Friday, July 9, 2010

what would He say?

I’d never played this role before, never really put myself in my Savior’s shoes.

I’ve spent years reading, interpreting, memorizing His words.

But I couldn’t tell you the last time I tried to BE HIM.

Not in the “what would Jesus do?” kind of way. I think I try to do that.

But in the way I see people. In the way I see myself.

I think I’m too afraid to walk in His shoes.

So at first, I was uncomfortable.

“You be Jesus, and I’ll be you,” the teacher had said.

I felt like I was in Great Books all over again, performing some odd Socratic dialogue.

(I had always loved those.
I even wrote one, between Jesus and His disciples.
But in my head, I always played the role of the disciples.
This was different.)

Now I, as Jesus, was supposed to answer my own questions, questions that had been swirling in my head for weeks.

“Am I doing the right thing?”

“What should I be doing?”

“How should the church look?”

These aren’t eloquent questions. There’s nothing remotely intriguing about them, really. In fact, one of them, in a journalistic no-no, isn’t even open-ended.

But I can’t change the fact that these are the questions.

These are the questions that, if Jesus came to my house tonight, for dinner (which hopefully would be something other than Tombstone pizza), I would ask.

“Am I doing the right thing?”

“If not, what should I be doing?”

“And Your church. I want to know: How is Your church supposed to look?”

That’s what I’d ask. Right after I asked Him to pray for dinner. Because I think it’d be nice to hear Jesus pray in my house.

So when our dialogue began, those are the questions the teacher, as me, asked me, as Jesus. (Confused yet?)

Teacher (as Annie)
So, I’d really like to know. What do you think? Am I doing the right thing?

Annie (as Jesus)
(Smiles) You’re on the right track. I sure do love you. I love your heart.
I know you’re trying.

Teacher (as Annie)
Well, what could I be doing better?

Annie (as Jesus)
Love. Always love more. And don’t give up, on yourself or on other people. And remember:
It’s not about you.

Teacher (as Annie)
But shouldn’t I take care of me first? I mean, if I don’t take care of me, who will?

Annie (as Jesus)
I will.

And that, right there, in the middle of being Jesus, is when I nearly lost it. Because this exercise, me having to remember what Jesus really would say, based on the words He’s given me in Scripture… it made me realize that I haven’t really been listening to what He’s been telling me.

I haven’t given Him the chance to talk to me.

When I’m having a really bad day, or when someone has really hurt my feelings, or I’ve really messed up, I pretend God comes down, sits on my couch with me, and gives me a hug. Like Jordan’s or my dad’s hugs, only one trillion times better.

My vision, though, frequently stops there. I feel comforted, my tears dry up a little, and I move on.

Now, my vision has expanded. God’s at my dinner table, and we’re talking.

And He’s telling me what to do.

Not: “Annie, you and Jordan need to move to [Boston, D.C., Thomasville, Athens, stay in Tallahassee].”

“Annie, Jordan needs a job at [law firm, legal aid, court office].”

“Annie, you need to go to [this church, that church, another church].”

“Annie, you need to fix [church issue a, person b, thing c].”

“Annie, I really need you to do [this, this, or this].”

Those things, I am fast discovering, aren’t really very important.

In fact, those things shadow what is really important. They blind me to what He really wants me to see.

(I think it happens in church, too, by the way. Because, have you ever noticed? All the things churches across the ages have chosen to argue about are the things God decided weren’t important enough to include in His Word. And He put a lot in His Word. If they’re not important to Him, why are they to me?)

So there God is at my dinner table, trying to tell me what’s important. What I really should be doing.


Feed my sheep.

Listen to my voice.

Love the people who are like you, who aren’t like you, who hate you, who love you. Love them all, and love like I love.

Take care of the widows, the orphans, and everyone in between.

Do everything — absolutely everything — to the best of your ability.

Talk to me.

Remember that you belong to me.

Ask for forgiveness.

Don’t hold a grudge.

Be holy.

Keep your mouth and thoughts pure.

See people like I see them: as little children in desperate need of a loving Father. As lost sheep in need of a shepherd.

Don’t forget: You’re not me. You can’t do what I do. So let it go.

Be a friend.

Invite people in.

Eat together.

Spend time together.

Praise me with everything that’s in you.

Come to me when you’re weak and tired.

Get some rest.

Surround yourself with love and with people who love, but don’t live in a bubble.

Tell other people about me.

Love me.

Accept grace.

Do your best to walk as I walked.


I honestly think that’s what He’d say.

Now, I just have to figure out if I’m ready to listen.


Jessica said...

"(I think it happens in church, too, by the way. Because, have you ever noticed? All the things churches across the ages have chosen to argue about are the things God decided weren’t important enough to include in His Word. And He put a lot in His Word. If they’re not important to Him, why are they to me?)"

This is going to be discussed this weekend...A LOT!!! Thank you. I love it. I needed it. I'm really glad you wrote it!

Jordan Jones said...

If a post ever made me come close to breaking down, it was this one. Good one.

Sabrina said...

Your writing style is truly lovely Annie:) This post so clearly reminds me of the growing pains of my early 20's. And let me tell you it can be painful! I even asked my friend once...why doesn't anyone ever tell you how HARD your 20's can be. Have hope my amazing friend. Think on this...When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Psalms 61:2). Always brings me peace! Also, scribbled in my Bible is a reminder that the world makes me impatient. It does not reward mistakes, and hope, and second chances. Elevate your mind higher than what you can do alone. God will meet you there.

jenna said...

I love hearing what HE has to say when I let HIM speak. I want to get to a place where my conversations with HIM are constant... you know, a prayer without ceasing. I think this is more like the type prayers/conversations HE had in mind...