Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Delving Under Attirude-Or-Don't Mess With Me!

Every once in a while, just when I think I've "delved," God says, "Oh no you haven't. You scratched the surface. Maybe. But you haven't 'delved.'" I thought I delved pretty well when I took a look at attirude. I thought that post delved the dark side of melanoma. I thought that post delved my very real look at a meltdown I had. Attirude is the surface. It's either what folks see or what they catch. It's not the heart of the matter.

You don't get to see the heart. But God does. And, melanoma knows it all too well and plays on it. Often quite effectively. Sometimes though, sometimes, God breaks through and uses it for His purposes. Just like God can redeem our melanoma and use it in ways we never dreamed possible when we were diagnosed, so too, God can take our attirudes and redeem them as well to serve a higher purpose. We are who we are. We have the gifts and graces that we have. We have the skills and educations that also mold us into who we are.

Melanoma seeks to take all that away and make us feel useless and ineffective. It tries to make us and mold us after its will and, sooner or later, especially for people of faith, God breaks through our barriers and defenses and reminds us who we are and we are His. Just as He made us. And He reminds us that He alone is greater than our melanoma and He alone can take all our broken pieces and use us quite effectively just as we are. Where we are. In Melaland.

See, underneath our attirudes is the knowledge of what we live with on a second-by-second basis because it's in us. Or we worry that it is in us because it has been and we know its nature. Even when we put it out of our minds for a while, we know it's there and that knowledge, in an odd kind of way, shapes us into people that can handle what a lot of people can't handle. We can look at the petty and the dangerous. We can look guns in the face and laugh. (I haven't but I know a spunky warrior who did). We can take a stand, even if we stand alone, because we know there's nothing a mere mortal can do to us that's any worse than what melanoma can do to us. And we can lead the charge, unafraid, because we know there's nothing we can't handle. What can man do to me that's worse than melanoma? Absolutely nothing. That creates a "bring it on" and "give me your best shot" attirude. Sooner or later, depending often on what we've endured to survive and thrive, we get there. And when we do, watch out!

God takes our little loaf of bread, breaks it, blesses it, and uses it to feed those who need feeding. Our attirudes can create havoc. Or, our attirudes can bring hope and healing. Our attirudes can tear down. Or, our attirudes can build up. Our attirudes can show the world who we aren't, or they can show the world who we are. And God being God, can use us and our attirudes in all sorts of settings and for all kinds of purposes, not just melanoma related ones.

Aretha Franklin's song Respect has been on my mind since Sunday. For the first time that I can recall, God took my attirude and boldly used it for His purposes outside the world of melanoma. It felt soooo good! It felt good to be who I am now and speak up and speak out and take full charge of a situation that only a God-shaped attirude could take. It felt good to be reminded that I am who I am and that's first, a child of God who is multifaceted as a human being; second, a pastor of a wonderful church; and third, someone who is stage 3b melanoma. Sometimes melanoma tries to mess with that order. Sunday God set melanoma straight.

When anyone tries to mess with me or mess with my church, they don't know who they're messing with. They don't know what I live with. God does however and God knows how to use it.

And I am forever grateful!