I’ve been uncomfortable lately.
I’m reading my Bible and it’s changing me and stretching me in ways I didn’t see coming or necessarily want. I realize that sounds like such a bratty thing to say, but I’ve accepted my brattiness and you should too.
Here’s what I mean: I can’t stay mad anymore. I can’t hold grudges, can’t keep my heart hard, can’t be mean like I want to be. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but if you’ve been here any length of time you know I’m very ridiculous so let’s move on with our story.
I’ve been really good at being mad for years. It was pretty much my specialty. I could hold classes on not forgiving. I could mentor the younger generations on how to ignore, hurt, and cut off those around them that have hurt them. I was a master at being mad.
For the most part, I felt righteous in my anger and hurt–it was never my fault, obviously–so my mad-ness (or madness, really) ran unchecked and uncontrolled.
Until I started getting into God’s Word with the intent on having a relationship with him. I don’t want to imply that I haven’t ever read my Bible until this year, but I was reading my Bible for different reasons. In January I finally surrendered and said to Jesus that I just wanted to know him. I didn’t have any expectations, any demands, or any preconceived notions. I just had this longing that nothing else was filling and I could sense an almost-physical pull to be in the Word.
Before this time, I was reading out of duty, guilt, or competition. I’d hear someone else was reading their Bible like a good Jesus follower should and I needed to make sure I wasn’t left out. I’d go to church and feel moved by the sermon and then promise that this week I would actually spend time with my Bible…then I’d lose the emotional high behind the Sunday promise and never make it happen. Jesus was in my head, but he wasn’t in my heart.
But dang it, now he’s in my heart and I’m softening in ways I wasn’t prepared for. It is literally becoming impossible for me to stay the same. I’m changing and stretching and morphing before my very own eyes and it feels foreign and weird and exciting. He has made it so uncomfortable for me to stay how I was that there is nothing left for me to do but alter my attitude.
*Insert eye roll and favorite curse word here*
My babies-who-are-no-longer-babies get so annoyed with me when I try to cradle them in my arms like I did when they were newborns. Especially in the mornings when their warm little bodies first crawl out of bed and find their way to me, I pick them up and snuggle them tightly and try to rock them. This works for about ten seconds before they wake up enough to think “what the hell is this crazy lady doing?” and they realize that I’ve just put them in the most uncomfortable position known to anyone who now wears big girl underpants and can count to one hundred, thank you very much. But I try to force it anyway which makes it sorta turn into a wrestling match and, in turn, totally ruins the quiet moment and they flee from me.
Being an annoying mom is hard work.
I’m doing the same thing with my relationship with Jesus. He’s showing me new and better ways to handle people, hearts, and situations, but I’m still trying to go back to my old approach. Not because it was better, but because it was comfortable once and I think it should still be. Except it’s not working anymore because he’s softened my heart in ways I can’t explain. I just can’t get mad and hold a grudge like I used to. It takes conscious effort to go back to my grudge-holding ways. And this sounds dumb, but I still try to do it every once in a while. I’m learning a better way to do things but I still like to sneak back over to the dark side every once in a while to test out the past. When I get there though, it’s a lot more awkward and heavy than I remember. It doesn’t fit well anymore.
So I guess what I’m trying to do is give you a warning. The Bible, this living Word from our Creator, this Book of Life, messes you up. It breaks down walls, it softens hearts, and it leaves you breathless. I understand why some people don’t read the Bible, it’s just too dangerous. It’s hard and scary to change; it is giving up control of what wasn’t that great to begin with and letting the One who loves us more than we can imagine give us a better story. It’s uncomfortable. It’s inconvenient. And it’s wonderful.
Reading the Bible is dangerous. And I’m all about being dangerous.
*Puts candy cigarette in my mouth and slowly pedals away on my mountain bike WITHOUT A HELMET*
(Side note: My children really don’t cuss, but I like to imagine their inner dialogue with cursing because it makes me laugh. I do this with my dog too. Please do not send me an email or comment about how it is inappropriate for children to cuss. It is a joke. Also, I always wear my helmet. Even at the gym on the stationary bike because I believe in safety at all times. Thank you for your concern.)