Tag Archives: aware

Lessons from the Bar

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

 

The other night I was at a bar, listening to a band. Even though I had never been to that venue before, the atmosphere was all too familiar.  The darkness. The loud music. The drunk people. The smoke. I went to the bathroom and there was a pack of women in there smoking pot. The whole place had a foggy feeling. Like a lost memory.

There was a woman there. I’ve thought about her a lot since that night. She was right in front of me with a man. He seemed to be her boyfriend, at least for the night. They were kissing and grinding and honestly, it was uncomfortable.  I didn’t know where to look. She was drinking and dancing and wasn’t wearing much. But she caught my eye a few times mid dance. It was like she was looking for approval. Her man didn’t seem all that interested which was surprising to me. She was a beautiful woman on the outside. Long hair, fit body, clear skin, big eyes. But there was something missing. She had that Kardashian look about her…a natural beauty with way too much make up and a self consciousness that bordered on awkward. She was trying too hard.  I felt sorry for her.

For us.

I saw myself in bars past. Dancing. On tables, in aisles, on stage. I smelled myself hungover and sorry. I remembered myself, sweaty and foggy and showing off. I was just having fun, I’d say. What a great night, we would recall. All my friends in the same boat. My throat scratchy and Sunday ruined. What’s the big deal?

When the hymn says “I was blind but now I see” I think of Romans 12:2. I was just doing what everyone else was doing. I wasn’t too over the top with my partying by comparison. It’s our culture, from high school, to college, to our 20’s and even into our 30’s and 40’s.   This is what everyone around me was doing. I wasn’t a bad person. And neither is she.

I’m so glad Jesus enters right into the debauchery. He is not surprised by us. He is not offended. He calls us to more. He transforms us if we let Him.

So much of Christianity is whitewashed clean. We go to church in our Sunday best and we volunteer and we do what’s expected of us, pretending we were always this way.  People on the outside look in and think they could never belong. They aren’t cleaned up and spit-shined enough. I dread the thought of all the pretending of church goers actually keeping others away from Jesus.

Here’s the thing…If Jesus came for anybody, He came for that woman in the bar. So eager to be seen. So desperate to be known. So hungry for approval.

I recognized her because she was me. I can’t forget her.  And I’m sure beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus hasn’t forgotten her either.

©2017, Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™, All Rights Reserved

 

Go ahead, surprise me…

Since I’m a blogger, I really want to write about everything.  I experience things and when they are powerful or meaningful in some way, I want to share them. But lately I’ve started wondering if God intends some things to just be for me.  If He frowns upon me running to my computer to upload photos of everything to Facebook and Instagram.  This came to a head for me when I was singing along with the worship band in church and tears were streaming down my face and I thought, “I should take a picture of the band and share it on Great Big Yes!”

Ummm. No.

Maybe that’s the challenge.  If something happened but it’s not posted, did it really happen?

How are our kids going to know when it’s right to just sit in something…to just receive it…be it love or affection or a compliment or a holy spirit moment…how will they know what is sacred? private? not appropriate to share?

I struggle with that.  I’m hoping that my words bring you closer to God.  I’m hoping to share His Word with you and the hope and peace and joy that comes from the radical love of Jesus.  Nobody needs more Sue.  The whole world needs more Jesus.  So, I want to be part of that.  Bringing some Jesus to you.  The Grace and Mercy that He brings.  Healing. Freedom.

When we found out we were moving, I called a Holy Yoga sister and I told her.  I was crying and talking fast and worrying and anticipating and trying to control.  She listened so kindly and then said something that changed me forever.  She said, “You know this is not a surprise to God, right?”

Silence.

He goes before me.

Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnipresent.

Now I think of all things through that lens.  Nothing is a surprise to God.

When my daughter came home and said she is joining a Bible Study, it was a surprise to me but not to Him.

When my husband met people at work for the first time and they told him they have “been praying for him and his family” this was a surprise to my husband because people just don’t say stuff like that in Chicago…but God…He knew.  He heard those prayers and He planned for those words to fall on my husband’s surprised but grateful heart.

When I was standing in that church weeping with the worship music, arms raised and heart open…He was not surprised.

With every box unpacked, each rental place (there have been 2), buying a home, selling a home, meeting new people, new schools, figuring it all out…through every single moment, He is not surprised.  He is present and aware. He goes before me and makes a path for me.  He protects me and provides for me.

He can be trusted.

But He can’t be surprised.

I find immense comfort in this.  I hope you do too.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

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