I have a problem with compartments.
In classic Monzi form… I’m always stressed about a lot of things all at once. Instead of dealing with them head on ((mostly because I would run away in the forest and become a bush woman)) I compartmentalize ((try and say that 5 times fast!)) each thing and deal with them as they come up. I do this for several reasons, but mostly because I don’t want my stresses to affect my day to day life.
This, however, is a problem because I compartmentalize EVERYTHING. My social life, my church life, my work life, my home life, my life life…everything. Then, I try to deal with them on my own. Classic independent dumb choice human nature Monzi.
If you been following my crazy, you know I’ve lived a life full of independence from God trying to handle things in my own strength or I just don’t handle anything and pretend things don’t exist. And if you’ve been following my crazy you’ll also know I’ve started to face up to a lot of things (mostly my emotions) and allow God to deal with them. But what does this have to do with my compartment problem?!
Well, Cleetus, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Christmas time is here.
Christmas is known to most people as a time for Santa, love, food, gifts, food, stress, food, family, stress, food, stress, debt, food stress…oh, and did I mention food and stress? But for a good chunk of us, this season is about JESUS!! woooo!!
…or so we think.
Year after year, season after season, service after service we hear how sweet, baby Jesus was born in a lowly manger cuz there was no room at the inn. The shepherds kept their flock, while the angels rejoiced, the wise men worshipped, and the little drummer boy played some sick beats. But for those of us who have grown up in Church or whom have known the Lord for some time… we tend to forget and even cheapen the seriousness of what ACTUALLY happened with the birth of our Savior. In an effort to remind you… here is the first edition of WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS for your reading pleasure:
See, What Had Happened Was…
all knowing, all powerful,
all mighty, creator of all, the Highest of High,
perfect, holy, divine…etc))
made himself Flesh…like us.
((NOT all knowing, NOT all powerful, NOT all mighty,
NOT creator of all, NOT the highest,
NOT perfect, NOT holy,
very much gross, very sinful,
not be confused with the U.S.
which is full of people like US!
THAT’S what happened.
Thank you for viewing the first edition of What Had Happened Was. Now back to your regularly scheduled Monzi already in progress…
While Jesus was 100% God in his humanness…He still HUMBLED Himself to also be 100% human! This ALL POWERFUL GOD had to rely on 2 teenagers to keep Him alive. This ALL KNOWING God had to learn how to walk, how to talk, how to write, how to read, etc. This PERFECT, HOLY God had to be tempted with nonsense and fight His flesh just as much as we have to every day. He dwelt with us– he BECAME us and did it all without sinning so he could die for us?!
I still don’t get how that is even possible… but it’s God. So let me stop trying to understand before my brain explodes.
So, what does the birth of Jesus have to do with my compartments?! Great question, Cleetus…we’re getting there.
There are silly nillys ((or am I the only one?)) who think that God doesn’t care about all the things going on their lives. We think that He doesn’t need or care to be bothered with how much we dislike our job, or how frustrated we are with health, or even the smallest thing like how we could really use a good laugh at least once a day.
God cares so much about every bit of our humanity that He entered into every bit of our humanity. That’s what Christmas is all about it! Christ cracked into history, made Himself like us to die for us and to live in us so He could have a relationship with us?! Talk about selflessness am I right?!
God with me.
I’ve had a bad couple of weeks. I’ve been dealing with health issues, emotional issues, work issues, spiritual issues…you name it! And as I said earlier before, each of my issues has gone in a little compartment in my brain/heart only to be dealt with one at a time.
However, to put it delicately, I DO DUMB STUFF. I don’t let God dwell with me in the areas where I need Him most. But A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE HAPPENED! Each issue I was having ((every. single. one.)) has been either taken care of or I have peace about it. Why? Because for every. single. one. of those situations, I allowed Jesus to be who He is supposed to be: God with us, or more personally… God with me.
How Did We Even Get Here?!
Choosing God and allowing Him access to my crazy compartments didn’t happen over night. As I look back, however, it’s funny the perfect journey the Lord will bring you on in your imperfect walk with Him. When we are faithful and steadfast with the Lord, we’re brought to a place where we’re doing what He commands without even realizing we’re doing it. Then we look back and we’re like …who even am I?! How did I even get here!?
For me, this has been a long process and to help you understand… Here is my second edition of the infamous WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS for your reading pleasure:
See, what had happened was…
He first needed to stress that He loves me. Like truly, madly, deeply, chick-a-cherry cola loves me. NOTHING could ever separate me from His love because He IS love. He was here and He’s here to stay. He won’t leave me. He won’t forsake me. He’s my ride or die. This fact helped to heal me in ways you can’t even imagine because… I get left. I’m used to working to earn people’s love and then having them leave me in the process. Up until that point, I believed that’s how God worked too. He knew me well enough to show me that He loved me “just because” and I didn’t have to earn His love. And no matter what… He wouldn’t leave me or forsake me.
Next, He told me that BECAUSE he loves me, I can be 100% transparent with Him. This was a huge thing cuz I was never 100% transparent with ANYONE. Not even myself. This opened my heart to Him because I realized He actually CARES. He legit takes an interest in my life. He wants to know how my day went. He wants to know what makes me happy and what makes me sad. He even cares that I stub my toe! He wanted me to be 100% with Him not because of obligation, but because He loves me much.
With all this… then He reminded me I am FORGIVEN! This was huge. I carried so much burden in trying to work for my forgiveness and salvation because I thought He could forgive anyone of anything…except for me. He truly showed me the power of the cross, the abundance of His grace and the limitlessness of His forgiveness. Because I knew I was loved and could be honest with my God… I could confess my sins knowing that He wouldn’t up and leave, but He’d be faithful and just to forgive and continue walking with me.
Now, this was a lot to take in. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect change in a millisecond. He is so patient, faithful and gentle in how he deals with us working out our salvation. I still struggle with this sometimes. Except now, instead of just knowing about salvation… I experience God’s saving grace day in and day out.
SO there I was.
I was loved.
I could be honest.
I was forgiven…
and this brought me to my grand finale which has EVERYTHING to do with my compartments!
I could cry out to Jesus at anytime for anything.
Side note: I hate crying. It’s the worst. My eyes get all puffy, my face feels numb. My sinuses get all inflamed and it sounds like I’m sick. Plus, tears show me how weak I am. Tears show vulnerability. Tears make your face wet.
I don’t like crying no sir or ma’am.
I don’t like crying Sam-I-Am.
God has away of ruining my life in the best way though…
When I really surrender and Holy Spirit is truly working and changing me TEARS are His currency. He gives me healing, I give him tears. He gives me revelation, I give Him sobs. He gives me His presence and weeps are my confirmation that the Spirit of the Lord is near. So basically God’s like “You wanna be tight with me? You better get the Kleenex ready…”
Crying out to Jesus is the best lesson I’ve ever learned. It’s helped me not to be afraid of showing my emotions because if Jesus can handle it… nothing else matters. More importantly it taught me what it means to to literally cry out to Jesus. Crying out to Jesus is all He wants from us. We can’t do ANYTHING on our own. It’s in these moments of weakness and vulnerability He was able to strengthen me, heal me, love me, and put me back together.
So…that’s what happened.
Thank you for viewing the second edition of What Had Happened Was. Now back to your regularly scheduled Monzi already in progress…
Back to the Future
So fast-forward to now. I’ve learned all these great things about who God is and what He can do in my life… but I’m still only letting Him touch certain areas. I’m frustrated with so many things in my compartmentalized life. I’m trying to survive it all on my own with no one else’s help. My heart is cold. My walls are being built back up. I’m trying to avoid hurt as much as possible… and then God reminds me of Himself.
I love you.
I haven’t gone anywhere.
You can be honest with Me.
Cry out to me!!
I had no choice… I just broke down before God. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to over-spiritualize it. I didn’t need a deep theological discussion about it with myself to motivate myself. I just did what I knew worked.
I went to the One who has shown up time and time again. But instead of only letting Him in to one aspect of my life, He’d prepared me to open up all my compartments. He is GOD WITH ME and He is with me in every aspect of my life. He not only sees my heartache and pain; He sees my disappointments. He sees my stress. He sees my joy. He sees my nervousness. He see my thirst for more of Him and more of my purpose. In the past I’d only thought He wanted access to certain areas ((or maybe I was avoiding giving an all access pass)) but now I was able to allow this amazing God entry into all the parts of my humanness because Jesus made a way for me to access all the parts of His Godness. Because Jesus humbled himself, entered humanity and died for humanity– and I don’t have to suffer carrying all my compartments alone.
And because of my breakdown ((and a great sermon on Sunday)) it began to look a lot like Christmas. Not only because it’s the end of December, but because Christmas is everyday. How? Cuz, Cleetus, Christmas is GOD WITH US.
Christmas time is here… But Jesus never left.
God wasn’t just with us when Jesus walked the Earth. He’s not just with us in our devotions. He doesn’t just pop His head in when we’re in a bind… He is CONSTANTLY with us. But WE have to acknowledge His presence and let Him in every one of our compartments. In fact, when we surrender fully to Him…there’s no need for compartments because He gives us the strength we need deal instead of pushing everything to the way side. Is God awesome or what?!
As I sit here and type this out thinking back to where I was, where He’s brought me and where He’s bringing me, I’m overwhelmed by His grace and intentionality. Every desert, every storm, every trial has gotten me to where I am right now. He’s broken me, He’s changed me, He’s building me and He loves me through and through. It’s hard, yes, and I don’t even realize what’s going on 90% of the time… nevertheless, He has made me more like Him and more into the woman of God He’s wanted me to be. I am beyond thankful for everything He is to me. He’s all I could ever ask for.
This Chrismas, Cleetus, I encourage you to take a look at the God with YOU. He’s always making moves! Ask Him to show you His touches on your life, His lessons in the trials, and His eternal love in every corner. Let go and let Him be Emmanuel.
- Let God be with you.
- Jesus is the reason for the season.
- God is SO SO SO SO SO SO SO good.
- I have so much good news to tell in the new year.
- For your yuletide listening pleasure… the Jackson 5 Christmas album! My favorite Christmas album of all time. You’re welcome.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!
Until next time,
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means
‘God is with us.'”
~Matthew 1:23 NLT