This is going to start off as a bit of an addendum to my post about Cody last night, and it might be sort of a downer way to start. If I'm totally honest, after I got home from the grocery store I didn't feel good at all. I wasn't replaying the sweet moment of prayer I had with a stranger in a grocery store. You know what I WAS replaying in my head?
I was re-playing the way that Cody's friend, Hunter, looked at me when I opened my eyes after I had prayed. He had a look on his face that can best be described as surprised and suspicious. You see, when Cody asked me to pray for him, Hunter had walked to another aisle to grab something. So he missed the interaction leading up to us praying, and when he came back we were holding hands and bowing our heads. As I said "See you Sunday?", Hunter darted a somewhat weary glance at me and I my heart froze.
Did he think that I was trying to pray for Cody to make him walk and talk again? Did he think I was aiming at a grocery store conversion? My heart started to beat quickly and I got a little queasy as I paced around Ralph's. I started to feel a bit of fear that I had come across as some stereotypical arrogant Christian, meeting a crippled man and instantly turning him into a charity case to make me feel like I was doing something good, when Hunter is the one who serves Cody day in and day out.
Once I got home I started thinking about how I've been reading through Acts lately and the first apostles were healing folks like CRAZY. Should I have taken that opportunity to pray for physical healing in his life? Should I have.... the list went on and I let my fear eclipse the somewhat miraculous thing God had just done.
Do you see it? Do you see how quickly I let the blessing of meeting Cody turn into a fear-filled, dread-drenched, self-esteem sucker? Seconds. SECONDS. I like how Tina Fey puts it,
“My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants
Side Note: If you haven't read Bossypants, what the fritz are you doing reading my blog? Do yourself a favor and go buy it, pour yourself a glass of something tasty, and get carried away. Its my favorite non-Jesus book ever. Also, the Audiobook is incredibly funny, as she reads it with all kinds of genius inflection.
What was I saying? Oh yes, I had turned what was a treat from Jesus into a rabbit hole of darkness which it took me almost the entire evening to climb out of.
Jon and I just finished going through both letters to the Corinthians from Paul, and there's this bit in the first letter that I can't get over. Paul is talking about judgement; mostly about when it is and is not appropriate for us to wear the judge hat. I think it would shock the world to know that he says its RARELY appropriate ( Only within your church family and only in a VERY particular way that is imperative to pair with grace. More on that another time).
"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts." 1 Corinthians 4:3-5a
There's a lot of good stuff in there but what stands out to me right now is that bit where he declares he doesn't even judge himself. When I read that, my innards scream out "HOW!!??"
I confess, that I judge myself all the time. In every single capacity. Unfortunately...Somewhere in me, I feel like its necessary to always judge myself "Guilty".
Did I overstep? "Guilty".
Did I fail that person? "Guilty".
Paul mentions that he isn't innocent, but his conscience is somehow clear.
Somewhere in me is the poisonous belief that everything I do, whether in word or deed, isn't good enough.
So, what Paul points out here is PROFOUND for me. Much to my surprise... it might not ever be my job to judge myself.
Deciding whether or not I'm good enough might not be something the Lord EVER wanted on my to-do list.
Like. Ever. ( Taylor Swift? Does anyone get that reference?)
I might be walking around with a heavy and burdensome job title ( self-judge) that doesn't even belong to me?
This is good news.
This is the gospel, for me.
I probably could have done better last night...but I think God planned for me to not do it perfectly. He's not surprised that I fumbled my words and failed to say "Hi" to the paralyzed man, and averted my eyes because I was so uncomfortable when I couldn't understand what he was saying.
The good news is that the only One who's judgement matters has grace that is an endless ocean, a bottomless sea.
By His grace, He doesn't have a laundry list of my faults constantly at the tip of His tongue. Infact, because of Jesus... He doesn't have it anywhere. Not even tucked in his back pocket incase He needs it down the road somewhere. ( Sneak attack)
I have to believe that God's bigger than I am. I have to believe that He knows I wanted to let that guy know of His love, and that He can do what I infinitely can't.... He can take my imperfect prayers and woo Cody's heart into a love dance with Him. He can plant a seed in Hunter's heart that might be harvested in 10 years when something clicks and he thinks of the supermarket one Friday night.
It is finished.
He has made me more than good enough in the riches of His mercy.
Lord, help me to stop judging myself. Help me to humbly remove the "Guilty" sign I keep putting back around my neck.
Carly Calmes the First
Ps: I most certainly am not implying that I should live carelessly without discipline and not adhering to Jesus' teachings. Obviously it requires a level of self-awareness to make good choices and to attempt at living in a way that pleases God. Just... just so you know.