Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thirty Pieces, Part 2

Yesterday I posed some pretty tough questions about the reality each of us faces. While our circumstances might vary, the underlying elements are pretty similar. If you want to skim it, that post is here: Thirty Pieces, Part 1

But what does this look like, particularly if we think that this isn't an issue. What might it look like to trade Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?

In her upcoming book, Leeana Tankersley puts forth this thought, One of the most genuinely inconvenient truths I know is that something often has to die in order for something new to live. And so when we know - deep down - that something isn't working, there's also a part of us that knows what it's going to take to make the thing work again. Likely, it's going to take a death. Those possible deaths we don't want to face, those ways of being that we're so invested in that we are gripping them with every bit of energy we can muster........But who in their right mind wants to look death in the eyes? Or, at least, the possibility of death. It's hard to think about letting something fall apart, only to have to put it back together again. (Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley, p. 27)

I am not going to give the examples of what this looks like that she gave, I am going to metaphorically cut myself open and bleed all over this post.

The things I know that are not working in my life: my lack of sleep, my obsession with order/control/manipulating things in my favor, my lack of trust in God to open doors and windows to do the things that matter most and I know are important for me (I mean, He does know what I need even if I think I know better).

Here is my reality. I wake up every day by 3:00 AM. And while the clock may not have the PM dot, 3:00 AM is really not mornig, it is the middle of the night.

Why do I do this? So I can read my Bible, exercise, post on this blog, and get a few things done in the kitchen before the kids and the husband wake up.

What is my motive? I don't want to inconvenience anyone else and so I do these things ahead of time so that no one can be upset with me for not being available for them and thus find myself unnecessary.

What other motive lurks? Primarily fear. Fear I will not exercise or read my Bible if I don't do it first and wait any amount of time. I know how inconsistent I have been in the past and I know how necessary it is for me to remain consistant and patterned in order to be disciplined. Here's something you may not realize. If you look at the sidebar of this blog under the posts, you will see this was not my first attempt. I had a whopping three posts in 2014, and doubled it to six in 2015. The fact that I am still here is evidence of God doing miracles. How could I possibly wait to blog later in the day and believe it will still get done, particularly when there is laundry, and transporting kids, and helping neighbors, and cooking, and cleaning, and reading, and so much more to be done? And as Leeana asks, why on earth would I stare death in the eyes to my already set and working ways only to have to find a new way of doing things?

Except they aren't working. They are killing me. Probably quite literally. Do you know the one of the things most people know about weight gain and weight loss? Sleep is key. I average under 6 hours a night. I have systemic lupus. My body is stressed out physically. And my mind? Oh please, I can go from completely fine one second to near panic/self-condemnation the next because I am so exhausted and mentally drained.

But the thought of starting over? Even if it means life? Honestly, it is so damn scary. Crazy scary.

But I have a choice. I can either take down the walls and idols myself, or I can let the enemy destroy me. I can believe his lies that God won't help me, that my toxic self-talk is right and that I have to do it the way I've been doing it or it won't get done, and that until everything changes, nothing can. And the most painful part of this, I am trading what Jesus offers ~ abundant life ~ for thirty pieces of silver that look like control, self-preservation, and accomplishment.

Yesterday I suggested reading John 12:24-25 and linked it to The Message version of that passage. It reads:

Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground,
dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But
if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In
the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that
life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever,
real and eternal. (emphasis mine)                                                     

And so we are left with this question ~ what is the answer? And the truth is we know the answer. It's Jesus. Jesus is better than our white knuckle attempts to make everything work only to finally wake up one day, probably at 2:18 AM, that nothing about our situation is actually working. But Jesus requires something in order to be able to help us. Not a cleaned up business plan on how we are going to change things and not a list of tried and true attempts to fix it on our own asking only for the solution to the one place we keep getting stuck. No, He wants our surrender. Our lay it all down, I can't do this anymore, and unless you take control I am probably going to end up killing myself in the process of trying to live, surrender.

The hardest part to accept in all of this is that I am the one that put the system in place. And it worked. Until it didn't. And it probably stopped pretty quickly after it began but it was easy. Not physically, but mentally. Because we cling to what we know, even if it's unhealthy, because it's predictable. We like stability and we like not being caught off guard. But if we continue to settle for what we already have and give up our fight, we are making the worst trade ever. Jesus > thirty pieces of silver. And no matter how we try to justify our actions, our behaviors, or our tendencies, we are reversing that equation.

Let's stop holding on to life just as it is. There is a better way and Jesus proved it. We just need to choose to believe Him when He says that if we lose our life, life as we know it, we will find it, real ~ eternal ~ and abundant.

The anaology of the 30 pieces of silver trade came from the sermon by Andy Stanley on Judas titled The Pretender from The Bad Boys of Easter.

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