Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Be As You Are?

There is a car in our parking lot here at work which has a bumper sticker that says "Be As You Are". The first time I saw it, I laughed out of incredulity. My first thought was...what if you're an *******? (Sorry, just being honest) Some people just are just not nice.

Anyway, a song just came on Pandora by some artist with the first name Ingrid and an album entitled "Be OK", and I had the same incredulous response. Seriously? Is that all there is to it? Do these people really think that if we just act as we feel, or will ourselves to be okay, everything is going to be okay? Really? No wonder Obama is President.

I'm reminded of a comment from Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp when he was being confronted by the Earp women. One of them wanted to know if the wives ever counted more than the brothers when it came to making decisions and his answer was:

"No, Bessie, you don't.
Wives come and go,
that's the plain truth of it. They run off.
They die."

I know the wives certainly didn't appreciate the answer, and there's a bit in the Bible which discusses cleaving to your spouse which makes his answer less than Biblical, but nonetheless, the man was on to something when he talked about the strength and importance of family.

People die. Pets die. Money is lost and stolen. Cars get wrecked. Limbs get broken. The cable goes out. People serve you Miracle Whip when you ask for mayonnaise.

I hate to cite a colloquialism which contains more profanity, but "you know what" happens. And it happens all the time. It never ends. Sometimes it's like an avalanche and sometimes it's a rip tide.

What do you depend on when it happens? Who do you turn to? Where do you run?

I'll tell you one thing, "being as you are" isn't going to help.

Willing it all to "be okay" isn't going to get you anywhere either.

The truth is that this life is FULL OF PAIN.

Death is inevitable, and the older you get, the more loved ones you have to miss, and we start missing some way too early.

You can be as you are as much as you want to, but every person has a limit, and when that avalanche hits or the rip tide pulls you under and you can't manage to find a way to get a breath....being as you are is going to mean you are going to be pretty miserable.

Willing yourself to be OK? Please. There comes a time in every man's life when they simply run out of will. Biting into a burger and expecting mayo but getting Miracle Whip will do that to a person.

I'll tell you what. Next time you go through some tragedy, give me a call and I'll tell you to "Be as you are!", or maybe just to "Be OK". See how that works out.

What bugs me most is that the "Be OK" people consider themselves enlightened and consider that believing in Jesus Christ as the Risen Savior is believing in something archaic and outdated. It disturbs me that the "Be As You Are" crowd think that Christians are simple minded.

Here's the thing. I've lived through the blizzards. I've been sucked under by the rip tides. And unlike the picture which the "Be As You Are" crowd espouses about simple-minded Christians, I didn't gleefully chalk it up to "God's will" and walk around with a smile on my face.

I've cried rivers of tears. I've been so empty inside, so broken, so downright all done, that I've asked God to either return or just allow me to die. I've shaken my fist at him in anger on more than one occasion.

And today, I love Him so much. And more importantly, I KNOW that He loves me.

I am thankful, yes, thankful for all of it, and even more, I can see how each and every valley has shaped my life and made me a better person.

So when the "Be As You Are" crowd says I am filled with hate because I think homosexuality is a sin, I attribute it to principle.

When they label my opposition to abortion "religious foolishness", I know that it is based in love for the gift of life.

And when they tell me I am behind the times because we home-school, and the girls aren't allowed to date, and I have a curfew for my sister who is in her early 20's, I know that I am protecting my family.

How can being principled, loving life and providing and protecting my family make me a bad person?

The unfortunate thing is that they're so sure they're right that they won't even discuss it.

So keep on "being as you are" and "willing yourself to be okay" if that's your gig. And keep on thinking you're enlightened because you're not "saddled" with the burden of religion. And when the next blizzard comes and you're blown over by the storm, you'll have some really catchy and well intended phrases to rely upon to get you through it.

But in the middle of a storm, a positive outlook is going to leave you flat on your face. There is no philosophy, no person, no mantra that can even begin to compare to having a personal relationship with God, KNOWING that He loves you, and that He is control of everything.

He loves us and He is in control of everything. That is the only concrete thing you can ever rely upon to get you through.

I often wonder how people can get through the valleys NOT knowing that. And you know what? It's my experience that most never get through whole.

Our world is full of people with excuses for what happened to make them the way they are, and excuses for why they have an exemption from some of the most basic standards of human behavior, and now even those with reasons why there are no basic standards. Without fail, all of those excuses are rooted in a valley or a storm.

In contrast, genuine Christians will tell you how the valleys and storms they endured made them stronger and better people. They will witness to you how God worked through their weakness and their pain to bring them peace and joy.

They will testify that there is a God, and that they have a personal relationship with Him. There are millions of people alive right now that can do that, and there have been countless others who could have throughout the history of time.

Discounting all of that evidence and eye-witness testimony, that's foolish.

If you don't believe as I believe but you're interested in open and genuine two-way discussion, send me an email and I'll share my testimony.

Not my story. My testimony.

It's fact.


Just a lass hiking with Jesus said...

AMEN!!!! YOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT!!! Been there too.

Anonymous said...

I guess this isn't the life time that you will become enlighted, but keep trying. You will get there. Have faith!