Emptying Myself

The green trees collided perfectly with the red splattered clouds against the blue sky this morning. Sunrises always make me smile. However, this morning, as I walked down the hill to my favorite coffeeshop, the Creator’s unique painting of the sky gave me pause.

Passing by a house that towered above the other houses, I noticed the sunrise reflected perfectly in the third level window. Every splotch of red and dash of blue was captured in the clean, empty window. As I walked further, the small amount of sunlight was magnified when it hit the window just right. 

Does my life do that, Lord? I thought. Is my life empty enough to reflect You? When people look at me, do they see You? Or do they only see my pride with a small attempt to reflect you on occasion?

I’ve said it a thousand times before. Biblical Christianity is weird. The world strives to teach us that our #1 goal needs to be standing out as an independent, awe-inspiring, basically egotistical, one-man show. The more people act as if we are the end-all to everything successful, the better.

But then Christ calls us to be “less than” in everything. The world calls us to be everything. Christ calls us to be nothing and let Him be everything within us.

It’s scary, being called to nothing. Initially the fear, “what if I’m not enough?” comes up constantly. To be honest, I don’t think that inward war ever goes away. No matter how much Christ comes through, no matter how old we get, there will always be a battle to be “more” so we can prove ourselves. 

Just like the sunrise in the window this morning, though, we start to learn that the more we’re comfortable in our emptiness and weakness, the more Christ can shine. 

Learn to accept being an empty canvas. Christ can fill more space in your life that way.

I Trusted a Cop 

One of my dearest supporters growing up was a cop. We were 3,200 miles apart but my day was either filled with two emails from him or an hour-long phone conversation. The only days I didn’t hear from him were holidays. If he “skipped” a day, he always warned me beforehand or gave me an extensive explanation later on.

Terry was the way I survived my teen years. Terry understood I needed him despite the fact that I wasn’t in trouble and he wasn’t pursuing me because I broke the law. My perception of cops was protected for 22 years because of Terry. Even when one of my closest friends became a black man and I started questioning the authenticity of law enforcement, I had Terry as proof that some cops understood their job goes beyond the badge.

During one phone conversation, Terry was anything but his upbeat self. He had always treated me as a “Prayer Warrior” despite my immature and naive ways. Brokenly, he asked me to pray for an unnamed 2nd-grader whom he had just picked up. The kid had drugs in his backpack — obviously belonging to his parents. There were no racial slurs. There was no major character judgments. There wasn’t even a violent desire to apprehend the parents and pay them back for what they had done to their son.

The only thing Terry wanted was to protect the boy and give the parents a second chance free of charge. He couldn’t do that last part; he was, after all, a cop. But he went about his job, praying every second of every day. He was not out to get an award. He wanted to make a difference. Even when it hurt.

Today, law enforcement is different. I respect that. I have memories myself of times where I feel as if certain parties of law enforcement could have done much, much better. Unfortunately, there have been moments where, out of shock, hurt and anger, I’ve joined the throng of people muttering, “Cops don’t do anything.”

It’s not true, though. There are still people out there exactly like Terry today. Yes, recent events have led me to wonder even more about what this world is coming to when someone is handed authority and a gun. But making blanket statements about the usefulness, trustworthiness and twistedness of all law enforcement is wrong. 

Be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. I’m not saying deny truth; but make every effort to solidify that what you believe about “that cop” is truth. This isn’t a story of Cops versus Citizen. Ultimately, this is a story of Broken versus Broken. This world sucks. 

Not all cops are bad. Not all cops can’t be trusted. When you title cops worthless, you are including the men and women who truly try to do their job in a Biblical way.

Be careful, dear ones. Don’t let your pain lead you to believe absolute truths that aren’t absolute truths.