Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Doing Stuff We Should Is Hard

**I wrote this post last Saturday but didn't publish it. WOULD that I were still in that room.

Right now I'm totally having an out of body experience. Is that what you'd call it? I'm sitting on a gigantic bed in a gigantic room, with mint green walls and white trim and high ceilings and an open sliding door, outside of which the Pacific Ocean is lullabying in the sweetest way. Aaron's organization is having a retreat at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach and they've put us in a suite... I've never seen anything like this. I keep feeling like I'm playing dress up... Like after I walk down the hall all of the staff are snickering at each other because they know I don't 'belong' here.

But I'm living it up. Today we had some free time in between meals and speakers so I went for a run in the resort gym, overlooking the Pacific where dolphins swam by for just about the entire 4.5 miles of treadmilling. (Also, apparently I involuntarily talk to dolphins? I saw a little fin pop up and suddenly I said, in a very talking-to-babies voice, 'now where are YOU off to?' Afterwards I noticed the pot-bellied man on the treadmill next to me. I'm glad I gave him a story to tell at dinner tonight.)

After the gym I went to the pool and I really wanted to take the pretend-rich thing to the next level, so I found a pool server and said, I would Ike an apple please. He said, would you like a fruit plate? I said, no. He said, would you like to see a menu? I said, no, I would like an apple please. And he said, ok! And he brought me a nice juicy apple. I think I'm initiated now.

This is so not what I meant for this post to be about. Please forgive me.

This morning we had a small devotional with a Scottish pastor who lives in Cleveland. Walking contradiction aside, his accent could convert a New York Times columnist. I am not immune; he truly convicted me this morning when he began talking about Bible illiteracy. We don't know our Bibles, guys.

Let me give you an example. Last week in church Pastor Frank spoke on Habakkuk.

I have never read Habakkuk.


That's pretty hypocritical, right? Here's the question: do our actions actually reflect our beliefs? I don't know how they could not, but I don't think they do!

Human beings are so counter-intuitive. We say we believe things, or know things, or want things to be true, and then we act so completely as if they are not. You know how people always talk about how reckless teenagers are, because they don't buckle their seat belts and they go tanning and they smoke and all of that? I used to think that teenagers aren't necessarily reckless or stupid or unaware of consequences, just that they don't believe those consequences will happen to them. I'm sure most teens will concede that people who don't wear a seat belt are more likely to be really injured in a crash, but they must just not believe it's very likely that they'll be in a crash. That lung cancer will happen to them. That's what I  mean. That's what I used to think.

But now I'm not sure - look at this Bible example. In my deepest heart of hearts, I know the gospel to be true. God has chosen me and I've chosen Him. He created me. He redeemed me. He wrote a beautiful story that even HBO can't really recreate (sorry HBO.) And even though I can't see Him, or audibly hear him, or smell him or watch him or physically follow Him, He left us A BOOK. WITH WORDS. FROM HIM. And I don't read it?! I should be sleeping with that thing under my pillow! I should be desperate for it! I should be absolutely absorbed in it. Losing sleep for reading it. Losing my job for reading it. Stealing away in every possible moment to read more.

And yet Tana French still wins out. (omg Tana French.)

We are those teenagers, with the life-saving seat belts, letting them flap in the wind. We know we'll crash. Why don't we use them?

You can also apply this question to people who are confused about God. Or simply haven't given Him a lot of thought. Or who say they believe in Him but don't go to church pray or think about Him at all.

Do they really believe there is an all-knowing Creator, who holds their fate in His hands, but they don't care to get to know Him at all? Or at least try to get on His good side? I mean really - at least try to get on His good side.

Or what about people who just outright don't believe in Him but haven't launched any big inquiry, really. They just don't care to believe in Him. What if they're wrong? And they never bothered to research it? We get the implications of that, right?

I used to think if we did, we'd all convert. But I can't believe that anymore, because I don't read my own Bible.

What is this part of human nature... is it laziness? Unbelief? Both? Are we pre-ordained to place more practical value on our day jobs and our exercise routines and the plot shifts in British dramas than eternity? I might guess it's that we're not good at thinking outside of our Right Now - you know, the cliche about instant gratification. Our cell phones are killing our emotional intellect, etc. etc. But I don't know... we're so unbelievably talented at Worry, which is intrinsically future-focused. So that can't be it, right?

I don't know. But I guess, keep trying? I have to believe He can help.

Ok, time to sleep in this cloud of white pillows. After I call room service for a pear. (KIDDING oh wait now I do want a pear.)

The view from our room.

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