Wrong side of the bed

I always wondered what it is like to “wake up on the wrong side of the bed”. I’d hear it being said all the time, but never truly understood it till today.

I woke up this morning – correction, I dragged myself out of bed this morning – with a numbness throughout my body. And my mood, ugh. It was like all this time all the things that hurt me physically and mentally were on pause and today it was like all of them decided to un-pause themselves. When I voiced out my body’s cry of pain, I had the word “lazy” thrown at me which made me want to scream bloody murder, but that was just the beginning of a very crabby day.

About late afternoon, somewhere in the midst of tears and homicidal intentions, I looked at my phone and there was an alert from YouTube about a new video. Normally, I ignore these alerts because I think I’ll watch it when I feel like it. (That doesn’t stop me from leaving the alerts on, for some reason.) As I was trying to swipe the notification away, I accidentally opened the link and the song that played made my eyes allow those tears to fall freely.

 

It was just what I needed to hear. That all my hurt and pain is being carried away by Him. That no matter how dismissive the world may be toward my pain, there is One who notices it all and bothers to find some way to talk to me even when I am in the crabbiest mood and refusing to listen to anyone. Even when I am so down on myself and feel like I am so alone, He finds the perfect words to show me that I am not and never will be alone. That no matter all the garbage that the world so generously keeps throwing at me, there is still hope for a very hopeless nobody like me.

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And the greatest of these…

There has been a lot that is being said by Christian people against homosexuals. It actually hurts me to hear things like these. Being a Christian myself, I know that some lifestyles are not accepted, in the sense that I wouldn’t follow them.

But every time I get frustrated or angry at someone for doing something I think is wrong, I have learned to make a conscious effort to remind myself of what Jesus said. “Let any one of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.” That puts me in my place and I am humbled, because I know that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to live a life completely without sin. It is not my sinlessness that guarantees an audience with God, but His mercy despite my sinfulness. It is not my righteousness that makes me a Christian, but the faith that our God is the one true God.

Granted, that there are rights and wrongs and these make us different from the rest of the world. But I think, what this sense of right and wrong is there for is to point me in the right direction and keep me on the right track. Sometimes I get carried away and think people are wrong because they don’t follow the same things I do. Even if I am right, I am wrong to assume I have the authority to judge them in any way. What the Lord has taught me to do lately is to pray for these people and guide them through love and patience. And this is really difficult for me. I mean, if you’ve ever met me in person you’d know that I am probably one of the most impatient people on the planet. Given a free reign, I would walk out of conversations just because people are taking too long to get to the point. But the Lord is working in me. Making me love them enough to wait for them to get where they need to be. It is taking a while, this change in me, because like I said, “most impatient person on the planet”. Loving people doesn’t come naturally to me, either. I have spent most of my life being heartbroken by everyone around me and developed some very serious trust issues. But the Lord is working on that too. He is softening the places in my heart that I’d hardened for fear of getting hurt. He is making me see people differently from being cautious.

So when I say I have no authority to judge people for the way they live, I mean it. 1 Corinthians devotes an entire chapter to love. The first few lines of the chapter literally say that no matter how many good deeds you do and how religious you are, if you don’t do them with love, it has no value. In other words, they’re pointless. If I am to make a difference, I can only do it with love. I mean, would you listen to someone who is constantly judging you and yelling at you to change? I wouldn’t. I’d go right on and do the opposite of what they’re telling me to do. Then comes a very important scripture that I probably need to have framed above my bed to remind me every day. “Love does not demand its own way.” “[Love] endures through every circumstance.” So basically, love doesn’t force its will on people and loves them even though they don’t listen to you.

You’re probably thinking, that never works; that I am an idealistic, pretentious know-it-all who thinks she lives in a utopian world where everything has a simple solution. I have proof, ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to point you in the direction of the man who singlehandedly changed millions of lives through love. JESUS. He lived and breathed love. He welcomed every one and turned away no one, even though He knew what was in their hearts. I repeat, EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN THEIR HEARTS! That has got to be some love! The love that those verses talk about, He was living it. And look at what His love did. Brought salvation to millions of people. There are at least a million Christian people around the world. If all of us choose to love like He did, imagine how many people would find Jesus and thus their salvation. I mean, we’ve tried everything else. Let’s try love.

The post of sermons past.

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Found this gem from 10 years ago.

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Magnify the Lord of your life, rather than the problems of your life. 

Gossip the Gospel 

2 Timothy 3:10-17

That was from 10 years ago! I remember noting it down from a sermon I was listening to, but can’t seem to remember who I was listening to and hence cannot give that preacher credit. (Sorry!)

What strikes me is that even after 10 years, I am still learning to focus on God rather than my problems. In fact, just last week I was talking about how I need to focus on the God of solutions than the problems of my circumstances. I’d heard a message 10 years ago that would have saved me a whole lot of trouble over the coming years, if only I remembered it.

But that’s the thing, I forget. I hear something, it helps me in my current situation and then that sermon is gone. Forgotten as circumstances change. Then I go through something similar. And somehow, that lesson has engraved itself on my heart. So I may not know where it came from, but they manifest themselves as words of wisdom. Like I didn’t know where that discussion came from last week, but those words were from a sermon I’d heard a decade ago. And then today, I found this note scribbled in a corner of my book. And I realized that this is where I’d heard it. Isn’t it amazing?

It may seem impossible to remember the hundreds of sermons you’ve heard over the years. But rest assured that the ones you’ve really learned from, will still be engraved on your heart and will be made accessible when you truly need it.

Love me like You do

No one could love me like You do. No one could and no one would. Your heart bleeds with love for me. Your eyes they search my very soul. Your hands they reach out to me. Especially when I don’t deserve it the most.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve apologized and You took me back. But they don’t outweigh the times I’ve forgotten to apologize altogether. You still love me like You do. I keep running away from You, and getting myself into trouble. And You keep welcoming me back, when I find my way back to You. I find innovative ways of hurting and disappointing You, and You in all Your majestic love cast Your pain aside and tend to my wounds. My actions provoke Your righteous anger, but all You do is heal my broken heart.

How, do You do that? Love me like You do? No one could do that, no matter how much they may think they do. Every time You fix me up, I go and get myself broken again. And all You do is mend me with patience that I cannot comprehend. But that isn’t the only thing I can’t fathom. Why? Why do you love me like You do? And how can I ever repay You for all You’ve done for me?

Panic? Or PANIC!!!

Living in Mumbai, I’ve kinda gotten used to the idea of bomb scares and having to endure extra security checks everywhere we go. Sad, but true. A couple of days ago, I experienced it firsthand. A bomb scare.

I was in the train, travelling to my cousin’s pre-wedding ceremony. Of course, I was reading and whiling away my time in the crowded mess we call a local train. Occasionally, I would look dramatically out of the window, to make me feel like I’m some sort of a highly philosophical person thinking about some very intellectual thing (I was actually thinking about what to eat; I was very hungry, you see). Anyway, in one of those moments when I was looking out of the window, I saw a tiny explosion take place a few meters away from the train while we were halted at a station. I couldn’t help but try to figure out what had actually happened. But before I could satisfy my curiosity, everyone on the train had their panic mode activated and there was a mad scramble for the doors.

They say, fire exposes your priorities. But a bomb scare exposes your inner panic.

Every single person on the train was terrified and screaming to get off the train. I was the last one to get off the train, because I couldn’t make any sense of why people were getting of the bloody train. Then I heard it. The different versions of rumors. There is a bomb on the train. Well, if there was wouldn’t it have gone off already? Why would it have a mini explosion to warn you instead? The train is on fire. This one I thought might be true for a minute. But I looked around and there was no smoke nor did it smell like something was burning. One of the boys sitting on top of the trains got electrocuted. Well then the cable lines would be shot and the train wouldn’t be working, which by now we could see that our train was raring to go. There were more rumors, but I stopped listening. I was looking around the people, instead.

Scared, terrified people. All of them having somewhere to go. All of them having their lives flash before their eyes. All of them holding on to someone they know or even just met. All of them desperate to live a little longer. Of course, they didn’t need to worry because it was only a rumor. But they didn’t know that. By the time we got back onto the train, people were making calls to their loved ones narrating their close call with death. All I did was sit there (because no one would listen to the relatively boring theory of what actually happened) and observe and it got me thinking.

Sometimes, the things we think are attacks on us are actually not attacks at all. We might think that they are going to break us, but they won’t. We might think, This is it. But it isn’t. We might think we are cornered and have no way to go, but that isn’t the case. Sometimes, we hear the voices of those around and panic, when there should be no reason to. Maybe it is time to examine what voices we’re actually listening to. The voice of reason? Or the voice of panic?

Through it all

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Every time I watch this scene in The Amazing Spiderman, it cracks me up. Literally everything around him is falling apart and there Stan Lee is, unperturbed. Nodding along to the music he is listening to, oblivious to the battle waging a few feet from him.

Funnily enough, every time I think of the battles in our lives, I think of this scene. The only reason he wasn’t bothered by the devastation the battle had caused was because he wasn’t paying attention. Or more importantly, paying attention to something else.

When everything around you seems falling apart, we have two choices; focus on the world that is falling apart (devastation), or focus on the life-giving God that is working through it all (expectation). When we focus on devastation, we feel lost, confused, weary, abandoned, hopeless, grief. But when we focus on God with expectation, we feel loved, hopeful and peaceful.

Now, devastating situations do come in all forms in our lives, we need to choose what we’d like to be tuned into. Like Stan Lee, we can tune out the devastation and choose to remain peaceful under the circumstances. We need to tune in to God and listen to voice guiding us through the troubling times. We will feel blessed and encouraged and we can be a source of encouragement to others who are going through the devastation.

 

It’s about TIME

Do you ever feel the urge to do something good like read the Bible at odd hours in the day, but end up Netflix-ing instead? Well, the past week for me has been riddled with urges and temptations like this. I would feel the urge to read a book written by a renowned pastor, but I would end up watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix (I’m counting on the Christian in you not to judge me, pretty please?). I would want to wake up early, but would end up sleeping until my stomach growled with hunger. I would want to spend time watching a message on Youtube, but would end up spending hours on end on Tumblr. Now before you say something like “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”, let me tell you, in my case, both spirit and body are weak. I realized that I am incapable of overcoming these small temptations which then end up occupying and wasting my day.

Each day, I would assure myself that I will not give in. And each day, (spoiler alert) I gave in even more. I would wake up every morning charged to spend time with the Lord and by the end of the day, I would have no recollection of the commitment I made earlier that day. Then it hit me. Slowly and silently. But it hit home way too hard for me to not notice. Not by might. Not by power. BUT BY MY SPIRIT, says the Lord. How can I even hope to accomplish control over my desires, when I can’t even manage to get myself out of bed on time? But HIS SPIRIT. Now there’s a solution.

I realized then, that I was trying. Trying too hard to please God. Trying too hard to “do what I knew was right”. When what I should have been doing is letting the Holy Spirit take control of my time and my life. Do you know how easy that is? But then again, it is easier said than done. Giving the Holy Spirit the control doesn’t mean I get to slack around all day saying the Holy Spirit will take care of things. It means that every moment I get to invite the Holy Spirit to take charge of things and to involve Him in every decision. It frees a huge burden off your shoulders and you get to sleep that night knowing your day wasn’t in vain.