Friday, April 10, 2009

An Uncomfortable Wrestling Match

I don't really know what to title this I'm not going to title it. I just can't seem to find the right words. And, forgive me now if this post wanders and I seem a little ADD. I have a lot going on in my brain and I can't keep it to myself any longer. So, for those of you who actually do read this, I hope it stirs you and causes discomfort.

I just finished reading The Shack. I won't give anything away, but I highly recommend this book for ANYONE to read. It is on the New York Times best seller list, it is fiction, and I have never read anything that so clearly portrayed the relationship we are to have with the trinity. The story takes you through a man's struggle to forgive and understand why. I was moved to tears, laughter, anger, questions, and a deep desire to grow in my relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. My eyes were opened to how close-minded I am in my walk with God. More importantly, my eyes were opened to how . . . looking for the right word . . . clouded the church is to what relationships and love and forgiveness and fellowship and worship are really about.

One of the first things I tell people about my testimony is that I wasn't "brought up in the church" or that I didn't grow up in a "christian" home. But, I am realizing that doesn't matter. I was raised to love, care about human beings, not judge, and live with good morals. Truth be told, I was raised better than many people who were brought up in the church or grew up in a christian home. Don't get me wrong, I know lots of people who were raised well in the church and christian homes. But I also know many who have turned from God because of being raised in the church or in a so-called christian home. What is my point? God doesn't care about it! He cares about the here and now. He cares about us growing closer to him, attempting to understand a little more every day, giving up ourselves daily, trusting HIM 24/7.

Those were my thoughts when I finished The Shack. Today I started reading Irresistible Revolution. I haven't been able to put it down for long. I am intrigued. I am stirred. I am feeling forced to look at my life in alignment with the Gospel, with what God has spoken to my heart, with what I know to be true of Jesus and the sacrifice that he made for this world. Let me tell you - IT IS NOT COMFORTABLE! I like to feel in control, to have a plan, to know what is coming at me tomorrow, to be in a routine. Well, that is not a life of faith. So, I wrestle with what is important to me right now: a safe plan or a life of faith. Not an easy wrestling match. Honestly I hope I lose this one. I hope that Jesus pins me and beats me up in the process. That is what I need right now.

I think of the account of Jacob wrestling with God (found in Genesis 32:22-30). Jacob wrestled through the night and was given a new name, Israel, because of this. What is the new name God has for me? What is the purpose in wrestling with safety versus faith? Why is living by faith so incredibly difficult for me? For the church? For humans?

(I just thougth of a title. So, if you are reading this and wondering why I said at the beginning I didn't have a title, well I didn't have one at first. It just came to me...)

Back on track . . . Well, I lost my train of thought. I guess I just wonder if I am trying more and more every day to live by faith, to trust God with my whole life and not just parts of it, giving up control and safety, willing to go wherever God wants me, and showing people that I truly love Jesus with all my heart.

I would love to hear your stories of wrestling. I have a friend who shares her stories with me often and I am encouraged. I hope you are encouraged by this. More importantly I hope you are challenged to be in an uncomfortable wrestling match.


Anonymous said...

I know blogs are a bit cathartic in a way journals are, but I have to say that this entire blog was put in my path for a reason. My heart is aching and I have tear-filled eyes wishing I had the personal strength, an ounce of the personal strength you do.

You may see yourself in one way, but when I see you in my mind's eye, this is the verse that comes to mind:

Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
Psalm 27:3 (NLT Bible)

I aspire to have that confidence.

pam said...

I had a similar experience after reading, The Shack. It pretty much shook me up, rattled a lot of my status quo type of expectations.

I totally agree with your perspectives on those who have turned from Jesus, even after growing up in a so-called christian home. As a mom - and a grandma! - my greatest fear is that MY words or actions would cause any of my loved ones to depart from the faith! )or never enter it in the first place!) What a heavy responsibility - to be totally perfect 100% of the time!

Well, the Lord ever so patiently reminds me that HE will do the saving & the preserving - it's not all about ME. I try to live up to His standards, but sometimes I screw it all up.

Thanks be to God that the salvation of my family doesn't depend on my abilities & actions!

I am grieved when people use the excuse that they grew up in a strict religious home, and that's why it's OK for them sow the wild seeds of sin in the here & now. Imperfect people who said or did imperfect things don't cause us to stumble - Satan is the tempter And the deceiver.
We're told to resist the devil, and he will then flee.

Dina said...

to anonymous,

the stregnth is not mine...I would never be able to stand so firm on my own. it is the power of the holy spirit that resonates in me and stirs me to step out in faith. and trust me, i don't always listen and follow although i aspire to more ever day.

keep pressing on and remember that God takes the pressure and focus off of me and carries it all.

Dina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I know we all stumble no matter what choices we make in faith, maybe its your conviction and personal imperfect faith I admire? You are a strong person, even if your strength comes from a higher power. Maybe its the relationship you have with God I wish I had, or the assuredness that you know you have a sold foundation to lean on?

Dina said...


do i know you? just don't have to ID yourself. curiosity i guess. :)

Anonymous said...

You know me, not well I would imagine. Sorry to be so enigmatic or vague.

Niki said...

Dina, I love you, you make me laugh :) I read The Shack and it's by far my favorite book right now. It made me realize that I was looking at my relationship with God the wrong way and I wasn't even condisering another point of view. I have the same struggles you do, I want everything planned/figured out, I want to know in advance what is coming and I want to be "prepared", but you're right we are never going to know the future and it's not true FAITH if we're always trying to control/prepare for out future. I have a lot of confusions right's like my faith goes in stages....times I feel comfortable and safe and other times when I feel completely lost and angry at God for not explaining it to me better!! Thankfully there are ppl like you that help me in all sorts of ways! Thanks for sharing :)

jenn said...

dina this is an incredible expression of your heart and all GOD is breaking in you!!! incredible! i'm in tears! but when am i not when i hear your heart? i read the shack before i left, and am getting ready to read irresistable revolution. can't wait to hear more of your thoughts on that. let GOD keep breaking you of self dina head!!! keep sharing your heart. love ya heaps and heaps of pots of rice crispy treats!....m.e.

Monica said...

I got all caught up on my Dina this morning!