My Brain, The Trampoline

14 02 2012

The message these days is that we are all too hard on ourselves and it is true on some level. Since the invention of the mirror we have gotten far too close a look at our image and it has left some of us oozing with pessimism about our prospects, constantly critical of ourselves, resigned to fail; it’s a problem. All that self-examination and self-absorption has hijacked our ability to see what God sees and has produced far too many Eeyores (described in Wikipedia as a “pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, anhedonic, old grey stuffed donkey”).

 

Why am I thinking about this? I’m just so interested in how Jesus talked to His disciples in Mark 4, probably because I am one of those people sensitive to tone of voice and choice of words and timing (wow, that sounds high maintenance); I think I would have bristled at how Jesus challenged His friends at points. Mark isn’t a wordy guy, so maybe his style of writing makes it even more pointed, but in verse 13 he records Jesus saying,  “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” And a little later in verse 24, “Pay attention to what you hear.” Bam!

I have a sneaking suspicion, were Jesus to come hang out with us Christ-followers in Canada He would have a comment or two about our inability to hear and receive straight talk, particularly around the reading, understanding, and applying of the Bible.

  • I wonder what He would say, when we say that we just can’t read our Bibles because we don’t “get it.”  (As noted above, verse 13 and 24 would likely be His response)
  • I wonder how He would handle our repetitive questions (“Didn’t I already tell you that? Pretty sure that is in Galatians. You’ve read it before.”)
  • I wonder what He would do with our blatant disobedience to some of His favorite passages having to do with loving God, loving people and living lives on mission (a variation of “smarten up” perhaps).

See, we don’t want to be “hard” on ourselves, but can we at least be honest with ourselves? We talk about how we only use 10% of our brains; maybe we have chosen that. Maybe that’s just lame. Maybe Jesus was challenging His friends to break the brain barrier and tap into the other 90%. It seems He believed this was possible. It was possible to understand His words, if only we would pay attention.

When I look at my week, I see how lazy my brain can be. I can stare at God’s Word or hear a message or even know what I should do and my brain is like a trampoline for words and ideas and instructions that are actually supposed to land and stick (boing…boing…).

I think I know what Jesus would say to me: engage. One of the “love Me with all your…” verses, is “Love me with all your MIND.”  There are lots of days when Jesus would call me to engage my MIND in loving Him.

Come on Teresa, lean in this morning; be sharp. Think. Process. Figure it out. Don’t just close the book because you don’t immediately get it. Dig in. Read it. Understand it. Apply it.

Not everyone is a scholar, but everyone is a student. We might be a slow student, an easily distracted student; we might even be a student who was held back a while during a rough patch, but all of us can, with the hands on help of the Holy Spirit, have ears that hear, minds that understand, and a will that resolves to follow His.

There is a difference between being hard on yourself, and doing something that is, at times, hard. Jesus called His friends to pay attention and to understand; really think, don’t let yourself off the hook, and grapple with it. He wouldn’t ask any less of us.

— Teresa Klassen

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