Time Away

A new year, a new look.  It was time.  I’ve changed so much since I set up this space nearly two years ago.

When I first became a mother, I was advised to reserve time for me.  I couldn’t; it just felt so wrong.  I understand the airline concept of putting on my own facemask before turning to help the child beside me; but this isn’t an emergency.  This is everyday life.  This is the season of life to rear children; I must be with them, I’d think.

“Me Time” was such a buzzword, and it grated on me.  I quickly learned to avoid the topic, since it was met with such hostility.  “It will become a necessity; you’ll see,” an old lady warned me.  But after 15 years, I was still much happier with my family intact.  Dinner out wasn’t fun if I was wondering about that little piece of me I’d left behind.  Even when I had six not-so-little pieces of me, time out wasn’t right without them.

Yeah, I’m weird.  I know that.

Eventually, though, I saw that I couldn’t breathe anymore.  I had to stop and focus on my own facemask.  I hate the taste of crow.  This space was set up as my time away – my adult time.  But the whole concept still irritated me, because no matter how much time I got to myself, I still could not breathe.  I needed something, but even getting away wasn’t helping.  It was merely taking me away from my responsibilities, which didn’t help anyone.

Then I saw something important. Jesus made time alone, away from his disciples.  But He didn’t go to spend “Me Time”; He went apart to commune with His Father before returning refreshed.  I was confirmed that my path is turning a corner.

Spending time for me and spending time with God is vastly different.  As I put aside time every morning to read Scripture, to let His word flood through my soul, and to talk with him about what I’d read or was struggling with, I was strangely strengthened.  My time is often interrupted (how could it not be in a house with 6 children?), but that’s okay. The rewards are tangible, and I see that I no longer have time not to read my Bible in the morning.

It wasn’t “Me Time” I needed; it was God Time.  I give everything I have in caring for my family, and it makes sense that I might need refreshing.  It must be refueling time, though, not just recess. God Himself put me here and gave me this family.  His Spirit must filter through every pore, into every cell, and flood every bronchiole and hemoglobin for me to actually accomplish His purpose.

“Give me your firstfruits.” “I have living water you know nothing of.”  “Come to me, you who are weary.”  His words jumble together in my mind as I think.  So when I come directly to Him in the early morning for my thirst to be quenched and my body quickened, He is there.  Just as He promised. It all comes together.

Bring it on, 2012.  I’ve got a new outlook and a new look, and I’m ready for whatever you have in store.

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Christ Child

Christmas. So many ideas whiz through my head like snowflakes. I’m not even totally clear on the one before the next flutters past. The overall feeling is magical, mystical, immortal.

Newborn Babe.  The Christ Child.  Coming into your life so small and unintrusive, but unique and fascinating.  This one is so like any other baby, but much, much more. His presence, as He toddles around, forces inconvenience upon you, prying into forgotten corners and hidden closets, until He knows you better than you know yourself. He grows in your heart until, full grown, He’s become so much a part of you that you are indistinguishable without Him. Your legacy is Him –

The manger scene. Utter silence, the smells of warm animals and fresh straw, the feeling that something special is here. It bids us look, but that act seems so brash. And besides, we’d have to go out back, into the dirty barn with the tools, beasts, and unwanteds. I so want to go look, but what would people think?

I stay here with the rest of the inn’s guests, where we’re expected to abide. I only get the briefest glimpse of the miracle in the barnyard, and I cannot see the baby’s face. I can see the others’ faces, though, and they are filled with awe. Even the animals are entranced by Him. Strange that all these people eating and drinking and singing minstrel songs are so unaware of what is just outside. Only the wise men, when they arrive later, gaze openly on the Babe. I am so disarmed by even catching this small picture through the frame of my window –

A Word on a page. The Word made flesh – human like me. Male, but like no man I’ve ever known. So aware of what goes on inside me and what makes me tick. He brings me up short every time I hear His voice, or even hear reports of Him – yet I feel so loved at the same time. Love like I’ve never known before. He calls me to receive and give, to be a servant and His sister, to show others the way and to rest. It’s all so confusing and yet, deep down, everything begins to make sense –

The creative power of the universe, growing inside me like ivy – it scares me as it takes over, and I’m tempted to remove it. But its presence is soothing and tender, like chamomile; sweet purple flowers put me at ease and I let it grow.  Every so often I see how big it’s grown and cry out to the One who planted it: “Are You sure? Will I be safe? I’m so afraid!”

Do not fear, for I am with you. I AM with you.

My fears calm and I let the Word, made flesh within me, continue to take over. And I find myself not just well, but thriving.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Legalism in the Homeschool

Teaching a one-room schoolhouse is not just a job – it’s an incessant mental workout, plotting, overseeing, and enabling the intellectual pursuits of multiple children simultaneously while clarifying my own motives and methods for doing so.  Mothers can be a bit insecure holding the future in their hands and incessantly look for clear direction.  It would be really nice if there were a manual to follow which would guarantee well-rounded adults.  I found a really viable one once, but couldn’t afford it.  That frustrated me.  But I saw recently that many of its graduates are now hopelessly mired in hypocrisy, torn by an inability to be true to their professions of faith and morality.  I cannot imagine the parents’ remorse as they hear that their students feel cheated of the truth.

I’m sensing that this curriculum, like every other one I’ve seen, was incomplete.  Children need to understand the Law and the Gospel.  I was raised with plenty of Gospel mercy and very little Law to give a reason for Jesus’ death and resurrection.  My biggest problem has been an inability to define sin.  The students I saw in that program had the absolute truth about sin, but no redemption from it.  I didn’t see that then.

I just knew I was winging it and was really dissatisfied with my progress.  The irritating little girl in the sandbox angrily threw sand into her mate’s face while yelling, “Sorry, Molly, I didn’t mean to do that!”  loud enough so Mommy heard her.  I was humiliated to see it was my own child.

Homeschooling seems to have a special knack for breeding legalism, which, according to Webster, is the “literal and usually too strict adherence to the letter of the law.”  Yep, that would be my little Pharisee.  In my quest to produce Rhodes scholars, I’ve drilled rules into them.  Any failure rests on my shoulders, and I am plagued with doubts:  “I must be lazy or using the wrong organizer; something I’m doing isn’t working!  These kids are smart, but I’m too inexperienced for the job.”   There is no going back.  The serious Christian has no business sending her children to government schools if the truth be told.  Separation of church and state, you know. 

“A Day in the Life” articles show others achieving everything God apparently requires:  Socratic method, elementary Hebrew, plane Geometry, and concert violin are all taught to umpteen well-mannered children in a well appointed home.   The goals themselves were way beyond me.  I threw my hands in the air and told the world to go to hell.  Or something like that.  I’m certainly not making it, so I guess we’re all doomed.  I obviously don’t have what it takes to be an educator and a chosen one simultaneously.  The call I heard to do this, not to mention the Christianity that invoked it, was a sham – and it was high time I admitted it.  Honestly.   I have always said that where God puts a lamb He will also provide the pasture, but I had obviously missed something.  Everything I stood for was crashing around me and my flock.   I took the summer off.

I read Scripture and prayed.  Not the “Hallowed be Thy Name” kind of prayer – the “What the hell’s going on here?” and the “What do you want from me, God?” kinds of prayer.   Prayer becomes very powerful when you finally get honest with God.  I found out I was right – what I’d professed was a sham.  What Jesus taught and the Christianity I practiced bore no resemblance to each other.  My faith was badly warped.

In seeking the perfect curriculum and implementation, I’d been combing Scripture for which rules to uphold, never seeing the real good news.  (Who’s the Pharisee?)  “When our salvation is based upon something WE do rather than what GOD does, eventually a person will grow disillusioned, frustrated, and spiritually suicidal.”  I wish I’d read these anonymous words years ago, but I had to experience them for myself.  The same writer went on:  “…true freedom doesn’t come from moral behavior, but rather by complete abandon to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

But how to teach my children the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy  6:6-7) while pointing to Christ like John the Baptist (John 3:30)?  They need to know the rules so they know how awesome the pardon is.   Rules broad enough to apply to everyday life will never address the situation at hand, however.  I can’t look to these rules as a checklist of what to do.  That’s not their purpose.  The purpose is to show us how frightfully inadequate we are to live up to the standards so that we will look for help from our Creator.  And His work is already finished.

I see now that this was because I kept thinking that everything depended on what we should do, for when I saw so little of true repentance and victory over sin, helplessness crept into my heart. I counted and summed up all that they did  [to clean up their act], and not the smallest percentage of debt was paid. But now I see that which is done, and  I see that the whole debt is paid. Now therefore I go about my duties as might a prison warden who carries in his pocket a letter of pardon for all  his criminals.  (Bo Giertz, The Hammer of God)

Not that my school is a prison.  Good grief.  But the children are human, just like me.   Christopher Columbus said,  “I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous Presence.”

When I cried out to the Lord for help and stayed on the floor until He provided, I found the secret.  Those prayers I utter in the morning are more important than the lessons I spout in the afternoon.   Inspiration – breathing in the breath of God – is what brings everything else together.  Until I see the joy of Christ’s resurrection and what it means to me, I can drive the children all day and they’ll never go.  But they will catch my fascination with my Savior if it is real.   The curriculum becomes just a medium to work with on the way to mastery of everything in God’s world as we seek to know and understand Him together.

The frustrations we encounter turn out to be pointers redirecting our steps, gifts to be welcomed.

Kara Murphy, creator of Organic Homeschooling, sums up my point perfectly:  “If Satan can keep us in constant turmoil about what method or curriculum to use, he can keep our focus away from the most important work of discipling our children. Don’t fall into his trap. Renew your mind by the washing of the Word and move forward, confident of the work that Jesus Christ is doing in you and your children.”

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.   (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV)

It’s All in the Details

My earliest memories are with cars.  If there is one sensation that will instantly assure me of peace and rightness in the world, it is the smell of a clean, orderly garage. The feel of a chamois in my hand turns my world misty-rosy as the gleam of paint comes up under my touch.  All my ancestry swirls around my head in a strange, Lion King way the minute my sudsy sponge connects with a dirty hood.  Meguiar’s wax runs through my veins.

As a kid, I would wash my Schwinn from the same bucket of soapy water that Dad used for the cars and then scrub floor mats for him.  I loved playing on their prickly backs, just like my daughter does now.

When I traded in my gleaming Schwinn for a Ford Pinto, people began to tell me  I was going to rub the paint right off my car,  that I was crazy for keeping a car that clean,  that I’m obsessive/compulsive or even anal.  Maybe.  I’ve also been offered more money for my 12 year old Pinto than Dad paid for it new.  I know I’m not the only one who believes that taking care of what God gives me is good stewardship.  Somehow, when my car is a dirty mess, it comes home with all sorts of bumps and scratches from people who assume I don’t care – so they don’t either.  But when my ranch wagon is sparkling, nothing happens to it.  People respect what is respectable.  Cars aren’t that different from people in many ways.

I wish, though, like the insurance commercial I saw yesterday, that the bumps and bruises of living and serving could be washed out.  Some of the scratches a kid puts down a door are forever, but most of my Suburban’s life is memory alone.  It has nearly 300,000 miles on it.  It hauls trailers regularly for church, work, and play.  It has driven over the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada range, to the Grand Canyon, Pismo Beach, and the Gulf of Mexico.  It has carried lambs, kids, and children in its seats.  My beloved Bear was euthanized in the back.  I probably have more feelings of “home” in my car than most people do in their kitchens.  In my struggle to understand what it meant to follow God,  I gave up all things automotive as potential idolatry, including taking care of this part of my life.  God was worth it, but He didn’t require it.  He heard what my lips never uttered, and gave my cars back to me.  As I listened to Him speak through the sound system, I washed the scribbled “This vehicle also available in pewter” off the back window.   My head began to clear and I began to understand grace.  We don’t need to be grungy or die to be accepted.  He washes us clean if we will but sit still.  Reflections shimmered back at me in the door.  His clouds, trees, playing children – even the anonymous painter whose gifted hand laid down that metallic pewter coat so smoothly – are all his creation.   I never want that beauty to fade.

 Granted, washing and waxing will not make my truck run any better or add life to the fading powerplant under the hood.  But just because it’s aging doesn’t mean it has to look like a beater.  Everything in creation is worthy of notice and care, and even Gremlins are worthy of rebirth.  But I’m no resto artist, as much as I’d like to be.  I can only keep up what I’m given and point to Who gives it all to me.

Theology aside, a clean car just makes me feel special.  Although all I truly need is a vehicle to get me from Point A to Point B,  I would rather not arrive there covered in dog hair with a gum wrapper stuck to my backside.  I am worthy of a decent ride – and let’s face it, driving a shiny, new car is something most of us can never get enough of.

So when the offer appeared on my table to detail my first car professionally, I took it.  I may be stupid for starting a detailing business on a dirt road and I haven’t worked out all the chinks yet.  But Christians advise to follow God’s call, while secular folks say you should always follow your dreams, even when they look silly.   I know that washing cars will not save people’s souls and I have no dreams of becoming rich.  It’s just what I love doing.   Detailing cars is my form of art, the way I bring beauty into my world.

I believe that there are those out there who would love to be cared about, who never noticed their whitewalls were black and brake dust obscured their wheels.  I would like to share that feeling of value I sense every time I get behind the wheel of a car so shiny the reflections overpower the paint color.  Just like a girl in a new dress, a clean car makes the man.  Growing up in SoCal, we all knew that cars were a reflection of their owners.   So what does your ride reveal about you?

The Gospel According to Prince

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life

Electric word, life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here 2 tell u
There’s something else:
The afterworld.

A world of never ending happiness
U can always see the sun, day or night

So when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
U know the one – Dr Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

‘Cuz in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own

I cannot believe that the artist formerly known as Prince (or is he known as that again?) has any concept of the true God of the universe.  But these words sure nailed me down this morning.  This is what the Genesis account of the Fall is all about.

Think about it.  Adam walked in the cool of the day with God.  And then after his wife disobeyed when he was supposed to be in charge of his new family, they were evicted from the Garden.  This wasn’t just an awesome park they had to leave, like having to exit the Royal Gardens at closing time; no, they were kicked out of the presence of God.  That’s what the Fall was all about.

We’re on our own.  Alone.  We were created social beings, and loneliness drives many people to do what they would never do otherwise. Yet the simplest rules of engagement are impossible to keep. Being friendly should be one of the easiest things to do, especially since the base desire of every single person’s heart is to be loved.  But that one disobedience doomed us all to a lifetime of striving for what we can never truly achieve. We chose to act on our own decisions, so alone we shall be.

The only real solution is to repent, to realize that we are not capable of accomplishing anything truly on our own. Only then will we be reunited with the One we really want.  If we ever realize that it’s Him we’re looking for. I’ve often heard that people are created with a God-shaped hole that no food, person, or activity can ever fill.

The fact that God spoke to me through Prince cements the fact that He is in control.  He created Prince, too, and his agile mind knows the truth, regardless of whether he recognizes it or not. My favorite part of the entire Bible is when the Chief Priest announces the death penalty on Jesus: “Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:50) Caiaphas has no idea that his pronouncement just explained exactly what Jesus really came to do. His position as a speaker of influence was used in spite of his own personal motives. None of us can get away from God; regardless of how intelligent and capable we are, we are still bound by laws and forces outside our control.  It is readily apparent that I’m not all there is in the world. I have not one prayer of being able to control it, yet it is very obviously in control. Everything is so ordered and predictable that the concept of chance is negated.

I am merely a shadow of something much larger and more intelligent than humanity – which is what the Bible says:

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

I must recognize my own limitations and that of other humans – science, philosophy, or anything else in Creation – will be fruitless. I must recognize that trusting to my own abilities is exactly the sin that Adam and Eve committed, yet I read that Jesus paid the price for my part in that original sin. I have therefore been redeemed and will be admitted back into the garden at the party to end all parties. I must merely hang tight until He comes to pick me up. Because we do have a date.

After a refrain that makes absolutely no sense with what these two verses say, Prince finishes off his song with these prophetic words:

Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and dafodills will kill.
Hang tough children

He’s coming
He’s coming
Coming

Take me away!

– “Let’s Go Crazy”

Sin, Sacrifice and a Wonderful Exchange

Growing up, I was always on the right path. I didn’t smoke, cut class, or cuss with the boys. I did well in class and graduated with honors. I went to church.  I was the goody-two-shoes of the group.

Then I became an adult and suddenly I was the rebel.  I knew God was pleased with me, even as I blundered through every conversation with some stupidity that proved my heathen status. I was confused, but I’d been a Christian since I could remember.  I couldn’t see why every Christian I met felt the need to spout these verses to me: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1) It was all so much blather. I didn’t understand enough about sin to ask what they meant.

A preacher I greatly respect once said that there was no point telling people about their Savior before you’d shown them their sin. He insisted that was the only place to start, even though that’s not where anybody wants to start a conversation. He made a lot of sense – I don’t need saving if I feel fine.

I took dinner to share with his family once. He had to leave early to counsel with somebody. I wished him luck as he left – and he stopped, dead in his tracks. “What?!” He spun around. “Good luck?!? There is no such thing as luck – you know that, don’t you?” It was just an expression. I was more confused than embarrassed. I suddenly saw that his work was no crap shoot. God was in full control of the outcome.

Sin, as I understand it now, is my presumption that I can handle something myself or that I accomplished a feat under my own power. This has been really hard to grasp. People who sweat bullets to achieve a goal reap its rewards – what part does God have in that? I had a friend who would break out into praises for God when she found a close parking space. Good grief; it’s just a parking space. She assured me it was no accident the front one frequently opened up as she approached. She knew who provided for her and acknowledged it.

In a ten year span, my lifestyle went from “up and coming” to “arrived” to something approaching “dorm rat.” I saw others work really hard for success and fail anyway, or lose their rewards for no apparent reason. God’s hand was at work, and I searched for answers. Hard times and “bad luck” seemed just too convenient of excuses.

I was advised to thank God for my reversal. Easy for him to say, I thought; he’s not the one praying for basic necessities and going without others. Over time, though, I began to see that we didn’t ever go without food and we always had a roof over our heads. I cried over not being able to procure the chemistry curriculum I wanted for my son and then was amazed to see him given a scholarship to an Emergency Medical Services class. We had not asked for that – I didn’t even think he was eligible for it. I was not in control, but I was loved and provided for.

I’ve posted before about my myriad health issues. I pride myself on knowing herbs, homeopathy, and basic home health well enough to keep my family out of the doctor’s office for years on end. So I was devastated when I was inundated with rafts of maladies with no cause and no solution, both in my children and myself. I was completely powerless, and 13 prescription medicines lined up on my counter reassured me that medical degrees and white coats didn’t guarantee better outcomes.

I began to thank God for my petty illnesses and isolation. Illness is torture, and loneliness is hell – no flames are necessary. When I cried about being so alone, a church elder pointed out that God still heard Jonah, even in the belly of the whale. We can never be truly alone, for God sees us always. Like a mother staying silent when she is assessing her children, God will sometimes stay hidden until we are ready to see Him. I had to grasp beyond all doubt that God was in charge of life and death. As I began to trust Him for healing, my sense of isolation went away. He was with me and would not let me go.

Sin was not disobedience; it was the assumption that I knew best. Yet I had no idea or ability to make it right. Now I needed saving. I began to appreciate His healing touch and finally saw what his sacrifice really was. Would I willingly suffer in order to make another well?

I’m thinking….

When my middle son struggled with pneumonia for five months and was unable to sleep at night – I kept thinking that I would do anything to save him from this. He welcomed any attempt to help him, no matter how desperate or vile-tasting, and appreciated my presence, even if I was snappy from sleep deprivation and fear. While I might wish I could trade places with my son, I daresay it wouldn’t be pretty. And it wouldn’t happen for anybody outside my family.

Jesus understood, better than we can ever fathom, what death really is and the alternatives we have available to us in the long run. He also understood His power better than we ever can. He put himself into our death so that we could truly live. It’s a simple exchange. All that’s expected of me is all that I expected of my son: take what I give you, breathe deeply in faith of the healing power, and you’ll be well. But while I stifled an “I hope” at the end, Jesus’ offer of healing is absolute. And he was never snappy. If I will humbly accept His death, it is mine.

J.I. Packer, in “Knowing Christianity”, explained the transaction clearer than anything I’ve ever heard or seen: “Luther … once wrote to a troubled friend, “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’” There has been an exchange, a great and wonderful exchange (Luther actually used that phrase, a “wonderful exchange”), whereby the Son of God has taken all our guilt in order to set upon us all his righteousness.”

Charles Spurgeon put it this way: “Open the door, beloved, and He will come into your souls. He has long been knocking, and all with this object, that He may sup with you, and you with Him. He sups with you because you find the house or the heart, and you with Him because He brings the provision. He could not sup with you if it were not in your heart, you finding the house; nor could you sup with Him, for you have a bare cupboard, if He did not bring provision with Him.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Gotcha!

Saw an article a few weeks back about things that tend to trap women.  I’m gathering that, by ‘trap’, the author meant ‘things that draw one away from God’.   Every one of the culprits mentioned:  control, food, and beauty, has influenced me at some point.

In college, when my life was crumbling beneath my feet, the psychological theories of achieving control over situations intrigued me greatly.  I needed something to grasp, and my bedroom furnishings became a study in control.  Because it was the most inviting, most people were drawn to the overstuffed Danish chair by the window.  I would then sit on the bed across from them for conversation and about 3 inches higher.  If they sat on the bed, or even leaned against the dresser, I would lounge comfortably on my barstool between the two, putting me always just a bit above.  Since my desk was a freestanding bar, it was a very natural, but quite imposing, place to sit.   It was only later in life that I learned the art of control the way powerful people do it.  Bring in lovely dining chairs that are very proper, but inappropriate to the room.  I loved watching George and Barbara Bush, reclining on the comfortable couch across from some reporter who hoped to guide the conversation from his perch on a chair where the coffee table obviously normally stood.  The Bushes maintained complete control of the situation, an interesting study in the aspect of  ‘at home’ being a control position.  I never got much chance to play with people’s reactions to that.  As soon as my life gained some footing, I lost my need  for the power point – but not the fascination.

As kids took over my days, food took over me.  I love to cook, and baking is a form of relaxation for me.  The children have been very willing guinea pigs for my trials.  Most memorable were the banana pancakes flambé for breakfast (almost burned down the kitchen with that one, but it sure tasted good.  They still remember it – even a couple who weren’t born yet.)   I pour myself into every meal, and I could not let a toddler’s pushed-around pieces of chocolate chip waffles with strawberry jam go to waste.  I might as well have just glued them to my hips. But too much is too much, and I learned to let the dog carry the extra weight of love instead.

Now beauty is an interesting question that I’ve never really paid much attention to until recently.  Quite addictive.  It’s defeating, in school, when everybody’s more popular and nobody pays attention even when you do speak.  Once you’re a mother, it’s just a given that you’re not attractive.  The waistline is gone, the quick ponytail shows lack of care and, as all focus goes to the wee ones, the wardrobe and carriage quickly head south as well.  I could see it so easily in my peers, but it never occurred to me that we mirrored each other.  One day I realized I didn’t want to wait another month to pick up the armchair with my hips when I stood up.  No.  No more.  Within a year of deciding to dress for success every day, I began experiencing something completely new to me.  People noticed me.  Strangers smiled and said, “Hello!” in the grocery store.   Men in traffic pulled their shades down, Foster Grant style, to give me another look.  As I laughed to myself, the smile gathered even more.   Oh, this could definitely be intoxicating!

But I had to stop and look at what it was I truly sought.  Love?  Respect?  Honor?  Commanding attention from those I desired it from was shallow.  Feeding the hole in my heart with food for my stomach was deadening to every nerve in my soul, and yet still didn’t fill the craving.   Flaunting for looks came close, but still didn’t cut it.  It was just a look, never really interest in who I am inside.

And then the article asked another piercing question.  In determining what traps me, what loss would cause me to lose the will to live?  

I think the best answer to that question would be Love.  Anything I love, but also being loved.  The true, abiding, regardless-of-my-stupid-stunts kind of acceptance.  Despite what Hollywood has fed me, people are human, and there isn’t a single one out there that won’t let me down at some point.  Even my dad, saint that he was to me, never took me to the races at Santa Anita like he promised.

There is only one that can truly love me, because he knows me better than I know myself.  He fits that hole in my heart as though it were made for him, because I inadvertently yanked him out of it when I chose to follow my own wisdom.  When I turn back to him, I find he’s been waiting for me the whole time.  Mercifully, He fills me with His Spirit, which then allows the very character of Love itself to run through me.  Not only am I full, but my cup runneth over.  All I had to do was let go of the “my way or the highway” mindset and He led me right through the traps.