Tag Archives: Christlike

I Still Have a Long Way to Go

“Dissimulation, half answers, vindictive attitudes, a false presentation of self are all barbs in the soul of the monastic. Holiness, this ancient rule says to a culture that has made crafty packaging high art, has something to do with being who we say we are, claiming our truths, opening our hearts, giving ourselves to the other pure and unglossed.” —Joan Chittister from The Rule of Benedict

Just when I think I am moving in a good direction with my life and my attitudes, I get this reminder that I am really just clay, water, and some divine breath. There are a few things that set me off in a really bad, fast, almost flashpoint-anger way. Being called out about things in front of other people is one of those things that sets me off, and there is nothing worse than my unrighteous anger. There is no dignity in responding with the same behavior that angers me to start with.

Yesterday during our faculty meeting, there were several things said that I took personally. Whether they were personally directed at me, or whether they simply felt directed at me, I will never know, but what I do know is that I got angry enough to raise my voice at a colleague and then leave the room. All of this after I just had a conversation with Andy about how I felt that this Lent, studying and writing and making big decisions, had really changed me. I was as angry with myself as I was with my colleagues.

I know that people have bad days, and I know my Wesleyan theology well enough to know that I must keep striving for perfection/sanctification. I know that’s why it’s called sanctifying grace, because it isn’t something that just happens—of course the grace to long for sanctification is a gift—but actually getting there is something that we must strive toward, giving ourself opportunities to learn along the way. Sometimes the learning of these lessons is hard, though, and I end up eating a lot of crow.

I feel like that at some point, I should be able to put away my childlike things and behave like an adult. If you’ve read any other posts in this blog, you’ll know that I don’t really want to be an adult, and I covet those moments when I can recapture some bits of childlike innocence in play or thought. Maybe, in fact, this “dissimulation, half answers, vindictive attitudes, a false presentation of self” is really adult behavior. Maybe this is what happens to us when we become adults: we get mean. I don’t know many children who behave as badly as many of the adults I know.

I want to be one of those people I love to be around. I want to bring peace and light to every conversation. I want people to leave being with me, like I feel when I leave being with some of my friends. I want people to leave a conversation with me feeling like both of us were changed by the encounter, like we were real and present with each other, paying attention only to the moment between us. Right now, I feel really self-absorbed, distracted, aloof. I want my life to look like this: “being who we say we are, claiming our truths, opening our hearts, giving ourselves to the other pure and unglossed.” I want to exude Christ and him crucified and raised from the dead. I want to offer grace, not condemnation. Basically, I want to live in the image of God, so that I can forget I am simply clay and water, by focusing more and more on the divine breath and the way it breathes through me.

Lent Day 23: Half Way Through and I Still Have So Far to Go

Last night proved to me once again that I still have so far to go in this “live like Jesus thing.” I want so badly to be Christlike, but yet I fall so far from that each day. And, just like I learned in a children’s sermon, once I squeeze out that toothpaste, it’s a bitch to get it back in the tube. In fact, it’s impossible.

I did have a funny thing happen at school today. One of my boys asked me to read his sermon that he will deliver at his youth group, and as I was giving it back to him with comments, he asked if I was going to go hear a Christian comedian speak at one of our local high schools. I told him I didn’t know about it. He replied that there was a post on someone’s Facebook page. “I’m not friends with very many FCA people on Facebook. I say the f*bomb a lot, and most Christians don’t tend to like that very well,” I said. He started laughing so hard, he had to regroup before we could continue talking about his sermon. Hilarious.

In the spirit of Family Guy, do you want to know something that really grinds my gears? When people leave their cars running while sitting in them or running into Starbucks to get a drink, I get all wound-up. It’s almost 60 degrees; there is absolutely no reason to leave your car running. It isn’t warm enough to “need” air conditioning and it isn’t cold enough to “need” a warm car. Wow.

My goal today is to make a conscious effort to meditate and pattern my steps after Jesus. I’m not off to a great start. Regroup.