Friday, March 15, 2013

Walk with Dogs: Sin and Repentance

It was time to take the dogs on their daily constitutional. My mind ruminated on sin and repentance.



We stepped outside into the cool spring air and I shivered. The word sin conjured up images of absolute:
Bad
God's Angry
Black
Never able to connect with God
Alone

Setting aside my assumptions of the word, I tackle is the ugly word: Sin. I thought about the Hebrew and Greek Lexicons' definitions. "Sin" at it's core, simply means: miss the way, go wrong, to err, be mistaken, (and my favorite) miss the mark or target. None of those crushing words on my list were anywhere.

Could the idea be simply, I miss God's fullness when I choose for myself?  If I chose a candy bar for lunch instead of a salad, I am missing the target of health. If I speak an unkind word about someone when hurt instead of praying for them, I missed the aim of relationship.

The topic of Sin cannot exist in a Christian discussion without its confusing counterbalance: Repentance.

I bent over to pick up after the dogs and a vision of tears, grand words of regret and prostration at the front of the church came to mind. All of it theatrical and overwhelming. But is that really Repentance? Is it simply a show of sorrow? I reminded myself of  the Hebrew and Greek again.  The beautiful simplicity of regret, turn back, change one's mind for the better.

I pondered over what happens when I reconsider an action. I admit the mistake to a loving God and focus on the lesson. I assess the damage and become willing to amend it. Sometimes with words, but more often an authentic change only happens through my actions. It can be as simple as a candy bar for lunch or an unkind word to a friend. Unfortunately the action can be bigger with catastrophic consequences. The point is-big or small- what am I willing to admit? What am I going to change?  The best companion we have for this process is Holy Spirit, the Ever Present help in time of trouble.

Recovering from an eating disorder for 21 years has been a long journey. Often I recognized my off-target eating and shift my view of it. Recovery gained traction as I accepted Holy Spirit's help to implement change over what I was powerless to do myself. The practice of Grace, in both Hebrew and Greek, is accepting the loving partnership between my Higher Power and myself. God will provide a way for it to work out if I do the footwork. True change can happen with this Divine help. Sin and Repentance need no longer be extreme or alienating words. They can become a freeing daily practice that creates a tangible life of Grace, a result above and beyond what I could do for myself.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Walk with Dogs-Jesus is Everything

As I walked the dogs for their morning constitution I pondered an often used cliche, "Jesus Is My Everything."


A cynical giggle started the conversation. Holy Spirit was quick to ask why I was laughing. Thoughts stopped for a moment and I listened to the challenge: what does that mean?

The Sunday School Jesus was not my everything. He didn't remove me from harmful situations. He didn't change people around me. Life was like Alice's Wonderland and that Sunday School Jesus didn't fit there.

I paused as the dogs to made their deposit. It occurred to me; as I grew up in Wonderland, Sunday School Jesus became an elusive and magical character. In my teens I discovered a Real Jesus who became my companion. I struggled to let go of Sunday School Jesus and be open to this Real Jesus.

Over the years I discovered that I have access to an unconditionally loving Father. This Divine Caregiver knows my every need and provides for it perfectly. He never leaves or forgets me. He looks upon me as a work of art, pleasant and valuable.

Through this Real Jesus I discovered a Holy Spirit. An Ever Present Help that is unconditionally nurturing and affirming. A Voice who whispers words of bravery to my heart. A Teacher who challenges and patiently instructs me in the ways of constructive living. The Spirit grants strength as I walk away from destructive methods of coping. A constant Presence of regenerating companionship gives me a reason to live with a purpose to fulfill.

As I bent over to pick up what the dogs left behind I realized. Jesus voluntarily took the burden of my wrongs and grants me new life. I longer need to feel alone and lost. This miracle of the Cross and Resurrection creates a way for me to boldly come to a place of acceptance. I have light for understanding and decisions. This light grants me the strength to carry out those actions. Finally I realized the burden of the result is not mine. I don't have to MAKE something work out. I can rest in this Everything Jesus to take care of what I cannot control.

I giggled with delight as we finished the mile walk. As cliche as it sounded, the truth took root: Jesus is my Everything.