Archive for January, 2012

Afraid to say it.
January 9, 2012

Button those buttons… pull your skirt down… wipe some of that lipstick off… you look desperate.
Don’t say that… don’t sit like that… don’t stare like that… you look desperate.

Don’t cry like that… don’t pray like that… don’t scream like that… you look desperate.

Desperate.
So taboo, eh?  So much judgement wrapped up in one little word.

We want to be confident… self sufficient… strong… not weak, or needy, or anything but okay.

But what if it was the extended belly of a baby desperate for food? Or a single mom desperate for a job? Or a widow desperate for a hand in hers?
Then the desperation might seem a little more, a lot more, forgivable… even understandable.  Wouldn’t it?

But what if you caught me shaking the vending maching with it’s steel claws still latched to my box of Raisinets with the same desperation that a lifeguard shakes a drowning victim who won’t respond?
How sad it’d be if I couldn’t gauge my desperation for a want over the desperation for a need.

Last week a new friend and I discussed religion, our backgrounds, our simple ideas of faith and what it should look like… and he said to me “My girlfriend & I have had a hard time finding a church.  All we are looking for is one that fits our lifestyle and doesn’t make us feel guilty.”

Gulp.

Someone finally said it.

I didn’t know whether to giggle or raise my palm for a high-five or feel kinda (or more than kinda) bad for him.
I mean, I’d never say it, buuuttttt… maybe we want Jesus to be a little more cool.  a little easier. a little more us.

 

 
I sure would like a church that met when I wanted, with the people I liked, in a restored historical building close to my house, a thriving singles ministry where no one was homeschooled, or wore khaki, or had bad haircuts… where they congregation was comfortable swearing over beers after worship and the kids weren’t annoying. 
I’d like a church that let me teach even though my ordination came from the internet… and I’m a girl.  I’d like the guys to be Godlier… more intentional… better leaders.  I’d also like them to be a hell of a lot better about pursuing women, namely me.
I’d like swells of emotional music that made me cry every week and sermons peppered with jokes as well as real life application, using verses from the NKJV in my hands as well as passages from The Message that I sometimes like better.
I’d like a church that made gay people feel welcome and men who cheat on their wives like the scum of the earth.  I’d like a church that didn’t keep tabs on me, but missed me when I wasn’t there.  I’d like a church that helped me get closer to the God I wish God was and not give me more information about a God I’m not sure exists. 

But, I mean, I’d never say that.

I’ve been bouncing around a bit the last six months.  After four years at the church-of-my-dreams, missing only for family vacations and the swine flu, we broke up for a little while.

The weight of obligation was motivating my attendance to services and small group and worship practice more than the joy of truth & growth & Jesus Himself.
So, I flipped a fat switch and stepped back.  I hurt some feelings along the way and got mine hurt too.  A lot of tears shed & a dozen sighs of relief breathed. 
I wasn’t quitting church or quitting God, I was just giving up on feeling guilty all the time for what I wasn’t feeling.

So I tried the Presbyterian church with the stained glass and the hipsters, I fellowshipped at the megachurch with the vneck-clad, blonde-highlighted, ear-pierced worship leader, I even spent a few months at a well-oiled-machine with alliterated ministries and outreaches by the handful… and an orchestra pit.
Nothing fit.

I itched.  I wriggled. I spent a lot of time on my iPhone.

I bet if I would’ve listened to the liturgy of those hipsters, or ignored the Sun-In and listened to the Son, or stopped scanning the theatre style seating for the boys without rings on their left hands, I might have satiated a desperation for the God-hole in my heart to be filled.

But unfortunately, while tapping the toes of my bedazzled suede booties, or leopard-printed calf hair heels, or ensuring that my curls had the right bounce, my lips had the right sheen, my Bible had the right creases, and my left hand had no rings to mislead… I missed my desperation for a need because my desperation for my wants was too loud.

My desperation to get a husband, to get a church that fits, to find a faith that makes me feel good…
…as opposed to the faith that more-often-than-not makes me feel not good at all.

If I took the desperation of my wants and stripped them down, I would find the desperation of needs…
I am desperate to be known.  I am desperate to love.  I am desperate to be loved.  I am desperate to know my God.  I am desperate for an engrossing intimacy in my soul that rivals any longing for touch my skin has ever ached for.  I am desperate to be heard, and understood… and to hear, and understand.

And just like that, I’m not squinting with hateful eyes at the me that wants what she doesn’t have, judging and scoffing and growing impatient as I tell her for the millionth time to button up… but I’m kneeling down to match the eyes of a really empty girl I know all too well that’s desperate to be fed, to grow, to be found.

Where are you itching and wriggling and how do you keep yourself distracted? Who are you attracting and who are you running after? When do we find ourselves turning up hopeful smiles to avoid questions about our irremediable insides? 

What is it about that word… ?  Why can’t we admit it?

Hi.  I’m Kate, … and I’m desperate.

 

***

“She limps on up to the top of a mount,
looks at the faltered harvest,
feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose,
and the knowing in her guts…
Something’s still gonna grow
She ain’t leaving ’till it does.”
Brooke Fraser

 

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