Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red is Not My Color

I entitled this post 'Red is not my color' because I think it's catchy. And I have a theory that if your title is catchy people will click on it. The fact of the matter is, red is my color. I look nice in red, pink, purple, magenta, that whole part of the color spectrum. Except orange. But really, who looks good in orange if you're not a Siberian tiger?

But red is my color in other ways, too. Fashion unrelated ways.

I've been known to see red. I've had a battle against my own temper for as long as I can remember. I used to stomp my foot and get all hopping mad when things just weren't going my way. (who am I kidding, I still stomp my foot every now and then). Then there was the time in high school I flung my purse--a purse weighted down with a cell phone and clunky old camera--and shattered a rehearsal mirror in the choir room all because my friends were gossiping and saying nasty things about me. That was an expensive lesson in anger management. Lately, my nerves feel a little raw--maybe because I haven't slept through the night since sometime in November 2011--and it seems like I'm flying off the handle at every little thing. I'm seeing red and it ain't pretty.

And then there's being in the red. It doesn't seem to matter where we trim--dumped the smartphone with the pricey data plan (*sniffle*), cancelled the satellite and signed up for Netflix and Hulu (*sniffle, sniffle*)--we're still just barely getting by. Every one step forward is met with a need that sends us three steps back in this rather obnoxious version of Chutes & Ladders we're playing.

It was that particular phrase--'in the red'--that inspired this post. As I was sitting on the side of some country road, praying over my husband as he crawled under our flatbed trailer to repair a blown tire, and wondering just how much new tires cost and if any other damage had been done. I felt like I had just been sent down another long chute. I wanted to cry but it seemed too silly to cry over a blown tire, especially when I wasn't the one risking life, limb, and giant splinters to fix it. No really, you should see the splinter my husband pulled out of his hand later!

I realized that something else is red, something that's good to be in: the red letters. The words of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Author of Life.

The red letters (and many of the black ones around the red letters) tell me many things about my Savior. He was sometimes lonely, He was regularly moved with compassion, He cried, He got good and mad (I'm sure He was seeing red at the temple that day!), and He was brought to despair in Gethsemane. But He was never ever worried. Never once did Jesus wring His hands and wonder if or how His Father would pull off a miracle (cast out six demons, sure, no problem, but seven might be one too many??). Never did Jesus analyze, strategize, and come up with a 'Plan B' should His Father not pull through (nine lepers cured, sure, no problem, but ten? better have a back-up plan!).

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.--James 1:6-8

Jesus was not double-minded, as His brother calls it. Jesus did not doubt His authority to call upon the Father. He knew there'd be results, He knew miracles would happen, He knew God would provide. After all, when I look at the red letters, I see Jesus giving me this beautiful piece of imagery to hold on to, even when I've blown my top or we've blown a tire.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.--Matthew 6:25-34

It seems that when I'm in the red or starting to see red what I really need to do is turn to the red letters. I need to be in the red (letters) of Jesus, I need to see the red (letters) of the Prince of Peace, my Risen Savior. Maybe as hard as it feels right now, like drowning in a Red Sea all my own, I have to trust that He'll part the waters, or walk on water to meet me in my storm. That maybe after all red is my color, not just in my wardrobe, but in my heart when I let Jesus fill me the Word of Life. The red letters.

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