Gnawing on celery.

In just the last week, I spent . . .
  • countless hours numbing myself from my reality as I stared blankly at the television.
  • numerous hours facebook-stalking mere acquaintances as I mindlessly clicked through the photo albums of total strangers.
  • a deafening amount of time running my mouth to friends in an attempt to process another stupid decision I made out of pride.
  • a dictionary's worth of words rambling on and on and on to my sister about things that no longer matter because I was simply caught up in a moment.
  • a sickening number of brain cells anxiously pondering the what ifs of my seemingly uneventful life.
  • a disturbing amount of time nagging my husband about schedules and future plans and last night's miscommunication.
  • a saddening amount of energy beating myself up for the way I reacted to my children as a result of my own selfishness and lack of sleep.
I'm no math whiz, but if you added up all the hours spent on the activities listed above, I have a funny feeling that they would closely match the number of hours I spent physically awake last week (which is a whole heck of a lot).

And that's what pisses me off. It didn't take much self-reflection for me to realize that I spend a ridiculous amount of time seeking to fill my empty bucket by grasping for things of this world, my own inner demons, the reassurances from others, and a whole bunch of cultural trash.

Not God.

Not His Word.

Not prayer.

What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I clearly hungry for the very thing that Jesus promises to give but instead I continue to seek the very thing that is making me more hungry? It's like I am gnawing on celery to satisfy my appetite but I'm burning more calories in the process.

It makes no sense.

Yet I continue to follow the path of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In chapter two of Radical, Platt describes a group of church leaders in Asia who risk their lives in order to unite and study the Bible for days at a time. I am praying that I might possess merely a fraction of the passion for God that those men possess.

I am praying that God will awaken in my heart a deep and abiding passion for the gospel as the grand revelation of God (Platt, 40).

Because here's the truth: God's promises never falter. They never weaken. They never cease.

And because He promises to deliver blessings, goodness, and rewards (in addition to providing for my needs) to those who seek Him first, I am asking . . . praying . . . begging for God to position me in a way that I am open to His fulfillment. To the joy and peace and contentment that can only come from Him.

I'm sick of clogging up my soul with crap making it damn hard to open my heart to God's voice.

I'm only two chapters into this stupid book, and I'm a complete and utter mess.

Fortunately my God is meeting me exactly where I am at right now. And for that I have never been so grateful.

For more reactions to Chapter Two of Racical, check this out.

Quitting comfortable.

I'm unsettled.

My dear friend and mentor, Marla, mentioned reading this book, and because I like to live on the edge, I joined the read-along over on her blog. We are one week into this thing, and already it's been a wild ride leaving me all sorts of rattled and jumbled.

Not exactly the feel-good book of the year.

And though my heart is SO not ready, Radical is exactly what my soul needs.

I am overflowing with so many thoughts and emotions and realizations, but I am far from being able to articulate most of them.

And though I fear the vulnerability that comes with putting my crap out there, stick with me as I begin to process one of those realizations that is really working its way down, down, down into a more digestible form.

David Platt, the book's author, is on a mission to take back our faith from the American dream. On page 7 he writes, "somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable."

Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable.

That's exactly what I am.


And that's when it hit me. Comfortable is exactly what I don't want to be but I'm so afraid to quit.

You see, in my heart, I've always had this urge to do more - something bigger - something more profound than living this cozy life in the 'burbs, surrounded by the cushions of my generous family and dear, dear friends. Even yesterday I found myself in a conversation with a friend, telling her that if my husband was up for it, I'd move to a "lesser" part of town (aka, the ghetto) as a way to reach out to a hurting community. Take it a step farther, and I'd even move to a lesser part of the world, if my husband felt called.

But I'm realizing that much of that desire has little to do with Jesus and a lot to do with me. You see, I can visualize myself in the ghetto (just a few highway exits away from my warm and hospitable extended family) opening my door to neighboring Americans who happen to have a smaller checking account balance than we do. I can even visualize myself in Africa singing Jesus Loves Me with children who look nothing like my own but still call me Ma-Ma and think I'm somethin' special because I'm from America.

But here's where it gets ugly. I'd be willing to move in the name of Jesus, to a place where nobody knows my name, but I haven't been willing to open my doors to equally "needy" folks in this sheltered and thriving community because of my own selfish motives. Sure, I've thought about it. But then satan slips in and tells me, "Why would you want to do that? They'll just think you're crazy once they really get to know you Jesus freaks, and heck, they don't need your hospitality anyhow." You see, I don't want these people who know me as "the sweet girl next door" to know me as the "Jesus freak." Because that'd be plain awkward.

And about Africa. In my cute little daydream, we're sitting in a circle, singing songs and braiding hair. It's like something you'd sail by on It's a Small World. We might stay a while, pass along a box of Bibles and leave behind a generous check, and then return to the land of greed and consumerism via an air-conditioned 747.

But if Africa was really Iran, and those cute little kids were actually men with weapons accompanied by death threats and severe persecution - Are you kidding me? Keep me the hell away from that.

But here's the radical reality. Those terrorists in Iran are just as deserving of God's Kingdom as those beautiful African babies. You see, I don't want the radical calling. I'm only cool with being called if it's cute and returns me safely to cozy.

And my have-known-me-as-the-girl-next-door-for-four-years neighbors are EXACTLY who God is calling me to love IN JESUS' NAME right now. Forget inner-city fantasies. God has me in this zip code, within these walls, at this very time. Why the heck would He call me to serve in a different community if I can't even get my stinkin' act together in the one where He currently has me? Especially when this community comes with freedom of religion?


But before I let satan tell me I suck, because trust me, I'm tempted to end this entire blog post with those two words in bold font - all caps, I am going to thank GOD for humbling me enough to realize what desperately needs to change in my life.

Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable.

I live in the most comfortable country in the world, and it's about darn time that I step out just a smidge in an attempt to share my Jesus.

Am I really so darn selfish as to not glorify God in my interactions with those around me? Do I really have so little faith that I don't believe God will take care of what people think when they see us pray or read the Bible or make a decision based on Godly principles as opposed to secular ones?

Thank you, Lord, for speaking directly to my heart and soul as I begin this radical journey. And help me as I take steps of faith toward you and away from me. Because my nature tells me to think of me, me, me. And then me some more.

But I know, deep in my heart and at the core of my soul, that there is so much more to be gained when I think of You. And I never ever want to quit that.

*For more reactions to Chapter One of Radical, check this out.