Sunday, December 4, 2011

Past the Past.

In church today, the theme of the message was accesibility to God.

And, some things we do to hinder our ability to "access" Him when we need to.

Or perhaps, we hinder Him fron accessing US.

I found a couple of these extremely convicting/butt-kicking:

1. We don't get past our past. We get hurt, we fail, we screw up, and we let it consume us and keep us from making the change that we need to make in our lives. The analogy used today was the shot clock in basketball. 24 seconds to make a shot. And if you miss, guess what? The clock resets. And no one ever rebounded a ball, saw a clear opportunity to succeed and said "Nope, already tried shooting. Didn't go well."

I think of the attitudes I've had and carry as a result of my past. And I know I use them as excuses when I don't love as well as I could. When my confidence falters, when insecurity rears its head, making me needy and more dependent than I should be. When past infidelity makes me suspicious when I don't need to be, not in the slightest. When past failures--professional, relational, etc, and past heartbreak cause me to doubt that God has a plan for me, and that He has my absolute best interest at heart. He is a God who loves, and a God who forgives. If I couldn't forgive those who have wronged me, I would never be able to move forward. I'd be consumed by my own bitterness and my life would cease to be one with purpose.

But WAIT. If that's true of other people who've sinned against me, shouldn't it also apply to me? I've forgiven everyone else, but forgiving ME is the key step in moving forward. I've read that regret is simply not from God. Repentance yes, regret no. Regret can only serve to fill you with shame and longing for what cannot be undone. God has forgiven me, and will continue to do so. My turn.

2. We DOUBT. Our pastor talked about a story in John (as in, the Gospel of) 5, about an invalid trying to reach a pool with healing powers. Jesus shows up, sees him, and they have the following exchange:

"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'
'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.'

Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." (John 5:6-9, NIV)

The question "do you WANT to get well?" seems pretty basic. Uh, yeah, I do. But for many of us, myself included, getting "well", whatever that means, takes CHANGE. And change, more often than not, takes WORK. And it always, always takes faith. Had that man at the pool said to Jesus "Nope, I'm not getting up, I can't, duh" he would have remained there, for the rest of his life. He had to BELIEVE that Jesus could and would change him for the better, despite what he had always been before.

Two steps, that seem so elementary, hold so many back. Get over yourself, get over what you did or what was done to you, and believe that God can and will change you. Okay, maybe that was three steps. Anyway...

Easier said than done, I know. But what I loved about the basketball shot clock analogy is that number 24. How convenient that while players get 24 seconds to try again after every failure, there are 24 hours in every single day for us to do the same. Every day, God resets the clock.

So here's to the next 24.

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