Name The (-Tune-) Excuse

Name That Tune- Excuse.

There used to be a TV game show where contestants would ‘name that tune’ in as few notes as possible. Now that I think of it, there was another one where they would ‘fill in the blank’ with a song’s next words. Or how about turning it around and stumping the late night TV show band?

Games shows are one of the biggest ‘genre’ in television. We make a game out of anything: Trivia – what is backwards and forwards. Filling in the letters of cliches and the names of people, places, and things. Savvy product-pricing awareness. Heck, even simply picking the number on a shiny metal case. And, if that’s not enough, we can make a movie about a character trying to get on a game show. (I’m going to insert a link here to my contest for you all to enter the names of the game shows and the movie I just hinted at.)

Today, let’s play “Name That Post Subject in 1 Bible Chapter.” Ready? The answer is Romans 7. If you guessed verse 19 “I don’t do the good that I want to do. I do the evil that I don’t want to do.” Ding, ding, ding! Honorable mention if you were too busy watching a game show or soap opera to respond in the time allowed.

Yes, a game out of anything. Everything. A game out of knowing or not knowing. A game out of doing or not doing. Ah, that last one is my favorite! Not doing what I know I should. What I know is good. When I know I should. When I know I could. Playing “Instead.” AKA Name That Excuse: It’s boring. It’s not fun. I don’t feel well. I don’t wanna get up even. I just don’t feel like it. It doesn’t really matter. It’s “their” fault. I’m stressed out. I’m staying in. I’m hurt, angry, lonely, tired. The devil made me do it. It’s not real – doesn’t really matter. I’m scared it WILL turn out the way God promised.

Ever play that last one? It’s where you intently squeeze those eyelids shut tight, and ignore God’s signs and Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” I’m really good at it. I always seems to start by playing – again – that seemingly-harmless “Let’s see if my life is truly unmanageable and I’m still powerless over my addictions and compulsive behaviors. (Step 1 of the 12 Steps.)” AKA It’s not that I can’t start but that I don’t stop. Playing games. Doing the evil (or the idle) that I don’t want to do. Reading fiction all day. Sleeping. Watching TV (sports games, for me). Busy work. Analysis paralysis. Even being so heavenly minded that I’m of no earthly use. Playing a pointless, meaningless video game for an entire day.

How about James 1? If you answered verse 8 “double-minded and unstable in all his ways”, ding again! This one is where “It’s not real – it doesn’t really matter” creeps into my thinking. We can make a game out of everything and we can make light of everything. Just not taking life seriously. Missing opportunities to be God’s hands, feet, and voice. Or worse, the sick game of “I don’t deserve God’s good stuff” or “Because I can (Cheap Grace)”.

But.

Perhaps I’m being too negative. I do, after all, have one sort-of game that is positive: how soon can I dig into the word today? The answer is usually “just as soon as the coffee is made.” Another name for it is “Name that Child of God, and watch God pick him/her up AGAIN.” The Bible chapter for this game? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember the wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong,but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. Love will never end…  (ERV)

I could write more, but now it’s time to play “Mission Impossible (aka Your mission for today, if you decide to accept it, is this to do list…)”

PS I deleted the shortcut to the game off the desktop. Maybe I’ll forget it’s there?

Backwards, get it?

I’m always getting it backwards. Perhaps it’s always from thinking too much, and not taking action soon enough. Y’know, just do it right (not perfect, not ready yet) vs just doing it (go!).

Take one of my favorite verses, Psalm 56:3: Whenever I am afraid, I trust in you. (My wording.) It’s so easy to get it backwards. “When I am afraid, that’s when I trust in you” easily becomes “when I trust, I am afraid” becomes “I’m afraid when I trust in you.” Do you see? Which causes what? Does the fear cause the trust, or can the trust cause the fear?

Certainly, now that I think about it – even a little, it’s both. God has done and continues to do such scary, amazing things in my life. (If you know my story, you know I recently went through 18 months of unbelievable health struggles: kidney failure, open-heart surgery, having part of my colon removed. And, if you don’t know my story, I’m available to share it!) Now I’m trusting in God to lead me through a new chapter in life, Sharing His Story by praysing, talking, and writing about it – about him. Trusting that he’ll provide.

Certainly, I’ve always been easily afraid, and in the past, I’ve trusted in things of this world – a lot – too much: alcohol, video games, pornography, this job/that job, big paychecks and spending it all, parties, friends and fun things to do, my health. (Can I even say ‘at least I’ve got my health’ anymore?) Those things ended up not providing anything good in the long run, just wasted time and money. Well, maybe there are some good memories in there, but I was usually drunk, so I can’t remember them clearly.

Was I ever not afraid? I suppose there were times when I was confident in what I was doing. I was much younger then. Maybe I didn’t know any better. I made plans and expected certain results. Sometimes, things happened the way I thought they would. But you know that old cliche: life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Life went in directions I never expected. Certainly, in ways I wasn’t prepared for. And it all came crashing down, and that’s when (and where) God finally found me. Or I found him (but I don’t think we can take credit for anything except the mistakes.)

These days, I realize – I’ve been taught by  experience – that there are things I can not change. I have to accept them. There are things I can change. I need a whole lot of courage to take on these challenges. And it’s so very difficult to know the difference between the two. I desperately need to be given wisdom. To be shown how to trust, regardless of the fear.

Certainly, it could just be trusting in my own wording: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, is the form the Easy-to-Read (ERV) version uses. “But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you” (CEV). “Even when I am afraid, I still trust in you.” (GW) These make the correct order (fear? Then trust) much more clear. That makes it easier for me to remember that God has this. He’s got it rightwards.

I really like the TLB translation:

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man (including, and especially myself) do to me?