Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This is going to hurt

This next guest post is from Marla Taviano, whom I love, and with whom I might just have been separated from at birth. Because I could have written almost exactly these words.


I like to be comfortable. I also like to be in control. And while we're at it, I like attention, I want everybody to like me, and I have a great big temper.

Shoot. Why stop now when I'm on a roll? I hardly ever clean my bathrooms. When I feed my family, I sacrifice healthy for cheap. I can be awfully critical. I'm pretty sure I'm almost always right. I have an aversion to the PTA. And I spend hours reading (or napping) on my bed while my kiddos fend for themselves (and watch entire seasons of Full House and Punky Brewster).

And believe me, you're not hearing the half of it (I want people to like me, remember?).

But here's the good news.

I've discovered that God is so big he can work around (and with!) all my crap and still use me anyway. I'm blown away really by how he wields his magic with my weaknesses and total blew-its to somehow get himself some glory. A lot of glory.

It's craziness.

And there's more good news.

I can't quite put a finger on it, but he's been working on my heart BIG TIME lately. See, I've always kind of secretly thought God might have big plans for my life. I mean, let's be real here. I'm smart and funny and write books and have cute kids. It'd be kind of a waste for him not to make something big out of it all, right? (Are you rolling your eyes? You should totally be rolling your eyes.)

So yeah, big, big dreams that all revolve around me and me and ME, ME, ME.

It took 34 long years, but I've finally connected enough of the dots to realize that my perpetual self-centeredness is waaaay off base. God does have big plans. And he's including me in them. But they're HIS big plans and they're for HIM. Happily, I get to come along for the ride.

And what a ride it is. It's fast (except when it's slow). And it's bumpy. And jerky. And is even giving me bruises. A bunch of big, ugly bruises.

Here's the deal. Back in July, my husband Gabe and I spent 10 days in Cambodia (a little country in SE Asia that borders Vietnam and Thailand). It rocked my world, y'all (and no, I'm not from the South, but my beautiful southern bloggy friends have totally sucked me in to mooching their jargon).

Cambodia. Rocked. My. World.

I saw poverty that made my heart ache. I met people and heard stories that ripped my heart in two. At one point, I sat in a renovated building that had once been a child brothel and bawled my eyes out. The new building was beautiful, but the workers had left a reminder of what had been.

Stall #9. An ugly cement structure barely big enough to walk around in. A bed made of slats of wood where a little girl (as young as 5) would stay chained until it was time for her to be used again. As many as 40 times a day.

My girls are 9, 8 and 4. I bawled.

We spent hours and hours with 20 beautiful, rescued children in an orphanage (that our church in Columbus, OH supports). As I held those darling, happy little girls on my lap and hugged their necks, I choked back tears as I thought of what their fate might have been. Would have been.

And this is just one tiny corner of our big, huge world. There is sooooooo much need.

It can't be about me anymore.

It has to be about GOD. And the precious people all across the globe that need him-and food, shelter, love, protection and hope-so desperately.

And it's high time I sacrificed my comfort and control and my "need" for attention and popularity in order that others might have a chance at life and hope.

God is chipping away at my heart. And it hurts and feels really, really good all at the same time. There's way too much to fit into a cute little guest post, and I've been slowly working through some of it over at my blog, but God is yanking on me. And I'm moving. Sure I've got a loooooong way to go, but I can already look back and see a trail of where I've been.

How about you? Are you wondering if maybe there's more to your life than just YOU? Do you think maybe God might have some (or a lot of) work he could do on your heart? But maybe you don't even know where to begin?

I have a place for you to begin.


 
A bunch of us are going to be reading through David Platt's book, Radical, in September and October. I've read it twice in the past month, and it's eating me alive.

You should totally read it with us. It'll hurt (and that's a promise), but it'll feel really, really good too.

Please allow me to cordially and giddily invite you to join us for our Radical Read-Along. We would simply LOVE to have you! Come over here for all the details about how to join us!

And I'd love to hear how God has been chipping away at your heart lately if you're up for sharing.

Thanks for having me, Missy! I love you, beautiful girl!

20 comments:

  1. Y'all are speaking my heart. I've already started reading Radical and I'd LOVE to join.

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  2. This is great. I've read Radical and love/hate it!

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  3. Could use a little shake up here. Just ordered my book!

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  4. This is so beautiful...and seems to be straight out of my heart as well...Our God is SO cool. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Great post! And I could have written the first few paragrahs, too, but I've never been to Cambodia. I feel like there is more that I could do, should do, but I don't know what. Maybe I should join in with this read-along.

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  6. Thank you so much for this post! I have been having a similar conversation with God as He moves my husband and I into a sabbatical. Last night we made a list of 100ish things we wanted to accomplish on sabbatical- I will be adding this book to the list. Thanks again!

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  7. Super post! And I hear ya'! I read Radical a few months ago and it completely messed me up! I read it on the heals of Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" and Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life". Now all three books have meshed together in my mind and my husband's (he read them too) and really changed our priorities and perspectives. Among other things, the books convinced us to get rid of cable and cancel our season tickets to the Broadway shows downtown to be able to give away the money we were spending on those things and use our time more for His glory!

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  8. Another book I can mention in addition to the ones above - Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. Jen is also adopting from Ethiopia.

    http://astore.amazon.com/itsalmnap-20/detail/1600062172

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  9. Oh my word, Missy. THANK YOU for the book recommendation. I wrote in my journal this morning, "Remember to ask Megan and Missy for a book or 2 to supplement Radical."

    I did a "search inside the book" of Interrupted and was skimming happily along when one sentence grabbed me HARD and I knew I had to get it.

    Love you, friend!

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  10. Jen has become a friend of mine. She and her husband started a church in Austin whose primary mission is to serve the homeless. She's cool.

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  11. Missy...marla is my real life friend as well and I LOVE her! Fantastic post...straight from her heart, as usual! She doesn't cut corners and i admire and am inspired by her realness! Thanks for letting her share!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your heart ~ I feel like I could have written this (although, I'm not a good writer), but a lot of what is on your heart is on mine as well. Thank you for the encouragement, if nothing else, to know that I am not alone in having a LOOOOOOOng way to go and a lot of chipping away at the heart!

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  13. Wow...I could've written this post (minus the Cambodia part) myself. I've been feeling that same stirring, that same shaking up going on in my own heart. And you're right...it hurts and feels great, all at the same time. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have a burning passion, an unquenchable thirst to do some type of missions work I would have said "you're crazy" and run away! Now it's all I think about...everywhere I look I see needs and my heart aches to meet them. I'm ordering that book RIGHT NOW.

    Thank you for this post...it's nothing short of miraculous confirmation that I'm on the right track.

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  14. Wow...I could've written this post (minus the Cambodia part) myself. I've been feeling that same stirring, that same shaking up going on in my own heart. And you're right...it hurts and feels great, all at the same time. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have a burning passion, an unquenchable thirst to do some type of missions work I would have said "you're crazy" and run away! Now it's all I think about...everywhere I look I see needs and my heart aches to meet them. I'm ordering that book RIGHT NOW.

    Thank you for this post...it's nothing short of miraculous confirmation that I'm on the right track.

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  15. Thank you, girls!! It THRILLS my heart to hear that God is working on all of you too!! I would really, really, REALLY love to have ALL of you join us in reading Radical. There is NO ONE this book doesn't apply to. It's amazing!!

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  16. I love this post Marla! :-) thanks for sharing your heart!

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  17. Mar - I'm leading my little Sunday School class in Interrupted because I can't get enough of this Radical stuff.

    You know I love you both SO SO SO much, right?

    Can't wait for kick-off!

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  18. What an awesome post. God rocked my world like that a few years ago, and I have an adopted daughter from Guatemala as a result of that particular rocking.

    But lately, I've been a little too consumed with ME (my weight, my hair, my blogs, my ministry, my daily schedule, my my my me me me) And just today, I said to God, "I need to get out more. Like out of my HOUSE and into the streets where people are hurting and dying."

    Yes, I actually said that to God today.

    And just the other day, I heard an ad on the radio for that book Radical, and I almost killed someone in the carpool line while I was trying to write the title of it down on my church bulletin. So, off to Amazon I go.

    Thanks for a great post. And thanks Missy for asking her to post here. Awesome.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

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  19. I have read Radical. It slapped me in the face, which lead me to do the same to my husband:) Actually he jumped right on board. We are working hard to follow David Platt's lead. Striving to and toiling and hurting, but it is oh so worth it. We are disgusted with our former lives and I am actually reading the book again and I am leading the book study starting in September. Love the post. Praying this book slaps more of us in the face, and praying that this leads us to give of ourselves and to dive into His word.
    Thanks

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