Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jesus will disapoint you if... special guest writer Aimee Walnofer

I would be remiss if I did not mention how long I've known Aimee....she and her sister used to give me a ride home from youth group and once in a while we'd stop at the Donut Hut in Mentone for a bedtime snack (if you remember the Donut Hut then you realize not only how long we've known one another, but how old we are!). Aimee always makes me laugh, moves me by her intelligence, and inspires me by her faith and depth. She recently wrote a book that you should definitely pick up not only because it is inexpensive, but because it is amazing. It is called A Girl called Foote.

Jesus Will Disappoint You If... have a custom-made agenda for Him.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned the lesson that I have very little power. I know that's contrary to what the world is constantly trying to pep us up with.

“You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to!” 

I won't go so far as to call the above statement a lie because I think people who spout similar phrases probably believe them and have good intentions, but alas, I fear such people are misguided.

I mean, think about it...what do I truly have power over?

*thinking hard for a moment and coming up with…*


Little ole me.

Yep. That's about it.

I can choose to make myself be kind, choose to make myself seek wisdom, choose to make myself exercise, and choose to make myself think before I act.

But even in all of that, I don't have total control.

If I get some horrible disease, it's not likely to be my fault because I live a very healthy lifestyle. Still, I can't make sure it doesn't happen. No matter how vigilant of a driver I am, I could still accidentally change lanes right under the carriage of a semi truck on the freeway. That certainly wouldn't be on purpose.

Even in rudimentary ways, I don't have complete control over myself.

A few years ago, I was under a lot of stress from different sources, and there was one situation in particular that was infuriating me. I knew what was best to resolve the issue (I don't say that sarcastically because I really DID know what was best and important in that situation), but the only person who had any power to change anything about it was unwilling. It was to their detriment and the solution was so simple, yet they refused. My frustration with them and anger with my own impotence was so great that I kinda, sorta, most definitely... flipped out.

I was in the shower (home alone, thank God) and I started screaming...and screaming...and screaming.




Mm hmm. (Even though no one was around to hear it.)

Stress relieving?

Oh, yeah.

Would I recommend it?

Not as a regular part of one's routine.

I didn't want to do it, but just like the build up of steam in a kettle will make it scream, so (occasionally) will a build up of frustration and stress in me.

I had been praying for months about that situation, asking God what my role was to fix it. That’s where I went wrong: I assumed that my role was to fix it, that if I just listened carefully enough and discerned things just so, then I could right the wrong. Obviously, that wasn’t happening, in spite of my best and well-intentioned efforts, and the result was a soapy, dripping, enraged me, screeching my lungs out in an echoing, slippery, closet-sized area.

I was extremely disappointed…ear piercingly so.

You see, I had an agenda for Jesus. I wanted Him to show me how I could change another person's will. I wanted for me and Him to be a tag team of sorts and dually show this person the error of their ways so that their own life would be improved for THEIR sake. (I wasn't even being selfish!)

That didn't happen.

After my squeaky clean shrieking fit, I realized that something needed to change, not in the other person because that clearly wasn't happening, but something in me. I needed to think differently if I was going to carry on, if I was going to be healthy in mind and vocal chords.

I acknowledged that I'd been trying to do something which I was powerless to do and I'd expected God to do something He never promised to do.

God will not violate the free wills which He has granted us, not yours, not mine and not *insert name of person presently frustrating you here*'s.

The main point of Jesus's ministry was to save us from sin...our own personal sin, not the sins of others. Neither did He ever make any promises that His incarnation, death and resurrection would ensure my good relationships with friends and family members, nor my body's good health, nor the realization of my career aspirations, vacation plans, etc.

When we think He has promised us those things, we are wrong and that's where we get disappointed.

That's what happened to some of Jesus's disciples. I can just hear them after Christ delivered His difficult teaching in John 6:53-58, grumbling: "What's all this about eating His flesh and living forever? I came for the snacks and good times, not this bizarre mumbo jumbo. I'm out." (a very loose paraphrase of John 6:60 & 66.)

So is Jesus enough?

It depends on what you want Him for.

I’ll be honest, I want Him to make all of my dreams come true, the unselfish ones and the selfish ones. However, I’ve realized that He never promised to do that, and that believing otherwise only leads to frustration and disappointment.

Is He enough to help me live a meaningful and thoughtful life in the midst of all the difficulties I face now and tomorrow?
Yes, and as I attempt to do so, He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. Hebrews 13:5b

Aimee Walnofer is learning to be less surprised by her desperate need for God’s grace, and simply more thankful for its abundance as she continues to claw around trying to live life well. Under the name A.E. Walnofer, she has recently published a novel entitled A Girl Called Foote. Set in England in the early nineteenth century, it is the coming of age story of two remarkable people who live very different lives. The Kindle version is available on Amazon for just $0.99. The paperback, unfortunately, costs a bit more.

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