Reality. Its just what people need to see. Does that girl standing by herself even know what its like to feel perfect, unchanging love? Does she know she doesn’t have to be faultless to meet some unreal standard, even from people she adores? Does she know loving God and living life is actually an amazingly happy experience of freedom and peace, not a matching set of cruel judgment and rules?
Sometimes, my heart throbs with that anthem on behalf of others. Real life in Christ is so holy…yet unabashedly fun. How do people skip the combo? The forward to a favorite book entitled The Christian’s Secret to A Happy Life from 1883, starts with an anecdote from a “keen observer.” He says, “You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek very earnestly for something so uncomfortable.” So I ask you, why miss out when you have it all?
My phone rang and rattled in the cup holder as I drove down a winding road along the waterfront. I saw the name of a dear young girl across my screen and decided to pull over to take it. I steered into a turnout, usually packed with local fisherman: but the sun was so hot this particular morning, that I found myself alone.
“Hello Sweetheart! What’s up?” I answered.
Yells of anger and desperation flooded from the receiver. Surprised, I jerked the phone back from my ear and waited for the torrent to let up a little. The girl’s mother was the tortured voice pouring out the anguish of “bigger issues” onto me with blame from a heart of obvious misery. I took a deep breathe and verbally juggled my own sudden emotions with hers, searching for some sort of comprehension of what was tearing her apart and what I could have possibly done to make it apply to me. She hung up on me after only a few minutes of accusatory, divisive rage.
I sat there for another 45 minutes, at least. Yes, I had a full schedule, but now I had an overflowing heart, too. I prayed, I called my parents, and I just felt plain old sad. The dear friend called back after several hours passed and apologized profusely, taking back her vindictive accusations. Yet, I still lived on in wonder and tearful self-examination. “What’s going on? I just want to love people and be in love with You!” I begged the Lord.
What’s the connection to the topic of happy reality, you ask? That’s just it. “Bigger issues” aside, whatever they might have been for the poor mommy, her standard of perfection pressed upon others is made by herself from what she has heard is “good.” God has a different standard than ours and sometimes…we are so blinded by self-righteousness or stuff good people say that we block out His glittering glory of mercy, grace, freedom, joy, peace, and downright truth for what it actually is. And God is lost in our image of who we have created in our own imagination. No wonder people live like they have a headache…
I would never in my entire life cross a parent’s boundaries for their own child. But at the same time, I find in myself a need to abide by a standard so much higher in a different way than apparently can be comprehended by those blinded by their own opinion. God makes demands upon me to live for Him, without any fake layer of perfection. He has asked me to yield to Him to change me day by day, but also to be real about my thoughts, my attitudes, my emotions, and trust Him with how others take it. Meanwhile, I cannot be tossed around by mere good people’s opinions and perspectives…and neither should they. What does God have to say? And how does He want your life to look lived before Him…and the entire watching world? I cannot live for you, regardless of how much I love you.