For those of you wondering what corner of crazy I am coming from today, I will try to explain. Several years ago, comedian Dana Carvey portrayed a character who was a church lady. The church lady. Anyway, Church Lady made a lot of people laugh with her over-the-top uppity, self-righteous hilarity. My personal favorite is a bit where she is highlighting the evils of including Santa at Christmastime, and really drives it home by showing us all that if the "n" in "Santa" is moved to the end of "Santa", well...come on! You've got it! That's right...spells SATAN! And the look on Church Lady's face is priceless. She has Sunday-schooled us again!
(Please note that I recently saw a bit of the Lady again, and my, she could be pretty raunchy. Because I only saw clips here and there...many years ago...I think I had blocked out the questionable. So, please know that I refer to her because she is character that we aspire to be "unlike"...thus, the inspiration!)
When not raunchy, the lady can make me laugh. But, she also - even sans raunchy - makes me a bit uncomfortable. I mean, I laugh because I know her. We all do. The judgmental, hypocritical "Christian" who lacks pretty much any quality that Jesus possesses. Horrible, right? Well, this is where it gets uncomfortable.
Not only is the Lady's image one that many hold when they think of church or a Christian...there probably isn't a one of us claiming Christ who hasn't been guilty of contributing to said image in some way.
I just had a talk with an old friend this week about judgment. We didn't water down standing for right and wrong...we just discussed how the real Satan (not in any way related to our beloved Santa!) seems to be very busy and out to get the human race (not in any way a new concept!) and we have to be more intentional about bringing the hope of Christ to those around us.
This is where the challenge comes in. Read the following and think about joining me. It could revolutionize the world. At least our worlds.
For the month of July, I am purposing to:
- Pray, not gossip. For instance: You get a call that someone needs prayer and that someone has requested that you pass the prayer need along, but you end up just passing and not praying. Um, that would kind of defeat the purpose. Before you make your next call, stop, drop and pray. Also, beware of conversations that begin with, "You know who we really need to pray for?" and then don't end with someone actually praying. "But, Cavewoman! People just come to me with stuff! I can't help it. I don't start gossip, it just finds me!" It may not start with you, but if it finds you, make sure it ends with you. A good friend once told me that when people come to her with a "prayer need" or concern or even a gripe about someone, she stops them immediately and says, "Let's pray right now!" She says you instantly can see motive. If the person is happy to pray and then go on, their heart is right. If the person wants to keep explaining, talking or complaining first, then their heart is right...of center. I know my own heart needs some "shifting" on occasion.
- Praise, not pout. There are a lot of miserable looking Christians walking around. I'm afriad that I, at times, am one of them. We live in some rough days and it's easy to get down. As Christians, we know we're blessed, I mean...hello, God sent Jesus to die for us...that's blessed! But, we tend to look horizontally more than vertically and then we think, "Wow, why don't I have what they have? Why isn't God allowing me to do that?" and next thing you know, we're pouting. Get in the Word...read a Psalm...remember all that God has done for you and get your praise on! Why would anyone want to know Jesus if all they know about Jesus is what they see in a pouty Christian? I stand as convicted as anybody out there!
- Proceed, not retreat. I am at the point in my walk with God where I am sure of Him. For the most part. Okay, I'm sure of Him being Who He says He is. I am sure of Him creating me, saving me and someday taking me to Heaven. I am not always sure of Him sustaining me in my day to day and that is the very thing that keeps me from being what I need to be for those around me! Just because we are Christians doesn't mean we won't have trouble. It certainly doesn't make us better than others, giving way to our doing a Church Lady "Superior Dance"... please! Most of our heroes in the Bible endured hardships that would make me jump off of a cliff. Yet, I tend to think that my life should be easier. No, I tend to think that if I appear perfect (not Church Lady perfect, but my version of perfect...which is perfectly together in every way without flaw) that then people will want to be a church person, too. They will see how amazing I am and then want to know why I'm amazing and I'll say, "Jesus!" and the angels will sing in Glory. But, I am a human. I am flawed. I have troubles. It's when others see me proceed through my troubles because I know that Christ sustains me...that's when they want to know what makes me tick. If I retreat now, well, I am a hypocrite. And there ain't no dance for that one at all.
No "Superior Dance", but no "Inferior Dance" either. How about an "In Spite of My Exterior, God is Holding Together My Interior" dance? People will notice. People just might see Jesus in it all. And that, as the Lady might say, would be very "special" indeed! Cue: dance.