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I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have turned off tv shows, clicked away from websites, and changed the topic of conversations.

I have burnt bridges or refused to build them in the first place.

I have avoided the burning in my chest.
The one that pushes me to limbs unstable to walk on.
Pushes me to where He is.

I have held on to things that needed to be let go and pushed away the ones that I desperately needed to hold.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

In my mind, I have painted beautiful pictures of life, relationships, and laughter.
I have thought wonderful thoughts and run towards them abandoning all else.

But I have stopped short of the prize because it was hard.
Because there was something in the way.
Something that I refused to hold as my ebenezer.
Something I refused to even see if God would be faithful in overcoming.

I have run from God.
Over and over again.

Run from His people because of unmet needs.
Run from His Church because His people weren’t exactly who I thought He told them to be.
Run from myself when I didn’t live up to my own expections.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have let my hurts spill into my interactions with others.
I have turned away from a responsibility to love and care for others because those “others” hurt me in ways they didn’t even understand.
They didn’t even know.

I have met three girls with hugs and love and given a knowing half smile to the fourth.
Eyes going dark, I refused to show her my light.
Because I wanted her to see the consequences of her conversations.
I wanted her to know that it wasn’t okay.
I wanted her to hurt.

This wasn’t years ago. This wasn’t even in high school.
I am a senior in college and still my brat face comes out to play sometimes.
The twelve year old girl comes out in the worst way when I feel something is unfair.
When someone else gets the long straw and I’m stuck in the rain.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I speak beautiful words about redemption and grace and love and Jesus, but I run to my flesh when the going gets tough.

Today, I am broken for my inability to love, and tomorrow, maybe, I’ll find myself face to face with her.
The choice to love or leave on the line.
And I pray I will love.

But love will have to flow from Jesus, because I am a cynic in the worst way.

Today I’m thankful for community.
For responsibility and accountability.
I’m thankful for the ones who call me out when my words and my actions don’t align.
I’m thankful that God is gracious to forgive, and each morning His mercies are new.

Because I wouldn’t be who I am without the ones who’ve walked beside me.
Would be who I am without a Jesus that forgives and pursues.
Wouldn’t be who I am without the friends who’ve called me into relationship.
Without the ones that have heard my emotions overflow all over this city, from the dorms to our cars to our now homes.
I wouldn’t be the same.
I wouldn’t understand grace and truth and perserverance.

They have been Jesus to the worst cynic.
They have shown Him to the one who has tried over and over to run away.

He has begun to melt the heart of the cynic in the worst way.
And that has been the best thing.

–Hallie

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Two Men.

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There were two men in church this week that didn’t fit in.

Two men that made me wonder why they were there.

Two men that made me wonder where my heart was.

One wore a trench coat and had eyes that had seen much.

The other wore sweatpants and a too tight t-shirt and walked too loudly down the aisle in the middle of the sermon.

There are churches and ministries for people like them, my sinful self quickly thought. Don’t they realize that you dress nice for church on Sunday? Don’t they realize you don’t get up in the middle of the sermon? Did their mothers not teach them anything? were the thoughts I’m embarrassed to say flowed through my mind as I allowed myself to be distracted.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. What kind of Christian am I that I don’t want people who “don’t fit in” in “my church”?

Last year, there was a girl wearing Nike shorts at Wednesday night church and one of my guy friends casually mentioned that he couldn’t believe she was dressed like this for church. It was me who was so quick to jump to this girl’s defense. So quick to justify her reasons and point out his sin.

And it was me that found herself on the other side of judgementalism and sin this week.

I can justify a girl, probably much like me, wearing athletic shorts in church but question when someone outside the realm of people I think should be in “MY” church on a Sunday morning are there. .

But Jesus didn’t just die for the people who I think should be in church on Sunday morning.

He didn’t just die for the ones who have “done enough” to get to heaven.

He died for the homeless, the broken, the needy. For Them. For You. For Me.
Because we all fit into that category. Because yeah, I have clothes that fit and a roof over my head each night, but my brokenness stems from a less physical area of my life. And it might be hiding, but it’s there.

And He makes my need for Him known everytime I get too comfortable.

Everytime I think I have it all figured out. He shows up and asks “What about the least of these?” and “Who are you to judge?”.

**I wrote this about a year ago, and it’s back on my heart again. Funny how God has a way of doing that to us.