UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
I wish I could see people, places and things as God does. But His ways are not my ways (please see Isaiah 55:8-9)…though I hope that my thoughts and views become more like God’s every day.
It was during a time when I was feeling unsettled about myself, my style of dress, and about the books I had written, and were currently writing, that God clearly spoke to me about how skewed my views were. I was internally struggling something fierce.
It was Christmas time, I forget which year. My husband was traveling a lot that year for a German software company he was consulting for. I was feeling a bit lonely, having decorated our Christmas tree by myself.
I have a fondness for all things from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” particularly for Jack Skellington, the bone-thin, well-dressed, main character of the film. I love the movie, especially the music.
God used my fondness for this film to speak to me. It was one of the handful of times I heard God speak to me directly. Clearly, and with authority.
When I finished cleaning up the empty boxes that stored our Christmas decorations, I sat down to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, all the while asking God about the things I was questioning. (Note: Almost always I have a running dialogue with God in my head...is this praying without ceasing? I ask Him questions, ask for help, wisdom, and clarity, and I try to still my thoughts enough to listen to answers.)
If you are not familiar with the plot of the film, our hero Jack is feeling unsettled about who he is, what his purpose is…is he really the Pumpkin King, in charge of Halloween? (Sound familiar!?)
During Jack’s song, “Jack’s Lament,” (sung by Danny Elfman, one of my favorite artists/composers) where he laments his doubts about his purpose and identity, I heard God say to me, very clearly--no--He told me, “BE WHO I MADE YOU TO BE.”
In those few words He clearly spoke to me in my spirit/mind/heart/soul, there were paragraphs of meaning, telling me to turn away from my thoughts of trying to fit in, or change my style, or write a different genre of books that would be more “successful.”
I had been judging myself. Harshly. I based my self-imposed criticism on the shaky ground of perception. Not on Truth.
I was to be God’s “Unearthly Thing.” This world will pass away (please see Matthew 34:35), so I should not try to conform to its ways. God wanted me to authentically be the person He made me to be, and to remain that way. Because then I would be able to fulfill His purpose.
Throughout the duration of the movie, God continued to show me where I was in error about my thinking; about what I thought successful looked like, and what other people think of me isn’t valid, and can sometimes be in direct opposition to God’s purpose.
All these views and criticisms were inhibiting me from using the gifts He gave me for His glory.
When the movie ended, I remained on my couch in awe for quite a while, basking in the glow of having spent the evening with my God Almighty.
I love that He trusted me to “get it,” and hear Him even when He used an animated film, which some church people would never consider viewing (so I have been told), to speak such life-changing words to me. Maybe it was more of God meeting me where I was, of speaking my language, so to speak. Still, I love that the Creator of the Universe would do that with me. A mixed up retro-gothic girl, living in a place she never felt like was home. An Unearthly Thing, for sure.
We are not meant to be one certain way that some might think equates to right living. We are meant to be all things to all people, especially for the sake of sharing Christ and talking about what He has done for me (please see 1 Corinthians 9:22-23). Which I try do, as often as the situation allows.
So this got me thinking about judging others: how can I encounter another person and make assessments about them, especially about superficial stuff? How could I let the (perceived) judgements of others hold any influence over me?
And I have no place to judge others. Why would I want to? It’s not a good place for my mindset to hangout. To be constantly criticizing others would cramp my ability to express kindness and compassion, would it not? If my mind enters “judging” mode, then it’s not in the right frame to pray for others, or help when/where help is needed, or even speak a kind word of encouragement. Would it not also stop up my flow of the Holy Spirit to hear from God?
I know we should be wise and discerning about all things, but does it necessarily include looking down on others? Or would it prompt the desire to look for situations where we could kind, praying ambassadors for Christ?
So many ideas I ponder in my wanderings…while I unashamedly wear my Jack Skellington sweater, or my Jack jacket (which I purchased at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, one of my favorite places on the planet!), or my purple and black Jack dress (which I have not had the courage to wear to church yet, I will soon…hopefully).
And I will smile, and listen for any divine prompting to help others. If a judicious look is thrown my way, I will continue to smile, and ask God to help me kind, compassionate, and loving, just like He is.
I am still struggling with the bad habit of criticizing myself. While I am writing this article, this whiny, shrill voice in head is telling me this article will not be good, and will have no spiritual or interest value to anyone. But my logical and sanctified mind knows I have prayed throughout its composition. And I know the fulfillment of God’s work does not depend on my ability. He chooses to use me, and He equips me. Such an honor, and an act of love.
The Creator created each of us uniquely, for His unique purposes. We are all parts of the same body, each part with its own gift and purpose (please see Romans 12:4-6). No part is greater than the other, and all parts are used and guided by God Himself. How lovely is that?