My next blog entry was going to be about Wicked the Musical but I realized that I needed to take things a little deeper than my connection to Elphaba, although that connection is pretty deep. I realized that I had another confession to make.
I love God. I love God with my heart, soul, and mind. (That’s not the confession.) God has gotten me through many trials, triumphs, and wilderness journeys, even ones I didn’t realize I was going through – until I was through them. I am so grateful. Lately, though my actions have not shown that the above statement is as true as it can be and I need to change that. There. That is my confession.
The past few months have been quite an adventure for me. I faced personal challenges that I never imagined and I learned a lot about myself in the process – some good; some not-so-good. I won’t bore you with the details. I am sure you have personal challenges that you face. There may be similarities. There may not be. I imagine you will be able to understand without knowing specifics.
Through this recent journey, which I am still on; I learned that I became dependent on other people and other things. I became dependent on my connection with people; on their friendship, on family connections, and on people’s thoughts of me. I became dependent on making other people happy. I had also become dependent on other sources of “value”, specifically Facebook. What I wasn’t getting in face to face contact, I was reaching out to get in Facebook. The one thing I didn’t want to do with Facebook was allow it to become my community, my family, or my church. https://educatemoore.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/facebook/
I owe a prayerful thank you to Cindy Shufflebarger, someone I knew as my Granny’s neighbor and now, a sister in Christ. She recently wrote a book called “Dancing in the Rain.” http://cindyshufflebarger.com/. She puts her personal experience out there and shares a journey of loss and grief and what she learned about God and herself throughout the process. It’s a beautiful spirit-filled book that I was blessed enough to read.
In her book, she wrote two thoughts (two of many) that helped to shed some light on my challenging times: “God’s greatest command is to love him with our all heart, soul, and strength. If we work toward this goal, we’ll be busy loving others instead of loving our possessions, our wealth, or our status,” and “God wants to be a priority, not an afterthought.” In a moment of blindness, I became dependent on possessions, the wealth of friends and family, and dependent on my Facebook status. It’s time that God goes from being an afterthought to a priority and this week, I need to make that happen. This journey is far from over and I need to work on my relationship with God.
I said that some good things happened too. Cindy’s book reminded me of the scripture that “called” me into seminary. Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. That was the scripture focus of a sermon I heard the night I accepted God’s call to seminary and ministry. When I was so worried about all the details of what would happened if I went to seminary and what I couldn’t handle on my own, God answered with this scripture…that I will be taken care of. Cindy reminded me that we are going to face these trials and we may never know why we do or how we will get through them…but we get stronger as we do. I am getting stronger, strong enough that I spoke up for the first time in years. I put it all out there and God was with me the entire time. It couldn’t have happened any other way. Things did not go the way I had hoped, but that is ok. I learned some valuable lessons I will never forget.
I found out one more critical element to the story. What I found out through this journey is that I am not perfect…ah – a stroke of imperfect genius. I am a flawed individual who is just trying to live a life worthy of God’s calling and I make mistakes. And thank God that I am free to let go of the expectations and judgment that I hold against myself to land in the arms of God’s grace. I am free to allow God to pick me up, wipe away my tears, and take another step. God is reaching out with open arms so that I can turn around and head back home.
It’s time. God is waiting…with open arms.