Jul 19, 2014

: choosing Gregory House over Jesus

Sometimes I’d rather watch House on Netflix than spend time with God.

There, I said it.

It’s not that I love Gregory House more than Jesus, it’s just that it’s easier to watch House solve fictional medical crises on my computer screen than it is to let God heal my non-fictional self.

To make things stranger, nothing bad is happening. In fact, almost everything in my life is good right now. Maybe too good, too much, too fast. For the last month I’ve watched favor fall like quail from the sky (Exodus 16, real story), three feet deep, and I don’t know what to do with it all so I hide in my room and watch House. Sometimes I hide in silence with a bottle of cider and ginger tea bags on my face because I heard they make zits disappear. But I never get zits unless I’m stressed, which only happens when I’m avoiding the Lord.

It’s a vicious cycle, really.

My therapist and I talk a lot about my inability to be delighted in. If you gave me a present right now, for example, I’d think of ten things I need to give back to you in order to relieve any sense of guilt I’d have for receiving your present in the first place. All of this is rooted in an overwhelming amount of self-centeredness and pride, though, because I’ve convinced myself that out of the seven billion people on planet earth, I, Savannah Ellis, am the only one who should not be delighted in.

And in some sense, I’m right. None of us are delightful apart from the cross.

However, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, the Father has called me worthy of delight, love, and acceptance. He has given me the right to sit at his table (Revelation 3). To continue living as a rejected orphan when the all-powerful Father has called me by name is foolish. To continue avoiding his presence when it is the very thing I was designed for is absurd. To settle for Netflix when the King of glory waits for me to fix my attention on him is laughable.

Today, I will wait for him. Not because it is easier, but because he is worth it.
Today, I will choose Jesus over Gregory House.
Sounds hilarious, doesn't it?

Jul 13, 2014

: living on the outskirts of grace

Jesus isn't the first person I run to when I'm confused, ashamed, guilty or sad. I try out movies, spontaneous road trips, dinner with friends, and music about Jesus, but not Jesus himself. I'm always afraid he'll tell me to do something I don't like because he's often told me to do things I don't like. I didn't like giving up my scholarship to graduate school on the off chance of getting a job in Brooklyn, for example, because I wanted to be the smart girl who had a Master's degree and an impressive knowledge of theology at such a young age. I didn't want to come out about my history of sexual abuse, pornography addiction, and virgin lips on the internet because girls aren't supposed to have dealt with that sort of thing and I wanted to be a Super Christian. I still don't like repenting, asking for forgiveness, and depending on him for money, guidance, and support, but there's a rip current in my heart that always brings be back to trusting and obeying him.

He's the safest person to come to, yet he's the person I avoid the most.

I think it's because I don't trust that he'll love me unless I do everything I can to make it easier for him. One of these days, something in me believes he's bound to get fed up with all my foolishness and throw me to the wolves. It's like I'm living on the edge of potential destruction, walking on eggshells to make it simpler for him to guide, protect, and delight in me. And when I mess up, my instinct is to run away and buy into the lie that if I feel guilty enough my sin won't matter as much and his wrath will be alleviated.

I am living on the outskirts of grace. I dabble my toes in the shallow end of the pool even though there are oceans of it available to me. Getting in the water means letting go of control and giving myself over to the tide, though. It means binding myself to a God whose purposes supersede my own. It means trusting and obeying and choosing him first.

I don't know if I'll ever be the type to dance my way through a parted sea, but I am trying to take steps in that direction. I am moving forward. Learning to run after him. Learning to lean into his promises. Learning to trust his character. Learning to obey his voice, even when it tells me to go in this direction (then that direction and every other direction in between).

I guess I'm learning to love him when I don't feel like it. And I don't feel like it much of the time, but his rip current is rumbling under my feet, beckoning me to deeper waters. So, with fear-mingled anticipation, I am choosing to move from the outskirts to the overflow of his grace.

You can come, too, even if you're afraid.
I'm so afraid I cry pretty much every day, even during the funny parts.
But move forward we must, and more forward we will.