Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the "i-n-g" of things

When I was leading the Breaking Free series, I had a moment where it became clear to me that the title of the class contained a clearly-intended present participle verb. This just means that it had an "ing" word in it. These words are indicators that the action is "occurring and continuing into the present". It is an action word, a doing-the-thing...thing. I even articulated it from my little table at the head of the class that it was going to take effort, that the title requested of us something difficult. The word "break" by itself is a pretty severe sounding word. I pointed out that we weren't going to be set free or or broken free, or licked free by kittens. It all sounded very convincing and the students nodded along in agreement and, for a moment, I felt like I was on board with them.

So, since my epiphany of self-destructive behavior last week, I've been trying to do the "ing" thing. I've known all along that change wouldn't come simply by my stopping certain behaviors but by doing something different. It would require something that would be occurring constantly. I've longed for structure my whole life. God did not give me a natural ability to be a structured person. I envy those that are. The funny thing is that I've had those structured, buttoned-up types tell me that they envy my ability to go with the flow. It really is just about balance. It is finding the middle ground, steadiness, and contentment. This comes from within, not without. If you've lived on the earth long enough, you can pretty much guarantee that things will most certainly go awry, and when you least expect it.

I covet Paul's statement in Phillippians 4:12 which states, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." How does somebody come to that point? It is and endeavor that I'm sure can't come without the love of Christ.

I had something happen to me today that I'll not soon forget. Our baby chicks came today and the truck driver, a little guy with a pony tail, do-rag, tattoos and a tongue ring, always jumps right in and helps with the work load. He is quite the conversationalist and we were chatting as we worked. We were talking about another farm that he services which is run by Mennonites. He said they were pretty leery of him at first because of his appearance but they had since warmed up to him. I asked, as we were talking about the Mennonite religion, if they believed in Jesus. None of us were quite sure but I googled it when I got home and...they do. So, the truck driver went to get another load of chicks and when he got back and we started back to work, he paused for a minute, looked right at me and asked, "do you believe in Jesus?" I immediately told him I did but I don't think I've ever been asked that question quite so point-blank by a practical stranger. That little tattooed, pierced dude asking me if I believe in Jesus won't soon leave my heart.

We talked for a little about belief and he told me a riveting story of how his life was spared after he was hit head-on by a drunk driver while he was on a motorcycle. He said that before the car swerved and hit him, he felt something physically shove him out of the way. He suffered a severe leg injury but, had he not been shoved by whatever it was, he would not have survived. That was what made him a believer. I love stories like that and I'm sure I won't forget it.


Anyway, I'm continuing on doing the thing. Whatever the day calls for, I'm doing my best to immerse myself in the thick of it. The last few days have called for every ounce of my physical energy and it is good for me to be busy. For one thing, when I'm out there doing the ing-thing, God presents me with challenges, but he also sends me opportunities to proclaim his son and talk to biker dudes about Jesus. I think that's pretty awesome.

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