on the eating foul flavored words

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Now can I leave, God?” 

This was my plaintive prayer, there in the midst of a deacon/deaconness meeting at my church.  I had been squirming in prayer for…I don’t know.  Weeks?  Months?  I had found one thing and then another that bothered me about my church.  That chafed me.  That ground on my last nerve.  So this was not a new prayer.  I wasn’t willing to leave without His say-so.  But I was leaning as hard as I could on Him, pushing for the release.  Why was it taking so long?

Later that night in prayer, I heard/felt it.  Release.  Permission to move along.  But…on a condition:  that I would not make a public explanation of why I was doing so.  That I would let people think whatever they might think about me, and not do any “damage control” along the way. 

At the time, I believed His reason for releasing me to leave that church was that I was right and so much was wrong.  I walked out of there pretty full of myself.  It was HARD, following the directive to not tell the world what my issues were, so that they might all agree with me and say how Very Right I Was.  But the “zip your lips” order was so clear that I couldn’t even consider ignoring it. 

Later, I would be very glad that I had obeyed that order. 

Later was when I came to understand:  releasing me was not about me being right or how much whatever outside of me might have been wrong.  I was released to move along simply because:  my attitude had deteriorated to such a point that I had rendered myself useless among that body.  I was all criticism, all complaint, all fault-finding, all suspicion. 

The ironic thing about that is that I still very much liked and loved so many of my fellow church members.  The only way I could stay so provoked all the time was to not think of them individually.  I had to just think “big picture” thoughts and focus on Stuff Not Going the Way I Thought It Should. 

When my understanding shifted, basically from, “I was too good for that situation,” to something more like, “I wrecked myself for that situation”….OUCH.  So wretchedly humbling.  Which was when I got GLAD that I had not gone around bashing the church to the whole world around me.  It sucked enough, knowing within myself.  It was awful enough, knowing that those I’d left behind probably saw that about me on my way out the door.  (And let me mention here…those people were gracious then, and have continued to be gracious since.  For all my rants about how wrong the church gets a lot of things, I have to say LOUDLY – I was given extravagant measures of grace, mercy, and forgiveness by people that I never even really humbled myself enough to ask for those things.) 

This is not by a long shot my ONLY story of having been an arrogant, ignorant, blinded ass.  It’s just the one I’m sharing tonight.  What I’ve learned from those repeated episodes?  Walk in humbleness, wherever possible – it’s the safest position.  Assume I am getting at least much wrong as I am getting right…maybe more.  Tread carefully when tempted to stomp on people in the wrong vs. right ring.  The old adage is true:  keep your words sweet – you may have to eat them one day.  And finally…wherever I am, be there with all my might.  Serve with all I have.  Focus intentionally on the positive and don’t get entangled in the question of focusing on what’s going wrong. 

Hopefully, following all of that, I can avoid having to eat words that taste like ass…ever again..in my life. 

  1. Stacy says:

    Oh Karen, I know those ass flavored words soooo well. Thank you for the direct instructions of how to avoid them in the future. So helpful!

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