Living It!

But What of Whims? … And Kittens?

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Once today’s blog is published, I run the risk of being seen differently by some who read it. You may be one of those “some”, but know upfront that in this spot and at this moment I really don’t care. This looney, crazed, dazed and oft-confused drama-queen is gleefully – as she writes this – dancing her happy dance.

Been analyzing the idea of “neurotic dependency,” a theory posed by Eugene Peterson, church pastor and creator of “The Message” translation of The Bible. In a commentary used in conjunction with Psalm 131, Peterson expounds on the characteristics of weaned versus un-weaned children, then parallels the two to stages of a follower’s relationship to Christ and weaves into the canvas Psalm 131’s theme of humility.

The commentator makes some great points (refer to “Psalms 101-150 in Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 21” page 197. Waco/Word Books Publisher, 1983 for further reading), but one of his statements hit me square in the heart this week.

“Christian faith,” he writes, “is not neurotic dependency but childlike trust.” Agreed. But just prior to that statement was this sentence describing the neurotic dependent’s – or in his words – the “dishrag saint’s” reliance on God. “We do not have a God who indulges our whims but  a God whom we trust with our destinies.”

Again, agreed. But my mind – being my mind – went full-throttle into overdrive. Am I unfair to think God would allow me some whims AND guide my destiny as long as the indulgences fit His will for me? If that’s against His policy, fine, but…what constitutes a whim as opposed to, say, a true need? I pondered and I panicked and I prayed as I took a mental inventory of my petitions to God in recent days.

I spent the rest of the day chiding myself over all the “pointless whims” I had brought before God in the past week alone. One of the requests I felt especially “stupid” for laying at His feet involved the fate of a little gray kitten. Abandoned, this little furbaby somehow ended up on the doorstep of a local church where my mother attends a community exercise class. The church nurse and a handful of members set about finding a home for the kitten, and last Monday news came that she’d been adopted…to be used as a barnyard cat.

The injustice – to me – in the situation was that this little one had spent the past weeks within the confines of the church building with food, treats, toys, litterbox, love…and maybe most importantly given this heatwave we’re in, air conditioning. The thought was unsettling, and that night as I lay in the dark I asked God on the spur on the moment to be with this kitten as she went to her new home. Then I added a childish, “I wish she didn’t have to go there.”

After Peterson’s commentary surfaced, I felt – well ok – guilty, shamed, condemned for occupying God with such small matters when big matters like the need for world peace are at an all-time high.

This afternoon I went speechless, then couldn’t stop tears of joy when Mom returned from today’s session at the church and told me the four-legged little lady greeted her when she stepped inside the church door. Somehow, the prospective owners didn’t take the kitten…the church has decided to adopt her…AND members have set up an account to cover her healthcare, etc.

In that moment – whim or legitimate request aside – I know I felt indulged. I know I felt loved. And in the words of someone who’s taught me so much about Christ’s love, “I know that I know that I know that I know”…

… I felt God.

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