Hey all, so unfortunately this needs to be short, as I leave for Livingstone in a few short hours and need to get a few hours of sleep before I go. However, I needed to write.
The moment I stepped onto the Calvin Track and Field Team, I knew that Track was going to be about much more than distances and throwing events. My teammates challenged me, my coaches encouraged me, and to put it bluntly, Norm Zylstra confused the heck out of me. However, over the past few days, one of the things Norm always tried to infuse within us hit home.
In the midst of endless sets of discus throws, Norm used to ask us repeatedly whether we tried to 'be right' or whether we would 'do right'. To be honest, some days I just thought he wanted to start debates (as he IS a gifted debater...). However, I realized this week that I never really understood the question, and if I had I might have benefited much more from his (and others!) coaching. I always tried to respond to the question by saying that we should strive to 'be in the right' as Christians. Seems like a good answer. Heck, seems like a 'right' answer. However, its not a Godly answer.
We are foiled, broken, emotion filled people who will never 'be right'. We can simply try to do right, as dictated by God. Thus, in all honesty, I now realize that it is impossible to 'be in the right.' However, it is possible to 'be in the light'.
So what is all this about? Why talk of Calvin Track from Zambia?
Because, this weekend I tried to 'be right', and this week I learned what it looked like to 'do right'.
This weekend, when I posted my previous post, I think I can say that I was 'right' in saying the things I did. I was hurt by the email that my friends sent. I was justified in my tears, frustrations and anger. I was further vindicated by the many emails of encouragement and love that so many of you sent. But what I did was not right at all. I took a few of the people I love the most, and hung them out in the open for all the world to gawk at; when I knew in my heart of hearts that the things they said were out of love for me and concern (and perhaps a little uniformed confusion) as to what was occurring in my life. However, this was a fact that I could not see Sunday night. I was too concerned with my own rightness.
So what changed?
Monday and Tuesday I completed a two day fast. I do not say this to sound vain. I say it because it changed my life.
For two days I ate nothing. Instead of thinking of food, I prayed. Instead of taking time for meals, I read my Bible. I dwelled for two full days on learning God's heart.
To be honest, I started the fast because I wanted to hear God's guidance on how to respond to the words that my friends had sent me in the previously mentioned email and subsequent emails... but I ended the fast hearing of God's guidance for life.
Stop trying to 'be right' and start 'doing right.'
Who cares that I was justified in what I said? The fact is, in trying to 'be right' this past weekend (and truthfully, in much of my life), I was wrong.
I don't need to be vindicated. My life is not a Dashboard Confessional song. My life is about God. My life is about loving others. My life is about denying myself and taking up my cross. Thus, the things I wrote in frustration and hurt should have never been posted for the world to see. Therefore, I want to issue a public apology to those friends.... Thank you for loving me and forgiving me in spite of everything. We'll figure this out together.
Up until now, I feel like my Christian walk has been a little bipolar. There are days when I feel like a failure of a Christian, and that I could never do what God is asking of me. And then there are days that I feel completely and udder self-righteous about how I handle myself and the things that I am feeling. I am a missionary to AIDS Orphans in Zambia. Even as I speak that sentence these two extremes compete. I am a missionary (self-righteous... cause let's be real: I have the faith to actually be here doing this) to AIDS Orphans in Zambia (oh ya, that... ya, probably going to fail when you put it that way!). So how do I combat those extremes? Where does the truth lie?
It lies in my confidence coming from GOD. It lies in 'doing right' instead of my own feeble abilities to 'be right'. It lies in a complete abandon of myself.
Thus, I ask you to pray for me. Pray that I would develop a confidence that is directly of God, and of nothing of myself; and pray that I would learn to do right.
Thanks everyone. And thanks especially to Norm for trying to teach me the truth behind these words long ago, and to the Zambians for giving me the tool of fasting to actually take the time and focus to discover what God would have had me understand years ago.... if I had only taken the time away from my own fulfillment to notice it.