Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Be A Fixer

"He laughed at me," my six year old daughter cried as she approached me from the pool. I asked what happened. "I jumped in the pool backwards, and the lifeguard said not to do it again. Then he said 'You got in trouble!' and laughed at me."

Trying to lessen the blow of the boy's words I said, "Well, who cares what he says?" She looked at me with big soulful eyes, trying not to cry and said, "I do!" I pulled her close and told her how sorry I was for his hurtful words.

I messed up. I was trying to negate the hurt she was feeling, trying to make her feel better. What she needed was for me to validate her hurt. Tell her, yes, that words do hurt and it's okay to feel pain. I messed up, but hopefully I got on the right track after she was so articulate in conveying how she felt.

I was reminded of the time when I was talking with a friend before I gave my testimony about my childhood at church. "I'm afraid I'm going to cry," I said. "I cried when I read it," was the friend's response. No assurances I wouldn't cry. No platitudes that I'd be fine or everything would be okay. Just validating me that if I cried, there was in fact reason to cry.

Jesus provides a wonderful example of validation in the story of Lazarus' death found in John 11. As Jesus and his disciples headed to Judea, He told them that Lazarus had died, and that Jesus was going to raise him from the dead. When they arrived and Jesus saw how upset Mary and the family were over Lazarus death, He didn't say, "Stop crying! I'm going to raise him from the dead." He didn't say, "Everything will be okay, wait and see!" No, the Bible tells us Jesus wept. Jesus wept! That is the picture of validating their feelings! He wept with them, even knowing that Lazarus would be raised in a moment.

Is someone telling you how upset they are today? Why not validate their feelings instead of trying to fix them? Sometimes, we don't want someone to fix us. We just want someone to listen to us, to validate us, and maybe, even, to weep with us. Be that someone, like Jesus, today.

Chatty Kelly

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Am, I Said

"I am," I cried. "I am," said I.
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still.

I Am...I Said, Neil Diamond, 1971

I am lost, and I can't even say why, leaving me lonely still. Neil Diamond's 1971 hit can describe the way life feels sometimes. We are lost. We don't know why, except that we all are sinners, lost and lonely. The song continues, "But I got an emptiness deep inside, And I've tried, but it won't let me go."

Do you have an emptiness inside? There is one who can help to fill it. "'I am' I said." I AM. Do you know who THE I AM is? When Moses was sent by God to go to the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, Moses asked whom he should say sent him. God answered, I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

"I AM," He said. So that we don't have to be lonely still.

In John 18, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus to crucify him, He asked them who they were looking for. They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus responded, "I AM he." The Bible says, "When Jesus said, "I AM he," they drew back and fell to the ground." Why do you think they fell to the ground? They came to arrest Jesus and he said he was Jesus. Why would that cause them to fall?

Have you considered that when Jesus responded, "I AM," that he was telling him that he was THE I AM. Saying He was God, which caused them to fall to the ground in fear and shock. It's something to consider. Jesus has seven self-descriptions he introduced by "I AM." In 8:58, he states, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" Notice, he didn't say, I was, but I AM!

Are you feeling lost, lonely or empty, consider the words of God. "I AM." He is the one who is, who was, and who is to come.

Musical Musings:
1. When you are down, does it make you feel better to know that God, the I AM is always there? He always is. Why or why not?
2. Jesus declared that he too was I AM. And he experienced everything we do; hurt, rejection, pain and suffering. Knowing that our God, I AM, experienced this things as incarnate man, does that make you better able to relate to him?
3. If you don't know who he is, spend some time with I AM today in prayer. Ask him to show himself to you.

Lord, you are the I AM. You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you for always being there. Fill me with your presence, so I will know you are there, even in the hard times. Help me believe you are, forever and ever. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Rock on:
Research all the times that Jesus made an "I AM" statement in the Bible. Try Biblegateway, or google it. What are the different statements and how did Jesus use them to expand on who He is as God?

Chatty Kelly