Sunday, July 27, 2008

I don't hate sin. I hate guilt.

I have been reading Jerry Bridges' book "The Discipline of Grace" and have been flipping through CJ Mahaney's devotional, "How Can I Change?" Both have been talking about the process of sanctification and how that process needs to be motivated by grace in order for us to avoid erring toward the extremes of legalism or license. As I sit here on my lunch break reflecting on life and faith, I have come to this realization:

I don't hate sin.

I hate guilt.

I am a guilty person. By that, I mean that I am a person who feels the emotion of guilt acutely and frequently. I hate sin because of the emotion it produces within me, not because it is offensive to God (which is the real reason I ought to hate it). In the section I read from Mahaney's book today, he wrote about the putting off/putting on process outlined in Colossians 3. I exert a lot of energy in the "putting off" process in an effort to get rid of the guilt I experience from indulging in the things I am trying to put off. However, I fail to replace those things with the characteristics and actions we are commanded to "put on." I focus my attention on putting off sin in the hope that when I am rid of those things, what will be left will be a Christ-like character. But those Christ-like characteristics are not just lying dormant under my sinful nature. They must be actively pursued and "put on."

This requires more than a desire to merely avoid guilt.

This requires a desire to be refined through the process of sanctification. It requires a delicate balance between being disciplined in my pursuit of God and wholly depending on the Holy Spirit to enable the work of santification to be done in me.

It requires a proper view of sin and grace.

How I long to be a Colossians 3 person! Well, I long to be a "whole Bible" person, but right now I see a clearer picture of what that means and how that happens in Colossians 3. And Romans 12.

In other news, I am having an absolutely terrible weekend at work. The frustration I am experiencing from my crappy patients and unrealistic workloads is only magnified by the fact that I just want the weekend to be over so I can get to camp.

Disclaimer: I am thankful for my job. I would even go as far as to say that I love my job. But even a job that I love and am thankful for has moments when I wonder why God couldn't have called me to be a shuttle driver. (Okay, I realize that shuttle drivers probably have those days, too. I'm just sayin'...).

My current mantra: "Just one more night....just one more night....just one more night....."

*Addendum: I just re-read Colossians 3 and realized that this might be a good opportunity for me to "put on" patience. Oh, dear Jesus, change me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T5 Things I Got REALLY Excited About This Week

5) WorldVenture officially endorsed me as a short-term missionary.
4) I found out that Park Nicollet can (and did) re-stamp the form for my yellow fever vaccine.
3) I found out that Mayo is SENDING me to the Global Missions Health Conference in Nov. This basically means that they cover all my expenses AND pay me so that I don't have to use vacation time, both of which are HUGE blessings.
2) My sister started a blog.
1) I made a SWEET costume for camp.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Star Wars Haikus

a momentous day.
watched star wars for the first time.
all three episodes.

parts of the plot weren't
surprising (spoiler alert:
darth is luke's father).

parts i did not know.
luke and leia are siblings?
they kissed. on the mouth.

my fav'rite lines: "that
malfunctioning little twerp."
i'll start using that.

and, "you will never
find a more wretched hive of
scum and villany."

fav'rite scene: luke on
the dunes gazing at the moons
with his windswept hair.

so ridiculous.
the other best part was when
R2D2 swore.

i also liked when
yoda "beat" R2 with a
stick. oh man. so funny.

it wasn't all good.
some parts made me shake my fist.
"i love you." "i know."

cowardice, pessimism,
and a doomsdayer.

i felt my heart melt
every time that i heard the
wookiee's mournful cry.

the dark side: quicker,
easier, more seductive.
how those words ring true!

han has poor grammar.
"fly casual" is wrong. it's
"fly casually"

i had a good laugh
when han copped a feel.
what?!?! i mean....really?!?!?

the sword fights were lame.
the ewok war was awesome.
s'pose it evens out.

i thought luke killed darth.
turns out the ending was more
redemptive than that.

SOOO glad I watched it.
i had a bad feeling but
enjoy it, I did.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not One of My Prouder Moments

A story: I woke up around 1:00 this afternoon and had to go to the bathroom. I didn't want to get up because I was already having trouble staying asleep and I didn't want to arouse myself even more. I was wearing my little eye shades that I wear after night shifts to darken the brilliant glow of the sun through my bedroom window and in a moment of sheer genius I decided that I could probably leave my mask on and find my way to the bathroom by instinct. The point of this crazy maneuver was to convince my mind that it was not yet time to wake up by leaving it in its blissfully dark world. By the time I finally decided to get up, I REALLY had to go. I shot out of bed in a blind rush, stumbled around the end of my bed without too much difficulty and then...BAM!...I walked headlong into my dresser with so much force that I nearly laid myself out over the top of it. I stubbed all five toes, bumped my knee and gave myself a nice little bruise on my lower thigh from hitting the dresser handle. Not only did it hurt, but I was now FULLY awake. More than anything I was just mad at myself for following through on such an idiotic idea.

Moral of the story: If you are complaining about your arm hurting from getting three vaccinations, try walking into a dresser. Your arm won't stop hurting, but it will at least put things into perspective.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Preach the Word AND Make Me Laugh...Does It Get Any Better Than That?

I am trying to catch up on the past few months of sermons at two different churches (Bethlehem Baptist and Sovereign Grace Fellowship) so I have adopted the new practice of listening to the podcasts while I run and burning CDs for some of my longer road trips. Not only are these great preachers of the Word who challenge and encourage me in ways that I find difficult to express in words, there are also times when they say something that strikes me so funny I laugh outloud.

Favorite line from Piper this week: "No matter how you are feeling, you can find yourself in the Psalms. Let me give you 24 examples..."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

T7 Things I Learned At My 2.5 Hour Travel Clinic Appt This Morning

7) Traveling to Africa is more complicated than traveling to Central or South America.
6) Traveling alone is more complicated than traveling with a group.
5) At the moment of administration, I would rather get a shot than give one (or three). However, two hours later when I am trying to fall asleep on my right side and my arm hurts too much to lay on it, I realize the benefit of being on the other side of the needle.
4) The travel clinic doc has only seen me once before, but she remembered more about me than my primary physician who I just saw last week for the second time in less than six months. I like docs who remember things about me.
3) I am a pack rat. Months (years?) ago, in an attempt to NOT be a pack rat, I consolidated my travel vaccination forms and threw one away. Turns out I threw away the one with my official yellow fever stamp which is required by law to enter certain countries, including Cote d'Ivoire. Dang. BIG dang. It was a good reminder why I am a pack rat in the first place.
2) I find the risk of getting malaria only slightly more disturbing than the risk of having a "severe neuropsychotic breakdown" as a side effect of my anti-malaria meds. But malaria IS still slightly more disturbing, so....I will take the pills.
1) When I receive a 32-page pack of papers going over the physical risks and dangers present in the area I am traveling to and the travel clinic doc gives me a concerned look and asks if it is "absolutely necessary" for me to travel to this particular region, it takes a conscious act of trust and faith to remind myself that I feel called to this trip and am going as an act of obedience.

Monday, July 14, 2008

For Laura

In response to the "comment conversation" with lh from my last post, I feel compelled to write a post about the weekend. I have had a wide range of topics on my mind over the last 5 days, both "good" and "difficult" things, and overall felt like it was a very internally productive time for me. But instead of hashing all of that out here, I will simply share the two recurring statements that dominated my thoughts:

1) MAN, I love these people!, and
2) Thank you, Jesus.

Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.