Sunday, October 03, 2010

Amy Attempts To Meditate On God's Word (with Crankypants Results)

I’m doing a few new things at church which involve a few new groups, which means I get to bust out my standard disclaimer that I’m Amy The Writer, I tend to be cranky and needlessly specific, so don’t come at me with your biblical clichés and not expect me to demand real life examples.

And in one of the meetings today, I was again demanding that somebody tell me what the old chestnut of Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” looks like in a modern day context.

The course materials we were given indicated that:

Transformed: not something I can do, it is the supernatural power of God’s grace.

Renewing: a process in which I make choices through the power of God’s grace.


So needlessly specific me wanted a Real Life example of what “making choices through the power of God’s grace” looks like.

There’s a typical hush that follows when I ask a question like this. And because I tend to be cranky when I ask it (otherwise I’d let it go) nobody really wants to be the first to answer, and I get it, I do. Why answer the Crankypants in the corner, right? She’s just cranky, and no real answer would satisfy her.

Eventually, a few people offered their thoughts, some of which included meditating on God’s truth as opposed to the lie we tend to believe (the theme of the class in general.) And if you wanna know what God’s truth is, you pick out a Bible verse (the example given was chestnut Psalm 139.) and think think THINK about it. A lot. For awhile. And again.

Running alongside this is my daily Bible devotionals. I’m almost done with my second tour of reading the Bible straight through (in Revelations now, always a fun wrap up) and last week, when I was cruising through 1, 2, and 3 John, these verses caught my eye (emphasis mine, but felt I should include all for context):

1 John Ch. 3 vs. 18-20:
"18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

The Message translates it like this:

18-20My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”

So, let’s take my class’s advice, and meditate on God’s truth, shall we? It shall be a stream of consciousness, so we can ALL see a small sliver of how Amy’s Brain Works.

And…..go!

Hi, God. It’s Amy The Writer aka Crankypants.

Thank You for this word. Thank You that You gave it to John, who then gave it to his peeps, and thank You for the long long long line of people that came between Then and Now so I can read it.

Thank You that I live in a nation where I can read something like this without fear or threat of persecution, as I know that is a right that not everyone has.

How do I set my heart at rest in Your presence?

I’m supposed to love with actions, I’m supposed to love in truth.

(this is also how I know that I belong to the truth, but I’m less concerned about that right now.)

Honestly, I don’t see the correlation.

I’m an awful person, because I don’t WANT to love with actions and in truth. I want my heart to be at rest in Your presence.

I want not to worry, not to fret, not to be anxious about how this year has sucked so much, and I’ve begged You all year to move me where You want me to be, I’ve been begging You all year to reach down and grab my hand, begging You to meet me halfway, if not all the way. I’ve invited, cajoled, pleaded with You to show up and start working.

When You didn’t move in my life, I moved. When You didn’t point the way, I decided on a direction myself (bear in mind that I repeatedly asked You for input and opinions. I made these choices in the absence of Your response.)

How do I set my heart at rest in Your presence when there’s a notable lack of response from You? How do I even know I’m in Your presence, as opposed to me typing away at my computer? I’m meditating on Your word right now, but it doesn’t feel any different, no angelic chorus announcing the arrival of Amy Crankypants Writer in Your Hallowed Hallway (whatever that looks like.)

Read the rest of the passage, Crankypants.


19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

Does my heart condemn me?

It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”

What self criticism have I been enduring lately?

Ummmmm, actually, I’m putting it all on You, God. Because I’ve been working my ass off here. I’ve been moving and shaking and stuff. There’s not so much criticism of myself lately, as there is me criticizing YOU for not holding up Your end of the bargain.

Little one, you don’t get to criticize Me. I am the Lord Your God, if you wanna get all OT about it. I made the sun, the moon, the stars, and a bunch of other stuff that people sing hymns about in modern day church services. I gave you everything you have and are currently complaining about. You have your health (allergies notwithstanding) you live by yourself, you have money in the bank account, Ethel the car is still chugging away, your immediate family is alive and well (Mr. Agatha’s new cell phone not withstanding.) and you’re pissed off about the fact that you don’t have a full time job with health benefits that you wouldn’t even use, because I blessed you with such health that you only see a doctor once a year, and that’s your gynecologist.

What’s your problem, anyway?

I don’t have stability, God. I don’t know where we’re going, God.

Well, welcome to life, kiddo. Nobody does. Even when I’m actively working in their lives, and even when I’m not. Nobody knows exactly where they’re going. They only have a very vague sense of direction. Like...north. Or...southeast. Or...Africa. Or...middle school teacher. Or...parents to four boys.

I don’t even have that, God.

Get over yourself. You know who you are. You’re Amy The Writer. That’s your direction.

But what do I do with that, God? What do You want me to do with that, God? How am I supposed to advance Your kingdom with my gift like any good sermon would say I’m supposed to do when You won’t show up and move in my life and show me what You want me to do with it?

What do YOU wanna do with it?

I wanna get PAID for it! Enough to become my primary wage! Because it’s so exhausting to juggle the meaningless day job that I’m only doing to pay the bills, and the writing stuff. Failure to progress, God! Failure to progress!

With no positive reinforcement that Yes, You Are Supposed To Be Writing, it’s REALLY HARD to continue to believe that I’M SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING!

Why can’t the two be wonderfully integrated? I advance Your kingdom in some way and get paid enough to make it my sole occupation! Problem solved! Why isn’t it in Your will already!?

Little one, Methinks you focus on money too much.

Does that make me an awful person? Hey, my heart’s condemning me! We’re back on track with the verse! I PLANNED it that way!

For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”


So, God, You know a few things:

1. Amy The Writer is a Major Crankypants.
2. Amy The Writer isn’t gonna shut up about it anytime soon.
3. Amy The Writer wants You to DO SOMETHING ALREADY.
4. Amy The Writer doesn’t trust You.

Wha-huh?

Amy The Writer doesn’t trust You, the Lord Her God.

Why wouldn’t you trust Me, little one?

Because You haven’t shown up all year long.

Only from where you’re sitting, little one. You don’t see where I’m sitting. You don’t know about the things I’m working on for you and your adorable little Crankypants heart. Haven’t I surprised you in the past?

Well, yeah, but—

Well yeah, nothing. I was there for you in the past, why wouldn’t you think I’d be there for you now?

Because You’re NOT here. This is just me pretending to have a conversation with You, this is just me saying what I think You’d say if You were here.

You think I’m not here?

You haven’t been here all year.

Only from where you’re sitting, little one. You don’t see what I see. I see everything. I see beginning, middle and end. You only see what’s right in front of you. It’s cool. I know this about you anyway. You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.

You know I’m a brat.

Yup.

You know I’m a bitch. An ungrateful Crankypants.

And all those other offensive terms you didn’t wanna write on a public blog.

You know I’m exhausting. You know I won’t shut up about it. And You know I’m not getting out of this ring until I get an answer from You.

I know.

Where’s my answer?

My time, not yours.

FUCK your time, God! Honestly!

I know, little one, I know.

Where’s my answer?

My time, not yours.

Where’s my answer?

My time, not yours.

Where’s my answer?

My time, not yours.

I’m not giving up, God.

I know, little one, I know. I love you anyway.

I don’t think anyone made it this far through the blog entry, God.

I know, little one, I know. You should go find some pretty pretty pictures later to break up the massive amounts of text.

Good idea, God. Thanks.

You’re welcome.

3 comments:

Ashes said...

I made it all the way to the end.

PS: I am the defacto crankypants at my church. Also the resident "Yeah? well I disagree. So there!" reaction-formation girl.

PSS: Thank God (literally) for the Holy Spirit, right? Cause it/He enables us to be honest and "clear" with God and yet converts every prayer into a "sweet aroma" to God ---even the F-bomb ones. So, thank you, God, for the Holy Spirit. And for Amy's blog. Amen.

Patty Jean said...

I made it! Your conversations and Ginger Puppy's with God is quite illuminating. And amusing.

I love you.

KHYT said...

Lauri D in her always right on time way led me to your blog. I am culturally (I.e. materially) conditioned not to share the (good) stuff I want to tell you about how your blog blessed me. But please email through Facebook (poked u earlier this week)