at different times of our lives.
And yes, there are also some of us who, in reality, have all of heaven on our side, and yet can continue to believe we are in captivity to depression, despair, sinful habits, dysfunctional patterns, screwy lives, and deadly relationships. But there IS hope, even when it seems invisible.
And then there's the "other side" of life in this dark world. The side where, apart from Christ, there is no hope. It's the underside of rock-bottom.
And don't think this term only applies to the down-and-out drunks, the drug addicts, the low-lifes, the perverts, and beyond. It doesn't. Anyone who isn't walking in the Light as He is in the Light is out of luck. There is no hope for them until they turn their hearts to their Creator. They ARE the underside of rock-bottom. A lot of times they're not aware of that. A lot of people would be extremely offended to be thought of that way. It's a strange tag to place on a wealthy, upper-class, well-respected, church-going, moral, upright, honest, tax-paying citizen. But in the end, none of those "respectable titles" will amount to even an iota of anything.
So, considering all, I guess you could say I'm in a lifelong process of grieving and rejoicing...rejoicing and grieving. Sometimes they manifest themselves individually...and other times they overlap.
I'm nowhere near where I want to be in my Journey. I'm nowhere near where I'm going to be in my Journey. The Lord is working on me now like never before (and believe me, that's a weighty statement). I'm only just beginning to come into the real me. I've been through a lot of hellish mess in my life, and the Lord has put me through fire that's been almost unbearable for me. But He never made it too hot. He's brought me through some thick flames, and I'm sure I have more thick flames to go through. In fact, I know I do. I'm passing through them even now, in many different ways. I'm in the Refiner's Fire, and He's purifying me like gold. All the dross is beginning to float to the top (and believe me, there's plenty of it). I say, bring it on.
Life (whether you're a Believer or not) is not sunshine, rainbows and flowers. That's a notion I gave up a long time ago.
Some people feel like they deserve to experience joy in their lives. I agree that we were not originally created for suffering. But how a person could dare to claim the "right" to joy baffles me. None of us deserve "joy". Yes -- deeply-rooted, untouchable peace is a by-product (a gift from the Lord) that comes from living His way and doing His will. Yes! This is true! And choosing to be joyful and content, no matter if it's easy or hard at any given time, is what you could call a character trait. It's the Lord's will. It's a fruit of the Spirit -- and it should be visible in the lives of Jesus' followers. But happiness -- "joy" -- is not something we have any right to lay claim to the benefits of. This is a dark, dark world. We weren't made for this -- death, destruction, war, sin, abuse, sickness, pain, tears, assault, violation, perversion, crime, depression -- we weren't made for this. But Adam and Eve did sin, and that did set the whole earth spinning in the wrong direction. God has His hands on the lives of those that are His, and those that will be His. He has the final say on everything that happens. But for the time being, satan is the prince and the power of the air. Satan controls this world, and many of the lives therein. Satan loves destruction. He revels in anything and everything that is the opposite of God's Character. And our fleshly base nature gravitates toward the same. So yeah, this world can be terrifyingly horrible.
So many of the inhabitants of it are dying in their pain. They are rotting from the inside. Jesus came to bring the "dead" back to life...but so many of the dead would rather stay right where they are. Life is too scary a thought -- so they lie in death...until real death gets a hold of them as they breathe their last.
Apart from God, this world is a mind-blowingly dark and sad existence.
I am done pretending anything. I'm done pretending everything's cool. I'm done pretending my life is fine, my heart is fine, my walk with the Lord is fine. Because none of them are. Pretending may take the edge off of some of the pain, but it just prolongs the inevitable. The Lord finally lodged that truth deep in my heart -- after so many years of vainly battling pretense. Why was it in vain? Because I was battling pretense. Pretense is not something you battle. It's a shroud you hold about you like a protective cloak, or it's a yoke you violently throw off and then run for your life from. "Battling" just doesn't cut it, BECAUSE the whole nature of pretense is to buffer, or even completely ignore, the real deal. But see, I didn't get that for so many years. So I "pretended" I was fighting off "pretend", but behind the scenes, I was protecting it for all I was worth.
Folks, I understand what it's like to be scared out of your wits to even take the tiniest peek at truth. Believe me, I know. I've been there. I'm still there sometimes. I'm just now beginning to come out of it. I know it's a terrible place to be.
Pretense is NOT okay. Pretense kills you, while it pretends to keep you alive.
It may be scary to look at truth square in the face. But if you don't, it's a much scarier thought to know what it will turn you into.
Dare to LIVE. After all, life is what we were created for.
Life is so extremely hard...but in spite of it all, I have hope -- I have lots of hope! The Lord lives and is omnipotent! What more hope do I need?! But at the same time, my life is dark right now. I'm in the process of grieving and unraveling a lot of the ripple effects of my own, and others', darkness. But I DO have (very bright) hope. And that's my saving grace.
It can be yours too.
So come and walk a mile in my flip-flops. I don't know where they'll lead any more than you do. Want to find out with me?
Recently something came to me...something that I believe with my whole heart was a very much-needed insight from the Lord.
According to what He showed me, I've decided to revolutionize my whole concept of blogging. No, I'm not delusionally thinking that it's an original concept...far from it! But the Lord has been showing me SO much lately, and He's in the process of bringing me through what I believe has been the deepest, darkest, most emotional time of my entire life. At least, the deepest, darkest emotional time I've ever been in touch with.
When traumatic things happen in a person's life, it is so incredibly easy to just stuff it all down inside and not let yourself be in touch with the reality of what has been done to you. I lived that way for most of my life...and I'm ready to be done with it!
By God's grace, I'm making a total U-turn in every sense of the word -- and in every area.
I've been chugging down the road of denial and pretense...numbness, really...and only recently have I been making the choice to turn wholeheartedly from that way of living, and run breathlessly for Truth and Light.
I've made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life...I've made horrible choices. And so has everybody else.
The sad thing is, the ripple effect of everybody's horrible choices reaches farther than they'd ever know, -- believe me when I say this: I've been bowled over by some pretty big ripples myself.
I know I've sent out some damaging ripples, too. I'm terribly grieved by that...and while I know, inevitably, I will make more bad choices along the journey, now I'm turning to the Lord for help to overcome the enormous pressure all the bad choices puts on me every day. And He is holding me up with His strength.
The awesome part is this -- the more good choices that are made, the easier it becomes to choose the good! How's that for a deal?! :) The Lord's ways are so incredible!
At any rate...back to my original point: I've decided to revolutionize my whole concept of blogging.
Truth and reality are the ONLY way to go in this life...in every relationship and every dealing...whether we're dealing with ourselves or with others. I've had to learn this lesson the hard way. But finally -- finally -- I'm beginning to learn it. Note that I said beginning..that's the truth! I am just beginning! I'm not very far along...I know for a fact that the Lord has lots of things yet to reveal to me about myself...all the subtle untruths/misleadings I have the tendency to give off without even knowing it. The human mind is SUCH a complicated thing, and it can play the dirtiest tricks on you. Like God says, in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
That tells me that no matter how "far along" we think or believe we are on our spiritual journey -- when it really comes down to it, it doesn't matter a hill of beans. We have to be focused on the Lord, and we have to be completely and totally open to His voice speaking to our hearts and convicting us of sin in our lives...or we are never going to get anywhere.
And I'm absolutely not claiming to be, at this time, completely focused on the Lord, completely and totally open to His voice. He's still got a loooooooot of work to do on me, -- BUT my heart's deepest desire IS to be those things. I believe I've come far in a short period of time. But I know I still got a lot of stuff to see.
I'm really thankful for everything He's doing...even when it hurts. I'm really thankful.
Coz if we never go through the fires of affliction, we are never going to glorify God with our lives in any way. And that's what I want to do, from the depths of my heart. And on top of that, we're going to live some kind of zombie pseudo-life with no real depth of meaning or purpose. And what kind of life is that? None.
So all that to say this: I have a lot of heavy things on my heart, and I feel compelled by the Lord to share them. I'm not going to mince words anymore. I'm not going to pretend anything anymore, -- with as much understanding the Lord gives me in the face of each choice.
And no, I'm not going to be blogging only seriousness either. :)
As those that know me personally can testify: I'm big on silly light-heartedness, humor, entertainment, and just downright fun. But life's not all about that, and that's something I'm coming to realize more and more every day. We don't have that much time left...every day there are hundreds of souls pouring in through the gates of hell like sand through a crack.
And that is no laughing matter.
The Lord's principles say that we are responsible for what we see. Well, there are things that I'm seeing that I can't keep to myself any longer...I hear the Lord's call, and I'm ready to respond to it!
Lord, please be with me on this fresh, new journey I'm about to embark on...I need Your strength.
Coz I don't have any of my own.