What’s Your Bent?

Quote

Hosea 11:7 “And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt Him.”

When someone has a particular gifting or inclination, we say that they have a “bent” toward it.  What we really mean is that their personality leans in that direction.  As I was doing my devotions yesterday, I came across this verse, where God says that Israel has a bent. And, unfortunately, it’s one I can relate to. Ouch.

Did you know that the idea of having a “bent” was biblical? I didn’t. I’m sure I’ve read this verse before, but I don’t remember seeing it. It really stuck out to me, this time.  I’m not sure if it’s just that the term stuck out more, or if it’s because it hit home.  Of all the things for God to say about His people, He chose to say that their personality leans toward moving away from Him. And He recorded it, in the Word that He promised to preserve eternally.  Ouch again.

I used to read about the nation of Israel, in Scripture, and just shake my head. After everything that the Lord did for them, over and over again, they just walked away. They forgot the things He had done, they forgot His promises, they forgot their promises to Him, and they ran off, usually pitching a fit. And yet, even while I was shaking my head at their foolishness, I knew that I was the same.

How often have I, pitching my own little fit, accused God of not being everything He promised? How often have I run off, saying that He’d let me down? And how many times have I actually been the one who wasn’t keeping my promises?

I am SO GLAD that God did not stop there. In the next verse, He says, “How shall I give thee up…?” One more verse, and He says, “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger,…for I am God, and not man;…” He was angry; He says as much in the text. But even in His anger, He loves His people. Even when we turn away from Him. Even when we are unfaithful to Him. Even when we don’t love Him.

In my last post, I was feeling a little sorry for myself (or a lot). To tell the truth, I was feeling like I was pretty unloveable. Partly because I know my own shortcomings, and partly because I was listening to the lies and not the truth. But here, it says that, even when we’re unloveable, unloving, disloyal, and unfaithful, He still loves us. No matter what.

That’s what unconditional love is. God’s love doesn’t care where we come from or what we’ve done. He’s going to keep on loving us anyway. It’s not that He doesn’t care what we’re doing, or who we’ve hurt; He cares about those things very much. But it doesn’t affect His love for us, or how He sees us, or what He wants for us.

We are all bent to backsliding from God. It’s human nature – we’re sinful people. The very bodies that we live in desire to rebel against Him. Add to that the constant bombardment of temptation from the broken world and the adversary who wants to destroy us, and it’s pretty much inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be the end.

Part of God’s plan for us is restoration. He wants to make us whole, and He wants to do it through a relationship with Him. He wants us to chase after Him. But, what’s even more amazing is that, when we stop chasing after Him, He starts chasing after us. Even though we have a bent to backsliding, He is not willing to give us up. He has never waited for us to get it right. He chases after us, so that He can help us make it right.

I’m still not sure what my bent is; I don’t really know what I’m good at. I don’t know, exactly, what the Lord has for me. I still have a lot of questions, and some doubts. But this passage really spoke to me. Regardless of my bent, good or bad, He’s not going to just give up on me. There is no bent that He cannot shape into something beautiful. In His time. I just need to remember that.

Jun 01

Losing My Voice…and maybe my mind

I very clearly remember the first time I lost my voice. It always comes to mind, this time of year, because it happened on Memorial Day.  My husband and I had just started dating.  I remember, mostly, because it happened very quickly, with no warning.

I sang in church, on Sunday morning.  By Sunday evening, my throat was getting a little scratchy.  When I got up Monday morning, I couldn’t speak at all.  No voice.  The next year, I was on the road; after that, I was married and living in.a different state.  When we moved back, I lost my voice every year, around Memorial Day, for 3-5 years. It hasn’t happened in the last few years, but I always watch for it, this time of year.

I’m really thinking, this year, about losing my voice.  I thought I was losing it a few weeks ago, but it was a false alarm.  I’ve had a rough week, this week, for various reasons, and I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.  Among them, I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular subject.

When I was younger, I genuinely believed that words were one of my gifts.  I’ve never been one for public speaking, but I used to sing, and write, and read… I believed, with great conviction, that the Lord was using my words – my voice – to bless people and accomplish something.  I had confidence in my voice, because I believed that God was using it, and that it mattered.

I’ve recently realized that, somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that.  I don’t have confidence in my voice anymore.  I don’t know if the Lord is using the words that come out of my mouth.  I’m struggling to find purpose, because I don’t know what I’m good at.  I don’t know what I can do that has meaning.

As I’ve developed allergies, my actual voice has changed.  There are also some other factors, but it just isn’t the same as it used to be.  I don’t always trust it, like I used to.  I’ve also been told that I’ve said things the wrong way.  I find myself holding back from speaking, because I don’t want to be taken the wrong way.  I don’t want to offend someone, and I don’t want to be misunderstood.  I don’t write letters anymore, because letters aren’t really what people do anymore.  I don’t encourage people with a card or note (or even a text), because I’m not sure my words are worth much.

I even find it happening in my home.  I’m weary of trying to teach my children, because I feel like they don’t listen to what I’m saying.  I don’t speak to certain family members, as a general rule, because past misunderstandings have made me bitter, or afraid.  I don’t ask for help, because I don’t want to sound like one of those people who can’t do anything and turns every little molehill into some huge mountain.

I’m up, typing this, at two o’clock in the morning, because the Lord is laying it on my heart, and not letting me sleep until it’s done.  But, in my heart, I doubt that even these words matter.  I don’t think anyone has read my recent posts.  I feel compelled to keep that I’ve started posting again to myself, lest I be tooting my own horn.  I feel that the Lord will lead people to my posts, if He wants them to read.  But I don’t really believe that He is leading anyone.

I suppose, really, this is the whole problem, in a nutshell.  I just really don’t believe that He is using my voice.  It’s not that I don’t believe He can.  It’s not even that I don’t believe my voice is good enough.  I just don’t know if I believe my voice matters, anymore.  If He’s not using it, does it?

I don’t know.  I don’t really know what I’m trying to say, tonight.  I just felt led to post, and this is what’s on my heart.  I’m sorry if it’s discouraging, but I’m a little discouraged, right now.  I’m just trying to be real.

I guess, manybe, I”m trying to find my voice, again, so that He can start using it again.  But, first, I have to figure out where I lost it, and what happened to make me let go of it.  When did I stop believing that He had a plan for me, and for my voice, and why did I buy into that lie?

I’ll have to get back to you, I guess.  For tonight, this is where I am.  The questions are real, and they’re looming large, for me, without any immediate answers.  All I have, for now, is a promise, and I’ll have to take it on faith.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11