so, i've been thinking about authenticity. struggling with jealousy for those friends of mine who are working in their callings already. finding peace in the assurance that i'm in the right place anyway. swimming around in all of these things is the idea of humility and honesty. all of these things, to me, work toward authenticity.
we all go through phases in life, right? i've struggled through so many phases, if you could see the insides of my heart you would...recognize the inside of my car as a natural outworking of that inward reality sometimes :). anyway, many friends who've known me for a long time will remember the samantha who would argue with a wall if it looked at her wrong. or there's the samantha who was absolutely convinced that every believer should do a dts (discipleship training school with ywam)(um, no longer convinced, by the way-- it's good, but not for everyone).oh, and then there's the samantha who would smoke anything she could light, drink anything she was dared to drink, and chase all that with an hours-long discussion of the existence of God. i have spent many, many days confused.
but in my later years, i've come to see some things--primarily from running headlong into walls, but those lessons are no less valuable that are accompanied with permanent scar tissue. my dad told me that there was this verse in 2 peter that told us to avoid "foolish controversies" because it doesn't build anyone up and only ruins those who listen.my goodness, how much time do we spend arguing foolish controversies?
during my first go-round with college, back in '89, one of my friends asked me (one night when i was waxing eloquent on God and church and who knows what-all), "So... I don't mean anything mean, but how can you say you believe all those things and still...still... you know. Party." Jeanne wasn't a believer, and neither were her parents. she was also one of the nicest people i ever met-- before or since. she was in earnest. she wanted to know. i didn't have an answer except deep inside, i wondered if maybe i didn't really believe the things i was saying... i dropped out of college and spent the next two years baked, but spent countless nights alone at Waffle House on 138 after parties, drinking pot after pot of coffee, smoking endless reds, reading the bible and writing in my journal and wondering about things. the waitresses and i didn't just know each other-- we became friends, and their stories added a healthy dose of reality to my life. when i got my act together and moved to colorado, a couple of them wrote to me for a while. they loved me. they respected me. they had no reason to-- they saw me drunk, tripping on acid, and reading the bible (all at different times, usually) but those women knew that i was walking through something.
a couple of days ago i had a conversation with someone (a new friend whom i love already) who said some really nice things to me, and while she was talking, i knew that my only response to the "how" of all the joy in my life was this: mercy. God showed me mercy. those waffle house ladies showed me mercy. many, many friends and my parents (and the parents of friends...) showed me mercy. if i have been shown so much mercy, in God's economy, i am bound by love to decide to be merciful at every opportunity, to as many people as i can find. In fact, i really need to go right now and find some people JUST TO BE MERCIFUL to them if I am EVER going to make a dent on just the earthly mercy i have received... am i always successful? are you?
i think that the person who walks in mercy-- who wants to-- has a good view of humility. what i mean is, if we walk in the constant awareness of our need for mercy, i think that humility is in sight. not false humility. but that kind of awareness that is always present-- that thing in us that we know about ourselves, that we deserve death, that we deserve to get pulled over by the police, that we are so in need of the forgiveness of Jesus, that we are so dependent upon the kindness of our God, that we have received oceans of mercy... maybe that's where "walking humbly with our God" becomes practical reality... like the monk who wanted to learn to pray constantly, perhaps this is constant prayer? gratefulness? an awareness that it's not my job to decide who goes to heaven and who doesn't, but to love. love. love.
Jesus set the example down for us. in His perfect humility, His understanding of the mercy of God, He was authentic-- He didn't have to be anything He wasn't, b/c He was walking in fulness.... if we are walking around with Him in us, then are we walking in fulness, too?
i want to be real. and i want people to be glad to be with me, to be glad that they know i love them. i want to be loving all the time. i want to be humble, remembering always that i am a creature destined for destruction without the grace of a God who is better than anyone could ever dream up. i want us as a body to be irresistable, and that we'd love and let the Lord work out the things in people's hearts that need to be worked out, and that the Holy Spirit would do all this through us because we simply can't on our own. I wish that that we'd resign from the self-appointed committee of "who gets in and who doesn't." who benefits from that? we don't even benefit from it ourselves!
sigh. that's all. just thinking. just hoping He'll make me authentic, that i'll listen to Him and do the things that will make me that way. that the church will, so that when the hurting cry out for help, they'll know that there's at least one place on earth they can come to for help: Jesus Christ.