It just hit me. I am not cool. I never was. And, the worst part--- I don’t really care.
In fact, I am tired. Tired of trying to keep up with the latest trends. I am tired of trying to figure out what makes people tick, especially in those deep parts that are so hard to get to. Tired of why people Do or Do Not want to go to church—what type of music they want to hear in worship or what sermon style will really get their attention. When did simply being present with God, raising our hearts and hands in praise, and hearing His Word as honestly and straightforward cease to be enough?
Yes, truth be told, I just want to spend more time with Jesus.
Don’t miss hear me. I love people. In fact, my heart probably aches even more today for other people and their situations than ever before in my life. Maybe… finally… my mercy gift has kicked in. But, what I don’t love is the whining and the self-centeredness. I don’t love the easily offended attitudes that causes folks to not just forgo the benefit of the doubt but to jump straight to accusation and critique.
No, I really need some more time with Jesus.
Like my mentor promised me-- The older I get the less serious I take myself. I awoke one day to discover that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. In fact, it makes me laugh every time I think of seven steps or eight principles or nine points of anything. Now, I wander, first, back to the gospels, sitting there a while asking what Jesus would do. Usually, it is there, at that moment, when I find something worth saying.
It is good to spend more time with Jesus.
Maybe I finally get it—finally grasp what my mother and others tried to tell me all those years: “wisdom comes first from ‘shutting up’ and being quiet.” I find myself quiet-- a lot-- lately. I may be getting very wise, though I fear it is, like Peter after the Resurrection, I am just tired of pretending that I have everything together.
I only seem to truly feel that way when I have spent more time with Jesus.
If all or any this doesn’t make any sense, please forgive me. Or at least please be patient. Even after all these years, I am still a work in progress.
I am just learning what it really means to spend more time with Jesus.
Of course, It is hard to be patient, or to love (or even like), or trust people when we try to muster those emotions alone. And, I can only imagine what it is like to love (or like) someone like me based only on my gentle personality and classic wit (those were jokesJ)—neither of which, and this is a confession, never really show up at the best moments.
I learned that unfortunate truth while spending more time with Jesus.
So where am I? Well, I ache a lot more than I used to. My body is not like it was when I could say “I was fine” and somehow convince others that I was. And, yet, my body aches have nothing on how my heart aches, especially for the time I have wasted over the years. I grieve now when I remember trying to provide all the things that a good father provides but not slowing down enough to actually be a good father. I grieve for not taking more time to listen to my mother. Sitting by my grandmother and just holding her hand. Or, simply looking up into sunny skies and feeling the touch of a Creator’s joy on a beautiful day.
I try to make up for the wasted time, but ‘make up time’ always comes with an emotional ‘aftertaste’ reminding us of how sweet it could have tasted the first time around. So, I spend a lot of time telling younger people than me to learn quicker and act urgently so they do not find these same patches of regret—all the while they keep asking the same questions that I asked that fuel the ambitions of their world.
And, in the end, all I can do is pray that they will slow down and spend more time with Jesus.
But, we all should be fed up with handing the Adversary so much of our guilt from how we should have done better. As Bonhoefffer alluded-- The weight of missed opportunity can only be reduced by allowing someone to take it from us, AND THEN deciding to stop picking it up again ourselves.
I find strength for that by spending more time with Jesus.
No, like my favorite quote from the movie Tombstone when Wyatt Earp turns to the meddling, just after the nick of time sheriff who finally finds his voice to ‘enforce the law’ says, “No, I don’t think I will let you arrest me today”. I look at the Adversary, exhale, and repeat the same words—‘Satan, you don’t get this one’.
No, I have better things to do than worry about Satan, I plan to spend time with Jesus.
So, I am going to put down my guilt and shame, and stop the whining about all that I should have been. I am going to give each other, including myself, more of the benefit of the doubt, and try to see all of us through the lens of Jesus… from a Cross… who still cried out, ‘Father, forgive them’. I am going to be honest about my aches, BUT ALSO MY JOYS. And, best of all, I plan do the best I can in whatever I am asked to do—for that it is all I can do anyway. God says the Holy Spirit has the rest. I either live like I believe him or not. And, guess what? All of that will be more than enough today. And, surprisingly (or not), I am enough today. Know why? You guessed it…
Because I just spent a little more time with Jesus.
Be Salt and Light... You Matter!
Shane Stanford is a pastor, teacher and author committed to sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with the world.