She Got It… March 26, 2012

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It nearly took my breath away.

Yesterday a woman came up to my book table, having carefully waited for a personal moment. With tears in her eyes, she said, “When you shared the messageNoOne is better than anyone else–I realized that I thought I was better than people at work. It really touched me, opened my eyes and made me realize that I’m not–and that this attitude is my problem.”

It was  a marvelous, miraculous moment–similar to Jesus walking on the water, the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. What I was seeing was the birth of faith. I was looking into the eyes of the woman with the issue of blood, who realized that touching the hem of Jesus’ garment might be her last opportunity for restoration. I just sat quietly and listened to her, afraid to breathe, afraid that one little eyelash lifted on my face would steal the moment of spiritual purity. She didn’t stay long; she was there and she was gone.

Shortly after this encounter, I overheard another woman leaving the sanctuary, speaking to the pastor.  In sullen tones she said, “Well, it was different.”

Of course, you and I know that in our society, the word “different” is synonymous with the word “crap.” Now, here was a woman who sat through the message and refused to let it in because it was out of the bounds she was accustomed to.

Beautiful.

As it should be. For I don’t need everybody to come out of my presentations convinced I’m cute or even viable. It just won’t happen. But my dear friends, when you encounter faith–the power of it–you understand why God accepts it as the measure of pleasing Him. Here are the four steps to faith–and this is what that dear woman who confessed at my table achieved to receive the cleaning in her heart that washed her eyes with tears and freed her mind from confusion:

1. She heard the message. The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing.” And Jesus admonished, “He who has an ear, let him hear.” When we set too many restrictions on what is acceptable, we close the door for God ever speaking to us. The message will never come with the voice we expect. The message will never resound with our familiar liturgy. The message will never be ushered in by ritual or repetition. It is always fresh–to the point of being alarming–and if you are not open to it your ears will be closed and your soul will suffer from malnutrition. She heard the message. It may have been bizarre to her eyes and unfamiliar to her taste. But the words were salvation to her heart.

2. She believed the message. What makes something believable? When we allow our heart, which has heard the message, to be softened by understanding instead of being hardened by trepidation. It is so much easier to believe when you remove the obstacles from the process. What are the obstacles?

  • “I never heard it that way.”
  • “I don’t understand.”
  • “It’s not my style.”
  • “He doesn’t look the part.”
  • “I’m uncomfortable with the implications.”

All of that vanished because her ears heard and her heart understood. so the process found root in her soul.

3. She applied the message. Nothing spiritual ever occurs until we OWN it. Verses of scripture and scraps of inspiration have absolutely no value until we prescribe to them and allow the medication to heal our wounds. This lady did not walk to my table and tell me how powerful she thought the message was for others. Often I will get that. People will say that “NoOne is better than anyone else” is needed in the church and for me to keep up the good work. This woman stepped out of the “Amen” crowd and into the solitude of  “I am.”  Somewhere along the line, truth has to be our provision–even if no one else hears. She absorbed the impact and allowed the magnitude for change. Which allowed for the fourth and final step in the process of faith:

4. She IS the message. Just as “the word became flesh and dwelt among us” when Jesus was incarnate on earth, the only confirmation we ever have that true spirituality is at work is when people embody the concepts through their actions and lives. She became the message. She took words and was determined to cause them to become flesh through her efforts.

You can continue to extol the notion that some passages of holy writ exist as divinely inspired without human application, but what you will have is a form of godliness which really denies the power of it. She IS the message. From this point on, the words, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” will be extolled by her actions.

I left the church yesterday exhilarated by the experience of eyeballing the process of faith through the life of another human being. Facts are, I love both women. I love the woman who came showing that she had heard the message, believed the message, applied the message and is the message.

I also love the woman who left, desiring to return next week to a more customary fare. The difference lies in the progress of their journeys. Because faith is measured out by the fruit that is born through human lives. 

And until we allow ourselves to hear, believe, apply and become, we will be creatures of repetition instead of dynamic forces … through repentance.

**************

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http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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