Tonight at church we took communion. We acknowledged and celebrated, again, that Jesus become human and that He died for us. We lamented our sins and celebrated our forgiveness. We acknowledged our old life and celebrated our path toward righteousness. In the time of preparation I prayed about a couple different things. I started to talk through with God this ugly thing of lust and how it seems kind of unavoidable. I talked through with Him again why lust is something He does not have for me (or for you) and why it’s not the very best plan for my life to look at a man like he’s an object. I started to process what this actually means in watching TV shows that feature hunky dudes and where that objectification begins and why stopping at any point in the process is better than nothing. It’s something I hope to continue to process and think about and grow in. Humans, even the hunky ones, are not meant for objectification.
I also prayed about my words and how they can be mean. I prayed about patience and chilling out and seeking other people’s best. I asked for forgiveness for specific times I’ve failed and asked for help in doing better next time. Finally, I prayed, “God, take all the stuff in me that is not like You and start getting it out of me. Suck it out like the poison sin is.” And then an image popped into my head.
This past week I read a book called The Testing. It’s pretty much a watered down version of The Hunger Games and I’m planning a book review blog post later this week so I won’t get into it now but there’s one scene in the book when Cia realizes her arm wound is infected. She knows that her best bet is to get the infection out of there so it can stop festering. So she rips into her scabs and squeezes the infection out. It’s a pretty gross scene and I certainly didn’t linger on it (there were mentioned puss and blood and unnamed bodily fluids), but it popped into my mind tonight as I was praying.
My problem (well, one of my problems) is that I have years of images in my mind that I can’t get rid of. My problem is that I really like TV and movies and so many of them feature sex scenes. My problem is that these scenes have seeped into my head and my heart like an infection. My problem is that I have allowed the untrue belief that I am better than other people to seep into my head and my heart like an infection. My problem is that even though I am a Beloved Daughter of King Jesus I am living with an infection. I need to rip into the scabs and squeeze the infection out. A process which is both messy and painful.
A few weeks ago on my last Sunday in Michigan a group called Master’s Promise came and sang at my home church. They were very talented and very adorable. And at one point one of the girls, Rachel, was basically preaching and I LOVED seeing a 19 year-old girl up on that Baptist stage bringing the Word. It was awesome. One song they sang has really stuck with me. I don’t remember any of the words except these: If it takes a valley, a valley’s what I’ll take. The heart of the song was that whatever it takes to look more like Jesus, I’ll do it. Even if that means tests and trials and tribulations and all those other churchy words we use to mean crappy, sucky times.
Even when ripping open a scab and squeezing out an infection from a sore and tender wound is going to hurt like crazy, I want to do whatever I need to do to be more like Jesus. Because I believe that God’s plan for my life is the very best plan that could ever be. If it takes messy and painful self-exploration, then that’s what I’ll take.