It’s not everyday that I find an inebriated man laying his hands on me, and praying over me. Nevertheless, this was the exact situation that I found myself in while on a business trip in Farmington, NM.
I rehearsed a handful of responses as I walked toward their car. Although I didn’t know them, I was certain that they were going to ask me for money. Lately I had been approached by a number of transients asking for help. Rather than constantly giving money, I made a practice of keeping snacks in my car to give to give to those who were hungry. But honestly, I found this to be tiresome, and was no longer doing it with a joyful heart.
As I left the building, I saw the transient couple sitting in the beat-up-Yugo that I had seen earlier. Not wanting to engage in conversation, I tried to make a quick break to my car….. but before I got too far, I heard someone call out to me. “Pastor John! Can we talk to you?”
Part of the human experience is the strong desire to connect with someone....
As much as I might criticize my friend’s husband, the truth of the matter is that I too struggle with arrogance and pride. I too have a propensity to throw fits of cataclysmic proportions when things do not go my way. No matter how much I would like to deny it, I have a tendency to try to control people and situations through manipulative behaviors. Although, I have surrendered this vice to God, it still beacons for my attention.
As we went for our daily walk, I reached out and grabbed her hand. I felt safe with her, and I had felt this way since we first met. Unbeknown to her, underneath my boisterous personality, was a broken child who feared the world and trusted no one. Yet, her presence seemed to magically remove the fear and worry that filled my mind.
In big cities, teens have the option to apply for jobs in fast-food, retail, & clerical offices. Although these positions may be a far cry from a desired career, they offer a luxury that teens on the farm don’t have, air-conditioning.
From the moment that I lied..., I felt shame and regret. I have yet to attempt to tell a lie that didn’t leave me feeling the same way. As I’ve journeyed through life, I’ve come to the conclusion that that I don’t want to live under a cloud of shame.
Feelings can be used as a launching pad that sends you on a pathway towards redemption, restoration, and change. However, if not dealt with, feelings can hold you prisoner to the things you hate most.
The urgency to make a decision became louder by the minute. I hadn’t yet settled on a response and didn’t know how to go about it. Any decision would be difficult. There were two paths that lay before me. Both were difficult to face.
My life has been filled with people who have “lovingly” tried to tell me “how to feel”, “when to feel”, and “what not to feel.”
I remember that for several weeks I found myself telling God that there were specific things that I had been praying about for years that he had never answered. I found myself telling Him that I was unwilling to take any steps further until I saw that He was willing to answer my prayers
In my failures I always encounter grace. Grace changes my outlook. It causes me to renounce any temptation to assume that I am better than others, and it inspires me to demonstrate grace as well.
The thought that people didn’t care about us was constantly reinforced by the actions of others. My heart became like a broken bone that never set properly. It stopped working correctly and healed around bitterness, instead of forgiveness.
There was a time in my life when I literally hated the sound of my name. Somewhere, in the dark corridors of my mind, I created a story of shame. The story of shame included the sound of my name.
I rushed home, buried my face in my pillow, & began to cry... I felt as if I was losing control. I felt alone. I felt less-than. I felt shame. I wasn’t supposed to feel this way. Why me? I was trapped in a shell of perpetual fear.