Tag Archives: Transform

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

 

Sufficient Grace

image

God’s grace is sufficient.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

As of today…I believe it.

No more striving.  No more reaching.  No more grasping and clinging and hoarding.  No more thinking I have to be perfect to measure up.  No more pride.

Well, at least for today.  Maybe I should say at least for this hour.  I already messed up this morning.

Old habits die hard.

Just this morning I was talking to a friend and she was asking about the blog and telling me she really liked my writing.   I was feeling proud and pumped up and then she mentioned a possible opportunity and asked me if I have gone to their website and I jumped in with “Why, do they have a blog?” and I started thinking about how I was going to write something to submit to them.  My mind started churning with how I was going to achieve more and get more and be known more and be somebody.

I forgot.

I already am somebody.

I am the beloved child of the King.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am blessed and I am a blessing.

It doesn’t matter what I do.  It matters that I’m His.

I matter.

I’ve heard it said that this is one of the greatest desires of our hearts – to matter.  We don’t want our lives to go unnoticed.

Maybe in the past this meant that we wanted to serve others, raise healthy children, and speak kind words.

This reminds me of the Emerson quote I have hanging in my house:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Do we still believe this defines success?  Or now does success mean we must have a reality show, write a book that ends up on the New York Times best seller list, be followed by thousands on twitter and make millions of dollars while looking perfect?

There have been times that I’ve fallen into the trap of believing that my worth depends on how the world sees me so I have transformed myself to the world.  This has made me feel uncomfortable and icky in my heart.  This is a gift because those feelings are God’s warning signs.  That gut feeling that something is “not right” is the Holy Spirit whispering, “Reroute, turn, stop…let’s review…where are we going…why?”

It says in 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.”

And in The Message in Ephesians 2 it says:

“You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.”

I love it when I read the Bible and I get schooled.  I will be thinking, “Are you talking to me?” and then I realize without a doubt, HE IS TALKING TO ME.

Just in case you aren’t sure…Yes, He’s talking to you too.

You matter.

sufficient grace new format

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved
picture from Pinterest