By: Jana Greene
Somebody I love with all my heart asked me yesterday to “please stop sneaking Jesus in.”
Honestly, I though it was a pretty covert move when I collected all of my back issues of ‘Relevant’ and presented them to her – because she likes magazines.
I’m not trying to force anything on her, I just know this magical secret about the radical love of a real God, and I like to share about it. It’s kind of a big deal. I’d be a pretty crappy friend if I was in on this literal opportunity of a LIFE time, and forgot to mention it to you.
What I’m ‘selling’ cannot be forced.
I am so proud of this friend, who is currently getting sober. I have been praying for her for years. I knew her situation could have gone a couple of ways, getting sober being the optimal choice.
She has been clean a whole month now, Glory to God.
...Glory to a God she has decided that she can’t quite figure out, and isn’t anxious to know more about right now.
I have tried weaving meaningful Bible verses into our casual conversation multiple times and GUESS WHAT!? They went over like a bunch of lead balloons because she has (like most of us) been hurt by the church proper, and frankly, she isn’t sure she NEEDS a higher power yet.
Each time I would say, “The Bible says…” she COMPLETELY checked out of the conversation. Even though I am trying to ENCOURAGE her with it.
“Can you just please stop mentioning the Bible?” She finally asked.
“No. I cannot promise you that I won’t mention the Bible.”
And I didn’t promise, because there is a lot of really good stuff in there, all centered on The Word – in the person of Jesus Christ.
You see, she thinks she knows what it says already, and like most of us, grew up learning all the things God supposedly hates, and the various methods of bringing down the hammer for those smite-worthy creatures who test Him. I have been dodging that hammer most of my life!
Nothing she has been taught was presented in context. The Old Testament and New were just divisions in a book, much like parts of Moby Dick or Anne of Green Gables might be.
(Honestly, the New Covenant is something I’m just NOW learning about in a grace-based seminary program, and it is the most delicious and liberating nugget of wisdom in the history of EVER. It’s so easy, y’all. Accept and receive, and enjoy!)
I told her to consider her new recovery as an opportunity for bad-assery – the Super Hero kind, not the shallow tin-type Hollywood version. I cannot think of a more bad-ass thing to do than getting / staying sober. Behind every super hero worth his spandex, there is a force behind him.
You can’t usher The Force around in an old bed sheet, holding it by the hand and pretending it isn’t standing there.
And it was that odd visual – (Jesus’s sandal-ed feet peeking out from an old bed sheet like Charlie Brown in his ghost costume and my nagging Him to make sure the eye holes are properly centered) that gave me pause, and – as often happens – made me laugh. The God of the Universe schlepping around in a hole-y (HOLY? Get it?) sheet, incognito.
God wearing a bed sheet, and my shushing him to walk quietly behind me, being super stealthy. My sneaking him in a room and back out. Gives new meaning to Holy Ghost!
And in that moment of laughter, I had a big, fat epiphany:
I don’t need to sneak Jesus in because he is, simply put, already in.
No sneaking required. He is in my breath, my being…. the essence of perfect love. He looks like His Father, who – I’m now learning – looks like me. And you, too. True story.
He didn’t beat people over the head with Truth (although I’m fairly certain he would indeed share his copies of Relevant Magazine; I mean, come ON!? Who wouldn’t want to read THOSE?)
A new thought occurred to me – There is an ever-blurring line between Jesus and I, and it’s not because I am anything special. It’s because of who HE is, inhabiting me and speaking through me and loving through me. And that makes me special. It’s what makes her special too; she just doesn’t realize it yet.
Blur that line, Papa!
I’m so happy that my friend is on her journey of recovery. I pray that she stays open to The Force, and realizes just how beautifully fierce and capable she really is.
I hope she gets curious about who is REALLY under that bed sheet.
Jesus, be everywhere and within me. Let me not ‘sneak around’ but exude your love, oozing Holy Grace. Give me oily grace – the kind of anointing that carries your scent and your love. I pray that you will be The Force in the lives of my children, my husband, my friends, and me.