Monday, September 24, 2007

Be Angry and Sin Not, Part Two of Many

Another resource that I'm looking forward to unpacking can be found here. -SW

Be Angry and Sin Not, Part One of Many

I've been thinking about this topic. Understanding the therapeutic value of listening to our own anger as it tells us when our boundaries have been violated. Kinda like a smoke alarm. So feeling paying attention to the fair warning that anger offers us, that's healthy. (Thank you Harriett Lerner and Henry Cloud. I was listening.)

What becomes problematic for me is how to express healthy anger in a healthy appropriate way. And if I'm doing a good job riding fence on my boundaries and enforcing them before little trespasses become big trespasses, then why would I get so stinkin' angry? Why did I not address the trespass back when I was just mildly annoyed?

So one cannot just pop off in a rage and call it "expressing my anger inappropriately". But one cannot become resentful and sick and sullen by surpressing it either. Dannng. Being a good human is hard work.

So I googled "godly+angry" and I found this quote that I am considering:
"Anger...Scripture says to be angry and sin not. There are many Scriptures that speak of God's anger towards Israel,etc. *S* But, how many of us truly have godly motives when we are angry? Are we righteously angry at our husbands because they are sinning against God or are we angry because they have sinned against us? Plus, the thing we have to remember is that when God is angry, every other attribute of His is in operation so He never sins when He is angry. For instance, His love, longsuffering, patience are still in operation when He is angry. He is always Holy. I think it's a rare thing for us to be angry and not sin.

If we act on our anger by giving our husbands a cold stare, returning an angry word, slamming doors,etc. then in a sense we are trying to punish them (or take revenge) for what they have done to us. We repaying evil for evil. But, our Lord, says that He is to be man's judge... not us. So, we leave it with the Lord and pray for Him to be merciful. God says to return GOOD for EVIL and do good to them who hate you.

Matt 5:44
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Of course, most of our husbands are not enemies but I believe this principle should still apply.

Also, it is so helpful to realize how many times I may have caused someone else to be offended with me. How many times a day do we frustrate our husbands or our children or others? I want to sow mercy and LOTS of it when others are unkind to me because I definitely need others to be merciful with me. :-)"

Ouch. So they're speaking about godly anger and being angry and sinning not in the context of marriage. I'm seeking to examine the topic from a larger viewpoint as anger crops up in nearly any relationship if you have it long enough. My thoughts so far:
  • So okay, I know there have been a boatload of times I have needed mercy.
  • Therefore I must make it my practice to offer mercy to others.
  • I also know that continuing to let someone perpetrate bad disrespectful hurtful behavior on me is not doing them any favors. It's letting them sin.
  • I also know that godly anger is primarily to be a "strength on behalf of others" rising up and speaking out against injustice against "the least of these".
  • But sometimes my own heart is "the least of these" and I must speak on her behalf.
Thoughts, anyone?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Living the Sacred Romance

Today was such a gift. I swear. The entire day I was romanced and pursued and treated to delights big and and small. And Delighted Husband had nothing to do with it.

Cool thing about repentance. When I surrender as soon as God shows me I missed the mark, the sun comes out and life feels full color again.

Whenever I get rid of idols in my life, God seems to have fun rushing in to romance me and welcome me back.

I had the sweetest dream last night. Not just an un-bad dream. Not just the lack of a nightmare, but a dream of an experience that was was rich and so sweet my soul felt nourished when I wakened. I dreamed that Delighted Husband and I had dinner with our friends...another couple whose hearts we are fond of and admire. We arrived at their home for a cookout and the welcome on their faces was immersion. The feeling of being welcomed and delighted in washed over me. I felt so good to see them. And they felt so good to see me. I could just tell.

My brain was in a groove so I got into high gear organizing my office. It felt so good to begin to put things to right in my office. This Summer season was busy and little by little I reclaimed "a place for everything and everything in its place".

I ran out to run an errand at lunch and realized I would be going right by one of Delighted Husband's vendors. I called and asked him if there was anything he'd like me to drop off or pick up there and sure enough, he needed something. This Summer I was nearly drowning in roundtuits and guests and customers and vendors so it had been a while since I offered to run an errand for Delighted Husband. I could tell tell he was shocked in a good way to be asked. The usual this Summer was for him to beg me to run an errand and after 3 days of reminders I'd finally remember and finish it. So it felt so good to be able to offer.and deliver the same day.

I had fun chatting for a minute with DH's vendor. He's worked with that vendor for years and I know her from some of his work events. It just made my day to be able to greet a friend I hadn't seen in months. She bragged on my hair told me it looked great. I took this as a total bonus from God because I had just this morning been plotting to take myself in for some scheduled maintenance at the salon. But it felt so good to hear her sincere complement today. It meant alot.

I found myself near one of my favorite restaurants and I did something I had never done there before. I ate lunch by myself. I'm a gabber (as if you couldn't tell!) and I love to get out of the office and socialize with other humans (besides the customer on the other end of my endlessly ringing phone.) And I would have much rather eaten out with a friend but I was hungry. And I was there. So I summoned a little shot of bravery and went right on in. They seated me immediately which Never happens there since it's such a good restaurant. I didn't quite have the nerve to dawdle alone, so I aked the waiter what entree was fastest and he recommended a particular salad. It was the tastiest salad I have had in months. I was so busy gratefully consuming my salad (which was formed into an Aztec pyramid shape) that it took me a while to recognize the waiter's kindness and good service had morphed into flirting. I am so naive like that. It's hard to believe what with me wearing a wedding band that any man would go ahead and flirt anyway. I didn't feel icked out or intimidated. It's not like he asked me for a date. He just asked if I worked nearby and grinned and said "see you tomorrow!". I just felt flattered and grateful for the human interaction. After this long exhausting lonely Summer, it meant a lot.

As I was leaving the restaurant, I noticed a florist I'd always wanted to visit. Every time I'd been to that restaurant, DH and I had been doing the hustle trying to get back home for the babysitter so I'd never stopped in at the florist. I imagined the stack of phone messages waiting for me at the office, but I decided to give myself 10 minutes.

I wandered in and was delighted to see it was one of those charming mom & pop florists...cluttered with scented candles and cute gifty items. A lanky kid in his early twenties appeared from around the corner, grinned at me and asked if he could help. I told him I used to hang out at florist with my mom when I was a kid and I hadn't been in a florist with a little time to kill in years. "I didn't see much in your cooler up front, is there any more?" He grinned again, said "sure, there's more in the back", and just like that, I got the backstage tour back through the designer workstation into the bigggg cooler. It felt so good to stand in that cool room. It's still hot outside where I live. I looked around. There were signs on the shelves indicating price range. $40-$45 is a lot for an impulse buy unplanned expense, but I felt a nudge inside that said "go ahead" so I picked one vase off the shelf then another. "These are just starter vases for inventory" Sweet Blond Lanky Kid said, "we expect you to want to customize it a bit."

Customize it? Oh my. I'm livin' large just buying myself flowers not from a grocery store as it is. But I really did like the look of those Stargazer lilies in that bucket over in the corner, so I turned around to hand him the vase. Only it wasn't Sweet Blonde Lanky Kid, it was the designer. She was a petite brunette with kind brown eyes. "What would you like to add?" I swallowed and did the math in my head. Adding the lilies to my $45 arrangement would probably end of costing me fifty bucks. I considered asking her to pare down the vase before adding the lilies but it seemed mean and stingy to cull out the pink baby callas that blended so sweetly with the other flowers, I decided to go for it. I summoned more bravery. "Just add one of those Stargazers here in the middle and I think I"ll be good to go." I went upfront to wait by the cash register, enjoying smelling the scented candles and chatting with other customers.

The designer rang up my order. She only charged me 30 bucks. I managed not to gape my surprize but smiled and said "thank you" as I handed her my card. Then I thought out loud"how in the world am I gonna drive and hold a vase of flowers?" The grocery store flowers I am used to come in a paper and lay nicely on the carseat. "No problem, Kind Eyed Designer said, I"ll get you a bucket." I wasn't quite sure what that meant. But in 2 minutes Kind Eyed Designer emerged from her workshop carrying a plain black bucket, with my sweet little vase nestled in white gift tissue. It looked like a gift bag from a party. The other customer gasped with delight. So did I.

I gathered up my purse and magazines and then the other customer said "Can I help you to your car?" I smiled and said "Well sure an open door would be nice." She said "Oh no let me help" and she gathered up my little bucket o' flowers and walked with me to my car. I buckled the bucket into the front passenger seat just like Kind Eyed Designer told me to and thanked the other customer. "Have a great day" she said. "How could I not?" I replied.

I felt like Queen for a Day. A nice healthy yummy lunch out, stunning flowers all for forty bucks. This had God written all over it.

So to send Him my thank you note, I opened my sunroof, put on my sunglasses, and grinned my biggest grin right up at the sun. I drove back to work singing along with Chris Rice while the airconditioner blasted swirling coolness all around me.

Now I"m sneaking into Heaven with a borrowed halo
Hoping no-one notices my broken wings
Sneaking through these gates thinkin Lord Have Mercy
I'm never gonna make it if its up to me.

Hey mister Pedro, I have a little confession
I don't belong here and this halo isn't mine
Peter laughed and said
"son haven't you noticed we've all been broken and now we're doin' just fine"
cause nobody's good enough up here we're all the same
we all get to Heaven under someone else's name

I feel so alive. I feel so romanced and treated to love's little niceties.
And my beloved husband had nothing to do with it.
Sometimes the one who romances us best of all is God. -SW

Monday, September 10, 2007

When You Have Done Your Best

I used to hear this song growing up. It spoke to me today.

When you have done your best
let Jesus do the rest.
He will never dissapoint your soul.
When you have done your best
let Jesus do the rest
And keep your eye upon the goal.

Beautiful. Comforting. Profound.
Except I don't agree with the goal thing just now. I'm trying to move away from goal focus and just let surrender to Jesus be the goal. -SW