Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can I Come Out and Play Now?

Okay, so I have been hiding out the past few weeks. I intended on posting several things after the seminar, and I even took time to write them out. They are quite good really, they smack of all the great Christian jargon, catch phrases, and clich├ęs that I would be expected to write. The tone is hopeful, optimistic even, and while there is a part of me that fully and one hundred percent believes what I wrote, there is another part of me that is just plain hacked off. I tried not feed this bit of me, hoping that if I just starved it long enough it would die, but no such luck.

The truth is I don’t like humiliation, and well, this last event was humiliating.

My pride recoils in anger every time I get anywhere close to feeling how much humiliation I felt that night. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I just wanted to pack it up and go home, shoot God the bird, and sarcastically scream at him, “Thanks for showing up!” before stomping out the door. Oh wait, as a good Christian teacher, I am not supposed to admit that, am I?

Over and over again, played through the scenario, wondering what did “I” do wrong? What could “I” have done better? Could I have planned more wisely? Promoted more effectively? Not stumbled over my words when speaking to area pastors? Did I say something wrong? Was I wearing the wrong thing? Is my hair too purple? Did my breath stink? Did I fail to pray it through? Did I miss the stop sign God must have surely sent before I did this embarrassing thing to myself?

And I still haven’t figured out one thing we could have done better. If we had to make the choices again today, we would have done the same things. They were the choices we know God was leading us to make. The confirmations were too clear and too strong to do otherwise. To have risked less or to have ignored what we all felt was his straightforward guidance would have been disobedient to the point of defiance.

And I was convinced that if we stepped out there on faith, believing and trusting God to show up, the night would be a tremendous success, or at least a respectable showing. And maybe it was, who knows? I just had a hard time seeing it when I looked at those 1492 empty seats – and for our faithful friends who did show up, thanks for filling those last eight.

The good spiritual part of me still wants to call the night a success. We were obedient to the point of sacrifice. We did step out on faith and we did do our absolute best to do what God had called us to do, but there is an oh-so-human part of me that wants a reason and a refund for all the time, energy, and money we poured into it. I want some vindication for what feels like a wrong. I want to know why it feels like even God didn’t bother to show up to a party thrown on his behalf.

So in essence I have the two parts of me wrestling with how I should feel about this. Should I stand up and shout, Yipeee! if my heart isn’t in it? Do I give and sulk because my pride was hurt and I have to admit to everyone who asks that Splendor and Holiness was a colossal failure if we go by the numbers? Am I operating in faith or denial when I tell say that something good is going to come out of that night and there was reason that I am just not privy to right now?

The answer is yes. I deal with my humanity, and I don’t deny the validity of my feelings and disappointment. I have even let myself pout a bit, and I told God I am mad. And that’s okay because I was being honest with him on issue he already had figured out, but in the end I will stand up and say – I serve a big and holy God who loves me and loves the fact that I will follow his leading. I will declare that Splendor and Holiness was a success because I was faithful to act on the words and gifts he has placed in my care. Something good will come of that night, and I will celebrate it even more because I know the cost it took to get this far, and when God does move on our behalf we know the depth and height of his blessing and goodness as never could have known if we had never felt this pain.

God and I are making up, and like the kid who was sent to their room for throwing a fit, I am cracking the door and asking, Can I come out and play now? Because even if I am mad, hurt, and disappointed with what Daddy chose to do, it hurts more not to be in his presence.

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