The Record Player

I have a record player in my head. Any time I am feeling down, or insecure, the record player starts playing. It’s a voice that goes over all my accomplishments. In high school you did this…When you were in college you did this…Remember that time you did that one thing? And all these things are the “good” things that I feel like I have done. Places where I have excelled. Things I have mastered. Memories of me being great. Basically a list of all my righteous deeds. 

The other day I was having an interesting conversation with someone about different religions and the main point that we landed on was “good works”. I was explaining that in Christianity, we don’t believe that our good works save us. The only thing that saves us is the work that Jesus did on the cross. His forgiveness of our sins. All the good deeds in the world won’t get us into heaven. Just the grace of God that is offered us through belief in Jesus. 

Now, I know these things. I’ve been taught these things for a long time. But that record player still exists. My list of good deeds makes me feel better about myself. Boosts my confidence, soothes my low self-esteem. Justifies my behavior. (Maybe I messed up here, but look, usually I’m a good person!)

Last night I heard the record player turn on, but instead of listening to the voice, reliving all the good memories, I stepped back a pace, and questioned why this record player even existed? Why do I do this? 

I have been trying to take these thoughts captive today. Bring them to a halt. All those good things do nothing to give you worth. Your worth comes from being loved by Jesus. He is one that has done all the work, not you. 

This last Sunday I watched the first episode of the second season of THE CHOSEN. If you have not watched season 1, I highly, highly, highly, recommend it. You can get The Chosen App, free, in your app store and see all the episodes free. Season 2 is just starting to come out. 

Something that really stood out to me was the foreignness of Jesus. He said and did things that the disciples were not expecting, took them off guard, had them constantly guessing what was going to happen next. This stood out to me because I feel like now, so many years later, we think we have Jesus figured out. We have the scriptures to read, we know the stories, we have developed elaborate traditions around the life and work of Jesus. He fits very comfortably inside a beautiful box. We are very comfortable with the Jesus that exists in our heads. And that comfortableness makes us complacent, stuck in our ruts. 

Watching The Chosen brought home to me that I don’t have Jesus all figured out. He is his own person, God in fact, and I do not understand all of his ways, nor do I perfectly walk in all of his ways. And I feel empathy with the disciples. They didn’t get it right away. In fact, even after three years of walking with Jesus, (in person!) they still messed up sometimes. And my heart feels full of thankfulness at the grace Jesus gave the disciples and that he gives me, now. Yes, I’ve been walking with him, most of my life, but I still sometimes completely miss the point. My record player turns on and I cling to my own good works, completely forgetting that I am saved by Grace, Jesus’ work on the cross, His Forgiveness. My worth comes, not from being a “good” person, but from being a child of God. 

Jesus and the Spaghetti Dinner

This past week I started watching the show THE CHOSEN put out by VidAngel. I’ve seen three episodes so far. It’s about Jesus’ time of ministry and the people he called. I think what has been most impactful has been seeing Jesus as a person, living and interacting.  My kids watched with us, though I think the different plots swirling around were a bit too confusing for them. In the first episode, Jesus didn’t show up till the very end. The kids were asking all kinds of questions, the biggest one, WHO IS THAT? That’s Jesus. WHAT?? Is he a ghost? Can those other people see him? Is he flesh and blood? (Yes, those were all genuine questions I fielded.) And it occured to me that my kids did not have a good grasp on the fact that Jesus was a living person who walked this earth. So, it’s been good for all of us. 

 

That first night after I watched the first episode, I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night. I have struggled with insomnia my whole life and find that it always gets worse when I’m really stressed. As I lay there, my mind went back to the show and I had the thought, What  would it be like if Jesus came over to our house for supper? I lay there thinking about it. I could picture him sitting at the end of the table, watching all the kids, grinning at their antics and excited conversation. I imagined how gratifying it would be for him to casually put his hand on my husband’s shoulder, tell him he’s doing a good job caring for his family. I imagined how the kids would be tumbling over themselves trying to get his attention first and tell him all about their favorite toy or the game they had just played. 

 

The next day,  I mentioned it to my husband, What if Jesus came over to our house for supper? The first thing out of his mouth was, You would be so stressed out! 

 

What?

 

What was he talking about? Me? Stressed out? I was bewildered. He stared at me. I stared at him. 

 

I suddenly remembered how crazy I get when new people are coming to my house for dinner. Everything has to be completely cleaned and organized. I even start scrubbing walls. I agonize over what to cook for dinner and I start barking orders at everybody. 

 

This is for new people. If you’ve been amy house a couple times then I’m going to relax. We’ll tidy up the house and I’ll still try to cook something nice, but I’m not going to be nearly as uptight about it. 

 

Ok. I can see where my husband was coming from. 

 

Funny though, in all my imaginations, I never thought about being stressed out.

 

Maybe, though, because Jesus isn’t NEW to my house. He’s here. He’s seen us at our very worst and at our very best. He knows how much junk I have collected under the furniture and how unorganized that closed drawer is. No secrets. 

I’ve been talking to him on a regular basis since I was five years old. 

 

So, maybe I wouldn’t be SUPER stressed, but I guess I would also want to be showing proper respect and honor. Yeah, I think I would want the house clean. I’d want my kids to be wearing nice clothes, not the hole-filled, stain covered play clothes. I’d probably want to pull out my real plates instead of using paper plates. (Jesus and paper plates? That seems weird.) 

 

I think the real problem I would have is What to cook? I am not a gourmet chef. I’m fast and efficient, but not overly creative. With that in mind, I’m thinking, Spaghetti. It’s pretty hard to mess up spaghetti, especially if you are using sauce from a jar, get some garlic bread and salad to make it fancy, and there you go. Anyone can make it, and it pretty much always tastes good. 

 

I admit, I am prone to flights of fancy, but this particular flight is making me happy. 🙂 

 

As my life gets crazier and crazier, I need to be more tuned in to Jesus’ presence in my life. Cause, even though imagining Jesus coming over for a spaghetti dinner is just that, imagination…Jesus actually being in my house is not. His spirit is here, within us. 

 

So, even if I can’t see him physically sitting at my table. He is here. And I think he enjoys watching my kids’ antics, and I think he’s proud of my husband, and I know he loves me.

We are having spaghetti for supper tonight (total coincidence!). I’m thinking I’ll glance up at least once, hoping to see a glimpse of him sitting there, grinning at all of us.