Monday, June 1, 2015

I went out naked again this morning...and I got caught

It's true.  I did.  And yes, it was "again."

I'd like to say that it's because of age or being forgetful.  I'm only forty-six years old but it can happen.  I'd like to say that it's because I'm stressed, which I am.  Or maybe because I'm busy, which I always am.  But the truth is that I think I just didn't care.  I think that I'm getting hardened, weathered, or calloused, and I just didn't notice.

But the uncomfortable part is getting caught.  Realizing that you are naked.  That you are exposed.  Vulnerable.  Unprepared.  That awkward moment when you look in the other person's eyes and see them seeing you naked.  That is very uncomfortable and embarrassing.  And shameful.

Okay, Renita - what are you talking about?

I'm talking about Colossians 3:12 which says, "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  Unfortunately, when we give our lives to Christ, these characteristics do not become part of our skin.  They do not become part of us.  We are told to clothe ourselves - that means intentionally putting it on.

That also means that these clothes can get dirty and stained - either by us spilling on ourselves, in our human ways, or by others spilling on us, in their human ways.  That means the clothes need to be cleaned.  It also means that these clothes can get holes, can wear out in certain areas, and/or suffer rips and tears.  They need to be sewn, patched, or even replaced.  They need to be checked.

Sometimes it's not that I forget to put them on, but if there's a certain portion of this type of clothing that receives a lot of friction, it can wear out before I've even realized it - and I am exposed, revealed, and embarrassed.

I think I used to be a kinder, gentler, patient, and compassionate person.  I think years of ministry have hardened me in some ways, and I have lost portions of these items of clothing.  I have become cynical and judgmental in some ways.  I want to be clothed again.  I don't want to stay naked.  Not just because of my own embarrassment, but because if I am dead and my life is now with Christ, in God, then I need to represent Him well.

And so I try to remember to put these clothes on daily.  And I try to check for holes.

Next week I leave for Egypt, Kenya, and Ghana.  I'm excited to meet the people from the Middle East Leadership Training Initiative in Egypt and see what God has been doing in and through them.  I look forward to being back in Kenya with the Discipling Marketplace Leaders Kenya team and spend a week in meetings and trainings.  And then I get to go to Ghana and be with old and dear friends, with ICM Ghana and Hopeline Institute.  Please pray that the time in Egypt and Ghana may find people and places that are ready to receive this new concept of Church-based Business as Mission.