January 19 Reflections

A song that speaks to my soul is sung by Carrie Underwood. “Jesus, Take the Wheel” tells the story of a young woman with a little baby driving down the road to go home to see her mom and dad, the child’s grandparents. She is reflecting on her life, where she has apparently made a lot of bad choices in relationships, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been living my life, I know I’ve got to change. So, from now on tonight, Jesus take the wheel, take it from my hands, ‘cause I can’t do this on my own. I’m letting go, so give me one more chance and save me from this road I’m on. Oh, Jesus take the wheel.”

There are so many times I try to run my life. I know the right decision. I know how to do this. It ends in an epic failure, often because I try to put myself at the forefront. I am driving with Jesus in the passenger seat or in the backseat. Often because I didn’t think I was worth loving and that Jesus really did not love me, he simply tolerated me. Even in relationships: I know how to handle this, after all I have a Doctorate. But, if my relationships are not surrendered to Jesus, with Jesus driving, unhealth will spread like a virus.

In healthy relationships we have spoken of the “Healthy Relationships Dance.”

1st: Identity (hands out palms up) knowing who we are. For instance, I find my identity in: By God’s grace I am Verlyn loved by Jesus. Held by Jesus. Filled with Jesus’ life.

2nd: Self-definition (one fist raised by your shoulder) Because of who I am this is what I will do, this is what I won’t do. I can say “no.” I can say “yes.” This is where I end. This is where you begin.

3rd: Connection (the opposite hand out as to shake another person’s hand) Even if we might disagree on something, I can still have a relationship with you where we will listen and learn from one another.

4th: Surrender Relations to God (Both arms raise above your head in an act of surrender.) All our relationships are surrender to God.

This week we are going to look to Jesus and how he lived out healthy relationships. Jesus embraced conflict and did not bring a false peace, pretending that things were okay when they weren’t. He was in conflict with many: Satan, his family, his friends, the crowds, and his enemies, the Pharisees. He was always self-defined and living out his calling. In the midst of that conflict though, he was consistently seeking connection. People walked away from him, not he, them. He surrendered all his relationships to God.

The call of this week’s passage in Luke 9:23-25, concerning healthy relationships, is that we surrender all of them to Jesus. Let Jesus take the wheel. Let him be in the driver’s seat and you and I follow. As we follow Jesus, we will seek to love well as he loved well. We will seek to listen well, respect others, say clearly what we mean or want. Check out assumptions and expectations. I think the challenge for me is to not cut off certain relationships or fuse with some relationships, but rather simply connect by loving well. We are going to think about this on Sunday. Some passages to read: Luke 9:23-25 (The Message), Matthew 10:34-36; (The Message); Matthew 4:1-11 (The Message); Luke 2:41-52 (The Message).

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn