Friday, September 21, 2012

Alligator Encounter

"The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" - Psalm 27:1

I cautiously approach the submerged alligator.  It's one eye facing me is wide open and doesn't look friendly.  I bend down to pick up a twig to chuck at it in the hopes I can get it to move.  But as soon as I bend down !WHOOSH! it jerks it's head towards me, flips it's body around and takes off.

My animal encounter was at a pond about 20 yards from the road into Cru Headquarters where I work.  It happened about 15 minutes ago.  And my immediate response to the alligator flip was to jump and scramble away.

But here's something telling about me: almost simultaneous with my encounter and my little terrified backwards jump-skip was that I looked back at the road to see if anyone had seen my display.  And sure enough someone was driving by, probably chuckling to themselves thinking "Noobie."

I live like this.  The specter of being exposed as an idiot or fraud or you-name-it is something that lurks around a lot.

Rated on a scale, I suppose I care about an immensely painful death only slightly more than I care about what others think of me.  Alright so maybe it's not that bad, I'm not that afraid of dying a horrific death.

(Pause.)  I just had to step away to introduce myself to a big-wig here at headquarters.  The HR directer for the ministry of Cru.  Oh, wow!  So there you go, I care.  A lot.

I sometimes end up berating myself for this propensity to care so much about what people think.  But recently, or rather right now as I'm typing, I'm thinking that this is just a consistent reminder to me to keep digging in to the gospel.  For in the...

(Pause Again.  I just found out that Dan Allender - an individual who's personality just drips gospel saturation - is speaking here at HQ, I've got to go...)  I'm back.  

In the gospel I am freed from the noose that I've carefully tied and slid over my head.  The noose of pride and self-ambition.  I am absolutely free to be myself.

I can and probably should run wildly away from alligators.  I should wave my hands in the air.  I scream and scramble madly to the road.  I should bang on windshields and beg (perhaps with eyes bulging and mouth frothing) for a ride away from this life-threatening place.

And what's gloriously good about freedom, is that I can look back at the man in the noose, and ask, "Just why am I so concerned with what people think?"

I have validation, perfection, righteousness, fullness, completeness, acceptance, peace in my heavenly father's love.  So let the alligator of self-exposure flip and splash.  Let it charge.  I know the God of alligators.  I'm his friend, and he will smite you, you mean reptilian dinosaur.

I hope this encourages you like it encourages me.  For we all have alligators.  We all have secrets.  We all hide.  We all are scared to be truly known.  For we are all so sure that true knowledge of us would bring crushing and excruciating rejection.

BUT the gospel says "Not so, for you are loved, and you are very good."