I have a dream. This dream is my desire. I desire for this dream to be reality, and whenever it is not, I am hurt. It hurts me. It offends me. When my wish, my dream, my desire, my expectation of what should be happening to me isn’t met, I have a choice: I can lose it, or I can lose it. No, they are not the same thing.
Lose It or Lose It
Too many times, I lose it when I’m hurt. I mean, I go nuts. Maybe not externally nuts, but on the inside, I’m dismantled. Bitterness takes root. A grudge begins to grow. I allow my offended feelings to fester. Whether I’m offended intentionally or not, I can get my feathers all riled up, and I huff, and I puff, and I storm around the house, and I mope, and I lash out at anybody who tries to talk to me, and I’m ready to hurt anybody who gets close to me, and I am just a wreck. Often times, I do end up hurting those I love. Then where does that get me?
Other times when I’m hurt, I lose it. I realize that my feelings have been hurt and I let them go. They are my feelings, after all, and I can lose them if I want to, right? I let go of whatever my wish, dream, desire, or expectation was, and I move forward. I drop the offense. I understand that, whether intentional or not, whoever hurt or offended me only has that power because I give it to them. So, I lose it. The choice is ultimately mine, but it’s a choice of a life: mine or Christ’s?
The Choice is Yours
We get our feelings hurt all the time. I mean, you’ve had yours hurt, right? You’ve been offended before, right? How did you react? Do you end up hurting those you love and care about? Perhaps you’re going through a season of hurt right now? Maybe you’ve had a wish, dream, desire, or expectation dashed. What about when it comes to church? Ever been hurt or offended there? I know I have. How are we to react when it’s our brothers and sisters offending or hurting us? Ever consider that it might be the Lord Himself doing the offending? Would you react differently then?
I’ve seen it happen over and over with the Lord and His church. Somebody has a wish, dream, desire, or expectation, and the Lord is quick to dash it. I’ve had a few of those squashed over the years, myself. So, what happens? Some people lash out and try to hurt everybody who says something different than what they think should be happening. Others lay down their own desires for the Lord’s. We have a choice: 1) Lose it or 2) lose It.
What if you are eager to leave the institutional system and get out from under pastoral authority only to have the Lord not meet your idea or expectation of what it means to be free?
- Lose it: “You can’t put law on me! Who gives you the right to tell me what to do? I’m free, and that means I can do anything I want! We don’t need outside help – that’s too much authority!”
- lose It: “Lord, I am not here to please man, but I am here to please You. I am Your bondservant. You have set me free from even the freedom to do whatever I want. My life is not my own, and this church is not my own; they are Yours.”
What if you desire a gospel full of love where we can receive everything the Lord has without it ever costing us anything, and the Lord answers with His cross?
- Lose it: “That’s focusing too much on death, and Jesus is all about Life! I’ve been crucified with Him, and now I live, so I don’t have to give up anything else – it’s already been done! God loves me so much that he’ll give me exactly what I want! I don’t have to bend my will for anything, because God is love, and He’ll bless me because I now always want what He wants and I’ll only ever get what He gets! Everybody’s going to heaven, because God loves us all no matter what!”
- lose It: “Lord, Your love is a sacrificial love. You laid down Your life for me, and my only response is to now lay down my life for You. I’m still human, so I know that my selfish desires can still get in the way of Your life. Thank You that I can choose to express Your life and not my own. Thank You for giving me so much more than whatever I give up for You. Thank You that Your life far outweighs my piddly wants and desires. The more I give up for You, the more I feel and am aware of Your love, because that is the nature of Your love. You are Holy, and You desire a Holy Nation, so all that is not holy in me must be worked out. It’s been perfected in completion, but I’ve still got to walk that out here. Thank You for Your life and love.”
What if you dream of your marriage or family being fixed by the church, and the Lord just makes things harder?
- Lose it: “This church isn’t meeting my needs! My spouse and I aren’t getting along any better than when we were going to an institutional church! My spouse isn’t ’embracing the cross’ like he/she is supposed to! My kids aren’t getting any teaching from the childcare worker! My kids belong in corporate meetings! I don’t care if they’re sleeping through it or playing on video games or talking in the kitchen – at least they’re there and they’ll get something out of it! Your kids distract my kids!”
- lose It: “Lord, You are the loving Bridegroom. You can fulfill every spousal desire I have if only I would give them all to You. I look to You to meet my needs. You are my only need, and I lay down my life for my spouse. Thank You that my children are Your children, and You love them more than I ever could. You died for them just as much as You died for me. You desire them just as much as You desire me. I’m sorry when my desire gets in the way of Your life being freely expressed. Thank You for expressing Your life and love to my family through our interactions and relationship with Your Family.”
I could go on and on and on with example after example. When you go to church, you can shop for what you want, and you’ll eventually find it. When you understand you are the church, you can’t shop for squat, because you realize that the church cannot be separated from Christ; Christ is the Church, and the Church is Christ. Therefore, we get what He wants. And He wants His life expressed on this earth through His people – you and me.
So, the next time you get offended, will you lose it or lose it? Who will you express? Yourself? Or the Life of Jesus Christ? The choice is yours.