Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday's (Unmerited) Favor: Taking Out the Trash

Friday is garbage day in my neighborhood. The folks who empty out the garbage come really early on Friday mornings, so everyone puts out their garbage and recycle bins on Thursday afternoons. I like to run in the evenings, so on Thursday evenings, I'm usually dodging garbage bins. Even though I try to avoid it, the stench of garbage still drifts through the air. It's a nasty smell. Leftovers. Things that are no longer good. Rotten, spoiled. Of no value or worth.

I have a lot of garbage in my life: the leftovers from accepting everything I was ever taught as truth, and not questioning it. I'm in the process of sorting through my beliefs, and throwing out the junk. Anything not aligned with God's Word needs to go. This process began several years ago, and has taken intermittent hiatuses, then returns with a vengeance. Currently in the process, I'm finding a need to verbalize all I'm filtering through. Unfortunately, I don't run in circles where that can take place. Is there such a circle?

Family's too close, too familiar with what I believe. Friends are busy, just tyring to get through their own days. Sunday School is the place to listen...where I'm infused with more stuff to weed through. Church service...same thing. Bible study groups are limited: too much talking makes one "that girl who won't shut up;" not enough talking makes one "that girl who must have a lot to hide." There's a delicate balance in Bible study groups.

I need to think out loud. I sit...silently verbalizing on a keypad.

It happened that God poured grace into my life a few years ago. And it was so completely different from what I'd always been taught. And I've been scrambling ever since to find out why my experience was so different from what I'd always believed grace to be.

There was an incident a few years ago that happened in my then-church. At the time, deep in my spirit, I thought I had an idea of what grace might be. But the actions that leadership took and the opinions of my peers were contrary to what God was whispering to me. I thought I must've been wrong, that God wasn't really speaking to me. I believed the leadership knew best, that my peers were more godly than I. And, here I sit, all these years later, with my own experience of God's grace as my insight, and I realize that it really was God speaking to me way back then.

And I'm wondering how many other times have I silenced His leading, His whispers because I trusted what someone else was teaching me, believed what I'd read in books by well-known authors. I was programmed to keep quiet, not ask questions. And God is ripping me away from the mold. He's showing me parts of Himself that don't fit the box that I've willingly been led to believe He fits in.

And I don't know what to do with that information. Grace (God Himself) abounds in me, around me, all about me...and I am ecstatic yet completely baffled. I don't understand it. I have tons of questions that I'm not even sure I can put into words. And the circles I am a part of would think I am nuts if I even tried to verbally make sense of it all.

But this I know...God is sovereign. I've held on to the beliefs I've held for this long for a reason. And I'm tossing them into the garbage for a reason. The only thing I know is God is creating something new in me, and the old, the spoiled, the rotten, the vile and disgusting has to go to make room for the wonderful new that God is revealing.

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