Saturday, March 6, 2010

the darkness of drama

'...if you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.' ~isaiah 58:9-10

in preparation for the work i am hoping to do with orphans in central africa i have been reading a book called 'when helping hurts: how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself'.

i use the term 'reading' very loosely these days. i currently have 5 books that i am working on (indicative of my tendency to be 'all over the place')...this is one of them. i am about 1/5 of the way into the book (as i am with the other 4) and i ran across this scripture from isaiah. it jumped out at me on a mental train somewhere else...which led me to sit down and write a few words about where that train was taking me...which is exactly the type of behavior that keeps me from ever FINISHING any of the books that are scattered around my house.

but, i digress (yes...shocking, i know)...

as i read the first part of these verses my brain immediately went to one word - D-R-A-M-A. pointing fingers, malicious's all part of what i like to call 'drama'...just like gossiping and any type of 'keeping us with the joneses' behavior...stuff like that drives me bonkers! it's all rooted in pride and we all know that he is an ugly, ugly beast.

now that i've stepped onto my soapbox let me also say that i have most certainly been guilty of these very behaviors. there is good reason for me to have one of those cheesy verse-a-day calendar squares on my refrigerator from 2007 with proverbs 16:18 staring me in the face - 'pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.' even 3 years of reading it daily is not enough to rid me completely of the pride that is so innate to my being.

one of the biggest reasons that this pride (manifested in DRAMA) is so annoying to me is outlined specifically in this verse from isaiah 58. if we are wasting (and i do mean WASTING) our time and energy on all the drama in our lives we aren't 'spending' ourselves on what really matters.

there are over 140 million orphans in the world right now. i could spend every minute of every day busting my tail to feed them, clothe them, love them, find forever families for them...and it still wouldn't be enough. with all the need around us in this world i find it completely inefficient (and those who know me well know that efficiency is of great value to me) and ridiculously lazy to sit around talking about all kinds of 'he said-she said' mumbo jumbo and getting caught up on the latest gossip when there is work to do in God's kingdom.

so...ok...fine...sometimes we need to stop and examine our circumstances and maybe consult with others (in a constructive way) about what's going on in our lives and the lives of those around us, but we can not STAY there. we have to step back out of ourselves and get back to work on behalf of the hungry, the oppressed, the orphan. if we don't, the darkness starts to creep in and that's not where we are intended to dwell...that's not a place where we can be used...

so today i am praying specifically for myself and those around me that we would not let the drama of everyday life hold us back from the kingdom work we are called to. may our light rise in those dark places...

back to my reading. hmmm...which book now?