In The Garden: Be Present

YOU GUYS! Easter is Sunday, and I just can’t get enough of the story of Jesus and His journey to the cross. Because of this, I decided to revisit and repost a series I wrote about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thanks for taking a little throwback trip with me this week!

In my last two posts, I have been  talking about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have been mesmerized and challenged by all of the new truth I have been finding in this one story.  This is my last little nugget for now, but it is really convicting. At least for me.

In the last couple of posts, I talked about Jesus asking us to sit in His deep hurt with Him and about inviting others into our deep hurt. There is one component to the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31) given to us that  we are missing though, and that is sitting with others in their deep hurt.

Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” We are called to love others well, and love ourselves well (Matt. 22:36-37 The law of Christ). We are called to be there with them in the middle of trials, struggles, temptations, and just crappy days.

The thing is there are so many people, and so much hurt, and so much distraction that I think we miss out on why we are walking through tough stuff with people in our community.

“So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:40-41

One thing that sticks out to me in this passage (Matthew 26:36-46) is the fact that twice Jesus says “keep watch”. The word “watch” means to be alert or to be awake.  I think that Jesus is saying BE PRESENT.  He didn’t need  anyone to keep watch for other people. He is prophetic, knows when things are going down, and has angel armies protecting Him. Besides, later on we see Peter’s best defense is to cut off someone’s ear. Good job, Peter. You are the guy I want on my side during the zombie apocalypse, or when genetically altered animals fight back and attack humanity. Let’s be honest. Jesus knew Peter wasn’t going to be much help in the protection department. Here is what I think Jesus was trying to point out to his friends He invited into the garden with Him. The act of being present is the thing that keeps us from being led into temptation. It is a way to love others, as we love ourselves.

Often as I am walking through a tough situation with a friend, I am aware enough to watch her actions; however, I am not aware enough to learn from her mistakes or good choices. I just judge her for them. I think “she did what?” or “Why would she say that?”. My all time personal favorite is “WHY, oh WHY is she dating HIM?”. Then there are times where I see a friend’s wise and good decisions, and I am offended by them because I know I wouldn’t have been as wise.  I am quick to judge and much, much slower to learn. The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak and all of that. I have often thought that it is my job to save that person. To rescue them from whatever despair they are in. So I try to save them and end up missing out on the lessons I should be learning.

I think Jesus wants us to help each other through the hard stuff, be present, and fully awake. Not just half invested because there might be more fun people to hang out with, or because our jobs are consuming, or even worse because our ministry is consuming. The way to avoid temptation is to be fully present in relationships and learn from the people you are trying to care for. By loving unconditionally, we are able to see people through the filter that Jesus does and learn from them, and then hopefully when we walk through a similar situation, we are able to do so on steady ground.

I don’t want to be the girl who lives in such a distracted way that I never grow into a person of depth. I want to love unconditionally. I want to serve selflessly. I want to give my life away and learn every single thing I can about Jesus and the life He intended for me to live. So hold me accountable because again, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

What about you? What does it look like for you when you walk through trial with a friend. Is it a hassle for you or a privilege? Is it a learning experience or a fix the other person experience? How can we help each other find a better way of being present?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

 

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In The Garden: Sit With Me

Here is a little #throwback for Easter, friends! Here is to revisiting old lessons and letting them take deeper roots. Original post written in the fall of 2011.

In my last post, I shared about Jesus in the garden right before His crucifixion. I talked about how Jesus asked Peter, John, and James to enter into his deepest hurt with Him. I want to take another look at that very same verse again, and dig a little deeper because I know there is a deeper calling for us, and a powerful confession of love to us, in this passage.

“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’”

Matthew 26:37

As I read that scripture, I hear the Lord whisper, “Mindy, come and sit with me in the garden.”

Uhmmmmm wow.

This blows my mind. Here is why.

Jesus is asking US to come and sit in His deepest hurts with Him. God is asking us to experience the hurt that He feels while He is feeling it. He wants to break our hearts for what breaks His. That sounds horribly mean. The reality though is when we are hurt, or angry, or even just inconvenienced, we are motivated. Motivated to act, bring change, sacrifice, or care about something more than ourselves. I don’t know about you but it takes a lot to move me. Something really has to bother me for me to act.

For instance, here is my driver’s side window. It’s been broken for 3 1/2 months. I covered it with packing tape. It’s sufficient for getting me from one place to another.

It bothers other people a lot. Not really me though. I grew up in the middle of a chaotic large family that threw stuff a lot. It takes a lot more to get my attention than a broken window. Because of that, I haven’t done anything to fix it. I probably won’t until warm weather comes, and I want to drive with the windows down.

The same goes with the broken world we live in. It takes a lot for me to be motivated to bring restoration. We are called to bring restoration here and now to this broken world. Only when God moves my heart to a place where I hurt about how torn apart this world is, do I actually even care. Only when I sit with Him in deep hurt about human trafficking, do I actually act. Only when I grieve the brokenness of the Church with Him, do I strive to love her well. Do you see the pattern. Only when God… Do I…

He does this out of love for us. I know that it seems almost manipulative. He is trying to force us to do something. Anything. He only moves my heart to get His way. That’s not the truth though.

Later on in this passage, Jesus says to Peter, James, and John, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

I think He is saying, “Guys! Are you still asleep? You are missing out on something great. Something amazing. A once in a lifetime opportunity to sit with me, know me, and change the world. Not just the world but eternity. It is almost time. WAKE UP. Please don’t miss what I have for you!”

He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to miss out on something that will change someone’s eternity. Something that will change our eternity. It is so hard for me to believe that God, the creator of the universe, the maker of all things, loves me enough to want to be so intimate with me that He brings me into His deepest hurt. But He does. He really does. I know the people that I let into that intimate place with me, are people I love, people I trust, and people who will follow me into the dark. (Yes, I tried to sneak in a death cab reference.)

I believe that this is true about God. If He is calling you to sit with Him in hurt, He is also saying, “I trust you, I want you, follow me. Oh and, by the way, I FREAKING LOVE YOU.” So ask Him to take you to that intimate place. Ask Him to prepare you for the hurt and the obstacles on the road ahead. Ask Him to help you celebrate the good and the bad. Most importantly, just say “I’m in, Jesus. I’m here in the garden with you. I’m awake and sitting close. Have your way.”

Why do we willingly enter into the garden with Jesus? Because when we allow our hearts to be moved by God, we find the things we were truly made to do and the wars we were purposed to fight. We stop living mediocre lives, and we stop fighting those who are meant to be our allies. Sitting in the garden with Jesus is the doorway to the abundant lives we’ve dreamed of and the first step to living out our purpose.

What about you? What has God broken your heart for? Do you believe that He loves you enough to sit with you in hurt? Why or Why not?

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

In The Garden: Open The Gate

Oh hey friends! In honor of Easter I thought I would post a little throw back! This series of posts were originally written five years ago but still resonate with me so deeply especially through the week leading up to the resurrection of Christ. They have been updated a bit because I reserve the right to change my mind and grow. I hope they encourage you as much as it challenged me to write them!

About two months ago (fall of 2011), I started going to this Bible study on Monday nights. I like it. Actually I kind of love it. We read through scriptures together every week and discuss them. One of the chapters we have read through is Matthew 26 where Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we read through the passage, I felt like I found a thousand new golden nuggets that I have never found before. One of these has been pretty life changing.

“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’”

Matthew 26:37

The thing I have always loved about the story of Jesus in the garden is how human I realize Jesus really is. I am convinced it is His most human moment in all of the gospels. So what does Jesus do in His most human moment? He asked for COMMUNITY! He asked Peter, John, and James to sit in the middle of His deepest hurt with Him. Yup. He asked for help.

Let’s look at this moment. Jesus says straight up, His soul is grieved to the point of death. Death. DEATH. A place where there is no joy, no peace, no comfort. He is hurting and asking His most intimate friends to sit with Him in that hurt. Jesus was willing to be vulnerable in His greatest moment of need to live in community. Not only to love, but to be loved.

I never want to do this. I never want to let someone into my deep hurt or disappointment. I want to be strong, do it alone, and not risk being vulnerable. I want to carry my own burden. Like I’ve said before I am emotionally awkward. Exposing that is dangerous. I mean what would my friends do if they saw the reality of how dramatic, needy, insecure, and just plain weird I am. The truth is they probably see those things. But seriously. People can’t know I hurt or I am broken or even WANT them with me in the middle of my deep hurt. I mean if they knew, they would have power over me. I can’t have that.

You see. My deepest fear is that I will admit that I want someone to be that intimately connected to me and then they will reject me. I am afraid that when they see how terribly messed up I am, I will be TOO MUCH, and they will turn and walk away.

So as I read through this passage again I felt God say to me, “Mindy, open the freaking gate. Let people into the garden with you. Some will leave, and I will love you. Some will stay, and I will love you. Just let people in. It’s what you were made to do.”

So as a community of people who live on the same planet, I ask that you will hold me accountable. That you will challenge me to open the gate, share my story, love well, and BE LOVED.

What about you? Any troubles with letting people in? Is love easy for you to receive? Let’s talk about it.

You can also check out my last two posts in this series here and here!

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy