Good Things Just Aren’t Great Things

I’m on a “work beach trip” (yeah right) with some amazing spiritual sisters and my “work” is supposed to be writing. So far I’ve slept (until 8AM every day, what the what?), eaten good food, drank a little wine, talked into the dark, received prayer, prayed for others, discussed husbands, kids, family, dogs, art, the Bible, literature, politics, exercised (really? I prioritized exercising over writing?), watched my friends work, surfed the web, sat on the porch, listening to the sounds of the lovely Outer Banks Sound, anything I can think of to avoid the task at hand. (PS I’m not complaining.)

But why does this always happen to me? Why am I so dang rebellious that I do things I even kind of hate instead of what my “work” is supposed to be? Why do I sacrifice quiet time with God for folding the laundry? Really?

Why do I neglect making that encouraging phone call to a hurting friend and instead decide I need to make an emergency trip to TJ Maxx? (Did you find everything you needed?) What the heck? I spent $250.00 on who knows what when I was really only trying to avoid doing what I should be doing, what God has been prompting me to do?

Why do the great things, the life-giving things take backseat to the trivial? Why do I decide to do a tummy wrap instead of visiting my 96 year old housebound dear dear mother-in-law?

The things that bring me peace, that bring me happiness, that share God’s love are the first thing the enemy tries to steal from me. Every single morning.

My prayer today is that I’ll ignore the constant batting of the gnat and gaze upon the incredible butterfly. That I’ll draw the butterfly or write a poem about him and share him with another. Someone today needs to know about your butterflies. It’s downright highway robbery to be worrying about your gnats.

And I Need Forgiveness Every. Single. Day.

I have a confession to make.

Last night I went to bed mad, smug, full of pride and feeling vindicated. This morning I woke up convicted, peaceful and needing to say I’m sorry.

All of these emotions, a crazy hate fueled (on my part as well) roller-coaster, had to do with shopping or not shopping at Target. Wow. Really?

As a Holy Spirit-filled born again Christian I have a calling to evangelize. I want everyone to know the love and peace I’ve been shown by my best friend Jesus. So I cringed with every post about boycotting Target, an issue that I guess started with the NC governor cracking down on gender specific bathrooms.

This issue is so complicated. I do not have one reason to believe that a trans-gendered person (who has most likely had to grapple personally and publicly with this same issue for much much longer than it’s become our religious/political/fear-mongered cause du jour) would ever do anything more in the women’s room (since that’s what we are mostly talking about here) than cause embarrassment, and probably be embarrassed by the embarrassment caused and hurry through her/his business.

I am also a world traveler and I have raised a brood of world travelers who have taken the good news, the gospel, to the nations. Gender specific bathrooms are hard to find in Paris, let alone Cambodia or Swaziland. I have been driven to the brink of CRAZY about how this is such a first-world issue.

This Target problem soon became one of protecting our children. While there have been incidents of women mostly being molested while in the ladies room, this is not the norm. First of all there are usually large crowds in ladies rooms, hence my reason for sometimes using the room with the trousers on the door, which I guess now could get me in big trouble in NC.

Women are much more readily molested in parking lots and alleyways and even outside their own apartments. So would we boycott any place a trans-gendered person (who is unlikely ever to molest anyone) or a predator might hide?

None of this makes much sense to my far too complicated reasoning.

My problem is this. I am in full out judgement mode. In an effort to protect my good Christian name so that I can better represent my own version of redemption, I am mad at you all that are posting and boycotting things about Target.

There was one post (of a person I don’t even know) that had something like 12,000 comments in the thread. About Target. There was a bunch of hate thrown around, and some of it was my own self-righteous vitriol.

And for this I confess and ask for forgiveness. I am no better right now than those I am publicly judging. My heart is full of anger, and it doesn’t feel like righteous anger from my loving Lord and Savior.

I need your forgiveness today. I need His forgiveness every day. I have been a poor practitioner of what I proclaim to preach. We need desperately to love one another, and right now, it needs to start with me.

I still think this whole Target thing is a non-issue and I will continue to shop there (I mean, really, who doesn’t love Target?) and use the bathroom if I need to. But I’m going to try to put this anger to rest, and ask Him to help me to lose the pride and smugness I’ve been feeling for about a week now. Over Target. Wow. Really?

Can I get a witness?

I had been raised in the church, or kind of raised in the church, I mean we were forced to go to church as children. My Dad didn’t go, he was an agnostic that became a believer when he was sick with cancer when I was 27, 10 years prior to my “salvation experience”.

My mom was a very worldy Christian, the wife of a super cool not wanting to hear about God, Madison Ave advertising executive. Mad Man LONG before Mad Men was a show. I was raised going to a very legalistic, weird little Orthodox Church on the side of town we didn’t live in, with a bunch of people who I never saw anywhere else but church. Except for my Sunday School teacher, Miss Landry, who worked at the bank. We never hung out or socialized with anyone from “my church”; most of my friends didn’t even believe there was such a place in our affluent suburban town.

I knew the Bible Stories, had invited Jesus “into my heart” at age seven, and never gave more than a cursory thought to God except when I was agreeing with the common thought of the me-Generation that He didn’t really care about all the stuff I did that hurt me.

So flash back to the chair in my kid’s bedroom (from a previous blog), and my mom eventually telling me that I should go to Bible Study, and wondering what the hell Bible Study was. I had started talking to some friends about spiritual things and thinking that now that we had children I should probably be taking them to church. The truth was that it was far more likely I would need to check myself into the hospital for a “nervous breakdown” than get us all gussied up and ready for Sunday worship.

I remember my little kids kind of crawling all over me and me kind of losing it and shaking my fist up in the air and yelling at God, “You can have it!”, meaning my life and their lives and all that was worth.

I think I’ve added a swear word later in the telling. It well punctuates the story and makes my testimony sound a little bit edgier. I’m not quite sure of the truth anymore. It was pathetic either way. In God’s infinite grace and wisdom and because he thinks I’m funny and this would make a cool story, he decided that was the perfect moment to rock my world. He didn’t need me to clean up, straighten up, sober up and get this mom thing down. He needed to help me and however you want to say it, save me. That moment, that day, with or without the “f-bomb”, he changed my life. He gave me hope and a future. He did the most miraculous of miracles. He made me his own, and I truly feel that he is delighted with his awkward, twisty, Lucy Ricardoish, aging hippie chick daughter.