Monday, November 12, 2007

On the Beach Somewhere Between Tarshish and Ninevah

What are you holding onto and carrying just because you think you have to say, "Yes, ok, yeah, I can do that" ??

Over at Faithchicks I was reading a post by Susan May Warren (no relation, just common last name.)

She had some sort of dream about not throwing out her Tupperware, and saying yes because she wants to help so many in her life. And she had two pages of "To-Do" on college-ruled paper. Things like, "Save the world, run the million-dollar church fundraiser, find the cure for lousy plotlines and characters..."--well, something like that. While Susan doesn't want her Tupperware thrown out, I hang on to the Salad Shooter that my now-dead mother gave to me about 12 years ago. My heirloom Salad Shooter which has never been used (I really thought about using it once.) I mean, shouldn't I be getting rid of some things in my life? Just say no.

I have to confess to you right now--I sometimes say yes out of guilt for wanting to say no. I have no ambitions to be nice and to actually say yes because I want to--I say yes because I really am thinking, "There is no way I'll do that." I feel awful about that. And sometimes I see the shadow of a giant fish bearing down on me.(At least I still have a conscience.)

Yes, sometimes I feel just like Jonah. I TRY to listen to God and do what He wants ME to do. Seriously. I try. But there are times when I end up thrown overboard in a storm and land smack-dab in the stinky, lonely belly of the fish, wanting someone who has me in their belly to just throw me up. (My boys would be proud of a gross description like that.)Do you think tomato juice and vinegar would get that stench off?

But I'd be sitting there on the beach, wondering just what happened, and thinking, man, I need a bath and a manicure, and I survived all that for what??? Oh, yeah, I have to go to Ninevah and thankewverrymuch, but I don't want to go to Ninevah. So, if you are saying no,(Learn to Say No--The Hard Way) and God said, "Yeah, I'm serious, Ms.JonahCrystal," and you can take the tough way to Ninevah. Do you see what I mean, what I'm saying here? I have learned to say no, and to say it well, and ask questions later. Not always good.

God's purposes never change. He is a gracious and compassionate God--even Jonah knows this. In Jonah (read it--it's a short book!) 4: 1-2: "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord,'O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.'"

This is kind of comical, if it weren't so serious. Jonah KNEW God was going to give the lowdown dirty Ninevites(they were the worst people ever--really horrible people) a break, and he is fireball mad. He's kind of arrogant, too. He is so sure that he is Ninevah's last hope, that if HE doesn't do it, then it won't get done.

We're like that sometimes, I think. We think "If I won't do it, it won't get done." And sometimes that isn't true, but sometimes it is true. God has His purposes and He expects you to be right in the middle of His plans.

I just hope that when I finally get to Ninevah that my joy isn't clouded because I didn't want to do that job (because you know how gracious and compassionate God is!) Sometimes when God is saving the world, He's also giving you(ok, I mean me) an attitude adjustment.

Ok, write that stinking story. Start on it today.I'm God's favorite one and He is sending me a Big Fishy Stomach-Acid Bath, if I don't watch it and I keep putting it off. How about you? What Big Fish is bearing down on you?


Kim said...

This is my first visit to your blog, and this article just nailed me to the floor! Thank you for posting what God laid on your heart. I am praying that I can be obedient and avoid the big fish this time. Thanks again!


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Great post, Crystal!

I find it hard to say NO, too, even though it takes me out of my comfort zone. Maybe that's why I've become a bit of a hermit these days. That way I won't be confronted with something that needs to be done and feel 'guilted' into accepting it.

On the other hand, I pray that I would be able to discern if that 'job' was one God called me to.

You've given me food for thought -- and NOT fish.


Crystal Laine said...

Kim, Thanks so much for coming! If you are interested in authors, do check out that was started here and is slowly migrating over there.

Peg, thank you for leaving a comment and letting me know what you're thinking about these days. I'll be over to your site soon to catch up!