I worked for a neurologist for about 8 1/2 years. I was one of the neurodiagnostic technicians, meaning, I would perform nerve conduction studies, EEGs, VNGs and a few other things with initials. In my experience there, I came across some very interesting sites. (and smells, and sounds).
You have 4 kinds of patients:
First, you have the “I have something wrong with me, I don’t know what, but I have my last 110 years of records with me, a list of my symptoms since 1986, and all my medications, both prescription and over the counter” type. Testing comes out beautiful. Text book even.
I truly believe these people want something to be wrong with them.
Next you have the “I don’t want to be here, but my family/friend/son/daughter/neighbor is making me come. I’m fine, really. I’ll just take a pepcid” type.
They usually have something terminal.
Let’s not forget the “I did a little crystal meth before I came in today, will that effect my test?” (true story- he also left without his shoes) type.
That happened more than once, and I wanted to say “we don’t need this test to figure out whats wrong”. But I didn’t.
Then you have the “I recognize something is going on, please help me figure it out” type.
They may not be terminal, but they are usually right.
It’s interesting how we can pretty much line this up perfectly with the types of people at church.
We’ve got the “I have so much drama in my life that i want to tell everyone all about it, all of the time. Even things i shouldn’t and don’t need to”…
Then the “I don’t want to be here but my family/friend/son/daughter/neighbor is making me come. I’m fine, really. I’ll just come for Easter”…
Of course, the “I need help, but I’m not willing to get rid of the junk in my life”…
And lastly, the “I recognize something is going on, please help me figure it out”…
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Obviously, we should have the spirit of the last type. But it doesn’t always work that way. We all show up with junk and drama, unwilling to change.
The problem is, unlike the doctors office, we leave our “symptoms” at the door, or the parking lot, or even all the way back at home.
Imagine if at the doctors office, our patients had come in for an appointment but put on their paperwork that nothing was wrong. No symptoms. No meds. All is well.
Well why in the heck are you here???!!
Luke 9 says…
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Why go to church if we are going to leave our burdens outside? We are really leaving ourselves outside. We are telling ourselves that we are ashamed and not good enough to even walk in the door carrying all our mess. What good is it to gain admiration for something we aren’t, all while losing our true selves? And ultimately, losing out on our chance for redemption? How will we ever truly know God’s grace?
Why go to the doctor if we think we don’t need healing? It’s once again, Pride that forces us to leave our flaws outside, and tell ourselves “I’m okay, really”.
Jesus doesn’t want some bogus version of yourself in their worshiping Him. He wants YOU in there, mess and all, worshiping Him because he is merciful and sovereign. He wants YOU in there, with your cross in the seat beside you, devouring His Word.
Some of us will always have burdens to carry and crosses to bear. But remember our bridge to greatness, or our opportunities to witness, can most times be found in those crosses we carry every day. How can someone who needs Jesus find Him if all the “followers” look perfect and look AS IF they have it together.
And as followers, how can we have that freedom if we are in bondage to ourselves?
When we “die to self”, we can have that freedom and holy peace because even though, yes we have some serious weight on our shoulders and its sometimes too heavy, we don’t have to be the ones carrying it all the time. To surrender control means humbling ourselves so that the Lord can assume the control.
The Cross is a symbol of sacrifice.
Carrying our crosses daily doesn’t mean waking up and thinking, yep I still suck. It means, dying to self every day. It means we cannot carry the load alone – that we are going to pick it up, give it to God, and follow Him. It’s a daily choice. It means sacrificing our own wants and desires for His. But we first have to acknowledge our bondage, ditch the pride and learn humility.
When we are able to do that, we allow room for opportunity.
Being disciples isn’t about perfect people searching out imperfect people. It IS about imperfect people sharing their grace-story with other imperfect people.
Try bringing your symptoms to The Doctor.
There’s a prescription for all of us, and it has unlimited refills.