Unholy Arthritis

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Diaconal testimonies are often beautiful.  Sometimes they're not pretty at all.  Confronting the hidden depths of my diaconal heart is more like confession than celebration.

Christmas is when Jesus laid aside all his prerogatives. He emptied himself.  And became a servant.

Something odd is happening to me these days. Could it be sanctification?    

The more I get into diaconal dynamics at my church and in my neighborhood, the more complicated things get, and the more I learn about my own need to change, and the Holy Spirit's determination to change me.  I've got my own needs, my own wants, my own hurts, my own places in the heart where I feel sore, or pitiful, or desolate. I've thought I could set the boundaries - I can't enter your pain any further because I need to take care of my own needs.

Jesus is showing me that I don't get to decide when I'm quitting.  And I don't get to decide when I don't want to be bothered.  Yes I can turn off the cell phone, and yes, I think being addicted to it is a problem.  But being preoccupied with my own comfort zone is a different thing.

People just aren't as worried about my convenience and my schedule as they should be.  People aren't committed to making progress at my pace.  People aren't first of all concerned about how wonderful I am because I'm helping them.  Yes, I'm going out of my way -- yes, I'm proud to be making the sacrifice.  Yes, there is a persistent little voice in my ear that says, "Aren't you noble for doing this?!"  

But the Holy Spirit is at work.  I'm learning to hear, to distinguish his voice, to be responsive.  Yes, I've learned it before.  Yes, I'll have to learn it again.  Wouldn't you think having a diaconal heart would erase all that self-serving stuff?  But no, it takes a lifetime of repetition, a life time of discipline. The discipline of discipleship. The discipline of deaconing. Practicing selflessness until I get it right. Being shaped and reshaped to be more and more like Jesus.

I feel like the Holy Spirit is knitting my life into a unity..... Pulling together the places I've been hiding, the pride, the selfishness, the "fronting".... knitting me into one whole person, loved and graced by Jesus, and available to him totally...   and the knitting is knotty, but proceeds anyhow. It's  painful to have things worked together for my good.  Takes some straightening out of long crooked joints that have been locked into position ... poses of holiness, instead of the supple responsiveness that holiness requires.

Lord, please make me into a Christmas deacon.

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Exellent, Karl. It's a constant reforming of our souls.

Karl,

Wow. Amen. Thank you God. This is perhaps the most honest and raw piece that I have ever read from you. It makes me excited and joy filled. Excited because when God lays this kind of ground work hang on for the ride, bcecause it's going to be a fun wild ride! Joy filled - because the things you mention above are amazing.