3.31.2017

in which i fillet myself like a fish

2 comments
can i step into the confessional here?

how i wish i could actually. in a small, dark booth, my face hidden.  

it's only thursday and the spotlight has been so turned in on me, my character flaws on full display. 

this though, this is easily the most embarrassing thing i ever written about myself. i feel so laid bare by this one. first my mouth (yesterday) and now this. 

you know that time Peter denied Jesus 3x in one night. he's making me feel better about myself because i'm not the only fool Jesus ever loved.

it is so hard to tell on myself but it feels just, so. necessary. - if for no other reason than knowing that if i behave similarly in the future, he'll make me do it again!  

hard pass, y'all.

ok so, out with it. what am i blathering about?

oh, only my integrity.

what we do in the dark. in the quiet of our minds where nobody knows. when we're alone. when no one has to know.

this week i have been both a liar and a thief.

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i posted an item online to sell and got an inquiry about it. in an attempt to maybe light a small fire under the seller (spark a little FOMO: fear of missing out), hands trembling and guilt deafening me, (an escape prepared for me!i told him i had another interested buyer.

i did not have another interested buyer.

he pressed me further - have they made an offer?

at this point the only thing that was lit on fire was my stomach, but i continued. "no, they only expressed interest."

lies.

why?? i hadn't done that with anything else i had posted to sell... why now?

i still don't know.

what i do know is that item still has not sold.

if i had to guess, i'd say it is the Lord protecting me from prospering from a lie.

and i'm thankful.

a few days later i was at walmart and had picked up a case of water along with a thousand other grocery items. i got to the register and checked out without realizing that i hadn't gotten the girl to scan the water. i pay for my stuff and take 3 steps from the register and it hits me.

the water.

i could turn around and say, "oh! i totally forgot the water. can you ring me up for that?"

but there's another person already in the process of checking out and i want to avoid the inconvenience. is it really a big deal? it's not like i did it on purpose, i justify.

i keep walking. 

i get to the exit doors and there's always someone there to check your receipt for unbagged items. sweet girl scanned up and down my long receipt, up and down, up and down and i let her. my heart is pounding and i'm thinking it's not there - but i've been standing here too long to say that now - so i start wondering how am i gonna act natural if this girl says 'your water is not on here'.... 

eventually she says, "oh there it is."

but it wasn't there. she just didn't want to deal with it.

i walked out.

with stolen water.  

my integrity sold for the low low price of $3.33.

why am i writing about this? 

i have asked myself that - and at first, i wasn't sure except that it felt necessary to tell on myself, to bring my own darkness to light - and in this way, not have my enemy triumph over me.

but also because...

I GAVE HIM MY HEART.

i prayed early in january that he would bring a sharpening - to prune the things in my life that are not beneficial. there is an anvil in the earth, the sharpening of the Lord. i welcome it - and i ask for grace.

i gave him my heart. and if he asks something of me, i want always for my answer to be "yes, Lord, your servant is listening".



the crazy thing is this really is unusual for me. i don't typically do things like this. i'm not in the habit of lying. we are a family that values honesty!! i'm not a regular thief!

(maybe i say this part to release the pressure a bit - an attempt to try to buffer myself against what you might think!)

but this week! for whatever reason, i was both. 

...whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

i'd much rather expose myself than be found out. i don't know about you.

there was a little expression the adults would say when we were kids. "tell the truth and shame the devil." this is what they meant.

that little stanza in the Bible that lists a few of the things the Lord hates comes to mind.
haughty eyes
a lying tongue
feet that are quick to rush into evil
and in the span of one week, i have been guilty of them all. 

i'm so thankful for paul's words in Romans - how many souls have knelt here and felt known and been soothed by this one passage? 

 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. 
The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. 
I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, 
they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. 
He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions 
where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, 
but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
romans 7:21-25 msg
i don't say "we've all been there" to soothe myself. i am not trying to assuage my own guilt. i feel it keenly and i'm glad that i do because it is proof to me that God is indeed answering my january prayer with an unmistakable, complete YES.

some answers take time. others come like a swift kick. 

what i feel more than anything right now in all of this mess that has been my heart and my life this past week is such a love for him, such gratitude. 


my dear friend, whom i'd already confessed these situations to, sent me a sweet reminder this morning. a short text from a book with these words:

'be attentive today to God's conviction 
regarding any way in which you are willfully deceiving others or yourself. 
if He shows you an area to attend to, 
be encouraged: God does not 
reveal sin or weakness to mock us. 
God "reveals to heal."'

he wants us near. he likes to snuggle.
he knows that sin separates and he wants me near. he knows that separation from him is my utter destruction. he pulls me in close with conviction, puts his finger on an issue in my heart...
gently confronting...
here. 
         this. 
                now.

this is intimacy. that between the two of us, there would be no shadows. 

less struggle. 
more snuggle.
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you wash me in mercy, and i am clean.

i know i am forgiven.

PS: i will be going back to that walmart
 to reimburse them the $4 i stole that day. 




nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. and so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

2 corinthians 3:18


3.30.2017

the door of my lips

2 comments
sunday morning in church the pastor shared with us two dreams that had been given to two of their intercessors.

in the one dream, a person stood before two fields, one in front of the other. 

in the first field, there were six alligators, representing
big mouths.

gossip
criticism
complaint
grumbling
contempt
negativity
murmuring
life-sucking

in the field beyond them was a whale spouting water from its belly, representing the DEEP things of God.

to get to the deep things of God, we've got to get past our mouths.

to get to the deep things of God, i've got to get past my mouth.

...if i can't tame my tongue, i am not fit to call myself a lover of God. a follower of Jesus. i am not fit for His Kingdom. 

those who consider themselves religious
and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues 
deceive themselves, 
and their religion is worthless.
james 1:26

worthless.

 the tongue is a fire, 
a world of evil among the parts of the body.
 it corrupts the whole body, 
sets the whole course of one's life on fire, 
and is itself set on fire by hell.
james 3:6
a wildfire. set on fire by hell.

not one for mincing words, that james.

"to the one who believes in Me," 
Jesus says,
"it is just as the Scripture has said:
 'Streams of living water will flow from within him'".
Living
Water

picture that whale. can you see it? can you see the water bursting upward from deep inside him?

in the second dream that was shared, which goes hand in hand with the first, we were given an even clearer picture.

in this dream was a person with worms falling out of their mouth, falling to the ground.

ugh. can you even imagine a more disgusting picture?

i'm struck with this thought: everything that proceeds from our bellies comes out of our mouths.

think about that.
can both fresh water 
and salt water 
flow from the same spring? 
james 3:11

words. they can be fresh. they can bitter.
they can be Life. they can be Death.

how much emphasis God places on what proceeds from our mouths!!

and we all know it to be true, don't we? 

so i listened sunday morning, nodding along in agreement. it's so easy when no one is aggravating you, when your flesh is not being poked and prodded, so easy to smile and yes and amen along with everyone else... yes! words have power! words have teeth! we should choose Life!

but then monday comes.
and then tuesday, then wednesday.

and so far you've behaved pretty well, but you aren't angry yet.

then an opportunity presents itself and the line appears in your heart and you know it's there! you see the line so clearly.

in a conversation with a friend, i see it, i feel the strong warning rise up in my heart - mayday! mayday! - i know i'm about to cross over into sin. i recognize the conviction of the Holy Spirit. stop here, Jodie, you're entering enemy territory.

...but i didn't. i didn't stop.
i blasted past His voice straight over the line and let 
worms

fall 

to

the

ground.

worms. the lowest level of life. they are DECOMPOSERS. 

i pushed my toe - and my tongue - straight into full blown tearing down of another person.

does it matter that my feelings might be justified? do i have a right to feel what i feel? i do. i can feel what i feel and i can take that anger, frustration, and yes, even judgement TO GOD. that is the safe place to bring it. not offering my complaint, fueling a fire, with another person - realizing even in the moment that i am more than likely exacerbating a problem. sucking life.

however i may feel in the moment about another person will never make handling it that way okay.

grumbling
gossiping
complaining
criticising
pulling down
contempt

do i get a pass because the person i spoke of wasn't directly hurt by my remarks?

i don't.

what matters is that i used my mouth for evil. i dishonored. i sucked life. i tore down. the words i spoke were set on fire by hell. they were Death. not Life.
they were Bitter. not Fresh.
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i WANT so much the DEEP things of God - but i will never reach that field if i don't WILL myself to be obedient to His voice now. every time.

to be faithful in little so that i can be entrusted with much.

i desire His Voice and His Presence over everything.

but He will not increase what i will not Honor.

i must learn to be 
humble in aggravation
humble in frustration
humble in anger

be angry yet do not sin.

sin feels good for a moment, doesn't it. pointing out "their" wrong, ignoring the plank of decomposition in my own eye, can feel satisfying. but it's so ugly, and we have to recognize it as what it is.


"it is a great thing to tell yourself the truth." oswald chambers

regardless of anyone's faults it is never okay for me to tear them down in a conversation with another person. it is so dishonoring. i must remember that even people i may dislike for a moment are still made in the image and likeness of God and it is not my job to complain and grumble against them - it is my job to bless


through the blessing of the upright 
a city is exalted, 
but by the mouth of the wicked 
it is destroyed. 
proverbs 11:11

and at the very least, as Thumper's mom said, "if you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."

i must learn to have the feelings -  because we do live in a fallen world and we deal with each other - broken people on our way Home to Wholeness, and feelings are going to come up.... i must learn to have the feelings, and choose humility.

in all of this, i have to learn how to Abide in the True Vine. 
remain
do not leave
continue to be present
keep continually in Him
cling
refuse to depart

to learn to discern + obey the tenor of his voice

and to make no excuse for sin. 

set a guard over my mouth, Lord; 
keep watch over the door of my lips.
psalm 141:3

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UPDATED TO ADD:
immediately after writing this, i called that friend i spoke with and i apologized. i repented for having said too much. it was humbling - but it also felt good to make it right.