Welcome to Meeting #3 of our Interrupted Bookclub, where we will take a closer look at the 2nd section of the book, titled Early Spring 2007. This meeting will be split up into 2 different posts, beginning with this one over pages 47-61. For our meeting today I have made Paula Deen’s Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies ~ they are delicious. Oh, and your hair looks nice. And I like your pajamas. Let’s get started.
~ Meeting #3: our collective musings on Section 2 (pp. 47-72) ~
Early Spring 2007, part 1 (pp. 47-61)
At the end of the first chapter, on page 49, Jen describes the tension that comes with major worldview upheavals:
“It’s one thing to acknowledge a different worldview; it’s another thing to absorb it. The next season was marked by me thrashing around, ranting and raving, and generally freaking out as the spiritual tension caught up with me and exposed the true condition of my heart”.
Oh my goodness. Its as if she has taken a peek into my soul and is pouring out the secret struggles of my heart onto the page. The last two years of my life have been about deconstructing, relearning and being absolutely exposed as a liar, a hypocrite, and a talking head whose heart was impossibly removed from her words. I was telling people about Jesus, all while tipping my hat at him from across the wilderness…
In other words, I knew that He was the way, the truth and the life, but I didn’t want to get too close. I wanted to hear Him preach in the synagogue and let His beautiful words wash over me, but then I wanted to return to my comfortable dwelling place that had a terrific view of Jerusalem, within walking distance of the best beaded sandal vendors in the city. I wanted to be in His fanclub, but not in His posse. Talk about tension.
When I finally did begin to realize that my worldview was more American than it was Christian (thanks to Voddie Baucham’s Family Driven Faith) (oh, and the Holy Spirit), my life did not change overnight. It began just like Jen said, an acknowledgment. Then came admiration, then a desire to change…and then the changing started. And…ouch. “Thrashing around” pretty much perfectly describes the state my heart has been in as I have embarked down a long spiral of discomfort and conviction that has led me almost to the end of myself. One misconception is cleared up and another is revealed. One sin pattern is confessed and removed, only to show an entirely new layer underneath it.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. OUCH!
But its a pain that hurts so good, for I think it is going to finally make me look like a person that follows Jesus…wherever He goes.
I also loved the way Jen summed up her pre-Interrupted life on page 51:
“I went to church way more than a normal human would or should, but I still had too much debt, too much pride, too much self-absorption, same as everyone. I lived for me and mine. Outside of my spiritual titles — pastor’s wife, Bible teacher, Christian author and speaker — there were no radical lifestyle distinctions that would cause anyone to say, ‘Wow, you live a really different life.’ I realized I was completely normal. But my Savior was the most unnormal guy ever.”
And then on page 55, after discussing Jesus’s example of brokenness and self-denial, she says:
“Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed. The sermon that changed your life? That messenger was poured out so you could hear it. The friends who stood in the gap during your crisis? They embraced some sacrifice of brokenness for your healing. Anytime you say, “That fed me, that nourished me,” someone was the broken bread for your fulfillment.”
This section was kind of an eye-opener for me. Sometimes I will feel this urge to do something nice for someone else – like make them some banana bread – but the long day of caring for snotty-nosed and hungry children who poop more than should be humanly possible is finally over and I have the chance to put my feet up and watch “Downton Abbey” or “30 Rock” and I push that thought aside for some other day when I have the time and the energy…
But being broken and poured isn’t supposed to be easy, is it? Nor is it something that I should save for those perfect moments when I am chipper with a hankering to bake.
My husband has been a great example for me in this area. He is beginning to acknowledge those urges and thoughts as the Spirit’s moving and he acts on them quickly. Because of this, he left his office to come clean the house for me one day when the idea popped into his head. He had been praying for me and instead of seeing that thought as fleeting and silly, he assumed it was God nudging him to show me how loved I am. He poured himself out for me…and I still don’t know if he has any idea how deeply this act of service nourished me, making me feel loved by my husband AND God. Likewise, last week when he was planning on taking Gideon to Target to give me some time with the girls, he thought of some of the other stay-at-home Moms who were probably in the same boat. So he picked up their kids, too! He poured himself out for us. He makes this obedience look easy with his cheerfulness, but is it really easy for anyone to clean an entire house when they have other things they’d like to do? No. Is it easy for anyone to load up three 4-year olds in a churchvan to return a bookshelf to Target? Heavens no. He is pouring himself out for the ones he loves. And in doing so, he is learning to experience the lasting joy of obedience and self-sacrifice while showing his hair-brained wife how to live like Jesus.
And lastly, Jen discusses the trepidation many of us feel about feeding or helping those “Judases” who might betray or mistreat us but follows it up with: “We don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated. We’re not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can’t withhold social relief because we’re not convinced it will be perfectly managed. Must we be wise? Absolutely. But doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission.” And this is when I start to get weary. I have so much to learn. I have so much to relearn. I have so much work to do, while begging the Spirit to work in my heart and to do so quickly. I have been such a jerk. How about you?
Questions for thought or discussion:
Have you had an American, rather than a Christian, worldview? If so, where are you in your journey to absorbing a Biblical worldview? Are you admiring it? Or are you in the thrashing stage? How’s that going for you?
Are you completely normal? Does the world see you as different, aside from the fact that your car is in the church parking lot several times a week?
Were you like me in assuming that helping others should come when it feels right and easy? Did Jen’s thoughts on brokenness surprise you? Have you been ignoring the voice of the Spirit without even knowing it?
Have you been reticent in helping certain people because they would not appreciate you or were not deserving or capable or discerning? Is your view on this beginning to change?
~ mull it over or share below ~