"You told me to go back to the beginning...so I have." - Inigo Montoya
The actual beginning of this story was close to 5 months ago. I was playing basketball against a bunch of campers every week while I spent a month working at Lost Canyon. The last week I played, I'm pretty sure I injured myself. In fact, I self-diagnosed with the help of my B.A. in English Literature, and I believe I knocked my pelvis out of whack and now it's pinching a nerve. I know, very technical and acute. Anyway, I've dubbed this "Jacob Hip Syndrome" (please refer to Genesis 32 if you don't understand this joke - it's hilarious, believe me).
So for basically 5 months, I've been like Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove with a little angel on my shoulder saying, "Go to the doctor. Their job is to help you," and a little devil saying, "Don't go. They're scary and want your blood." Also, I didn't want to be an adult and make my own appointments because that is hard and a lot of responsibility. But my mom, Bryn, Jamie, my dad, and everyone who was exposed to me complaining for MONTHS was like, "Go to the doctor because they can help you and you're being annoying." Just kidding. None of them said the last part because they are the best humans but I think they were thinking it. Or maybe I was just thinking it.
Four weeks ago, I finally made the appointment. Last Monday, I finally went. It was actually fine - the lady who takes all the notes on the little computer notebook has a friend from college who works for Young Life (smallest world ever) and the lady who was my doctor was nice even though she still made me wear paper clothes. Haha. So I told her about my hip, and she was slightly concerned that I had experienced numbness for 2-3 months (PAUSE: right now, you might be saying, "Sarah, what about the 5 months you said at the beginning of this post," and I'm saying, "Is lying to a doctor about myself a federal crime???") and so she ordered an MRI.
Last Friday I had my MRI. Now, there are two important things to know about this: 1) I have an ear piercing I can't get out on my own and 2) I am a stomach breather. So I had to go to a piercing place and get my earring out and then later I got yelled at in the MRI because I was "moving my stomach too much" - to which I wanted to respond, "Look, I can either breathe normally or thrash around all panicky because I am STUFFED INTO A TINY TUBE," but I remained calm and exited the MRI with dignity.
Friday afternoon I went back to the piercing place to get my earring put back in my ear and for them to help me put my nose piercing back in because I am bad at it. This guy Noah takes me back to one of the sterile rooms, and we started talking while he put my earring back in. He asked me what I did so I told him about Young Life. He told me he wasn't a Christian, but he was cool with me being one. Then he told me he thought the Pope was a neat guy and quoted Gandhi: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Then he proceeded to have to basically repierce my nose with a blunt object which put a bit of a damper on my new friendship with Noah, BUT Friday ended with my MRI complete, my piercings back where they belong, and a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head.
First, this whole deal with my hip has been a long process because of me. I've taken my sweet time getting it looked at it, and it's just gotten more painful the longer I wait. While we were at College Weekend at Lost Canyon a couple of weeks ago, the speaker - Tank - said this: "Good relationships require someone to take the initiative. Healthy relationships require response." I have been so slow to take initiative in taking care of my own body. I've told myself over and over that it will be fine, I'll get better on my own or I'll just deal with the uncomfortableness because I'd rather other people didn't get involved. Basically, I've been operating under this mindset that I'll take care of it on my own and/or just suffer. Haha. I am the worst. But it got me to thinking: I am so so so grateful Jesus didn't have the same mindset with us. Praise God He took the initiative with our sin condition and saved us. It's like He made the appointment, drove me to the doctor's office, and filled out all of the medical history paperwork for me. Now, all I have to do is answer when my name is called: "Sarah? We're ready for you."
What stops me from responding so often in my life? Jesus has paved the way for me. And it's not like that road is unicorns and daisies from here on out - there are still MRIs, physical therapy appointments, etc. But He got the ball rolling. He took the initiative and made the opportunity to be with Him a possibility for us.
Second, why do I complain about things I am not willing to fix in my life? For real. I whined about my hip for months before I actually scheduled an appointment. I wasn't willing to do anything to fix something that hurt. I didn't want to be a part of the solution. I didn't want to put forth any effort. How dumb is that? And now that I've actually taken a step forward with this situation, I'm starting to realize there are a lot of places in my life that I've been asking God to take some action and change me, but I haven't been willing to join with Him in it. I've been treating Him like a genie while I've been totally unwilling to let go of my own will and allow Him to transform me. In the wise words of Elsa, it's time for me to...Let. It. Go.
And finally, that quote by Gandhi fills me with this weird, deep sorrow. I feel like, "Dangit. What have we done? What have I done?" I am so drawn to Jesus, and I want everyone to see Him and know Him for who He truly is, but a lot of the time I'm not very good at being like Christ. But how incredible is it that a random piercing guy who really isn't that hot to trot on Christians realizes that Jesus rocks. How cool must a guy be to continually stand out to people even though the people who claim to know Him misrepresent Him often? I'm disappointed that time after time I get in the way of people truly experiencing Jesus. I cloud the most vibrant personality I've ever known.
But I also don't think being an effective follower of Christ is impossible because this is where the fruits of the Spirit come in, I think. If I let go of my own agenda, if I respond to Jesus' initiative in my life, if I stop trying to force myself to be "a better Christian" and instead embrace Christ for all that He is, allowing His Spirit to fill me up, I think maybe I won't get in the way of His work so often. In fact, I think people might start to see Christ in me. They might see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control spilling out of my life and understand who Jesus is better than they did before they knew me. Like John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Fill me up, Jesus. Empty me of myself so that when people look at me and interact with me, they might experience You fully.
There's a song by the JJ Weeks Band and the chorus goes: "Let them see You in me, let them hear You when I speak, let them feel You when I sing, let them see You, just let them see You in me." This is my prayer. And how cool is it that God is teaching me all of these things in the midst of MRIs and ear piercings? He's so creative. Lord, help me never lose my wonder!