Here, Fishy Fishy Fishy!

We all know the story of the prophet Jonah:  God tells him to go to Nineveh.  Jonah says “Eff that, those people will kill me.”  He hops a boat going the opposite direction.  God comes back and says, “Maybe you didn’t hear me,” and sends this uber-death storm.  Jonah gets the other guys to chuck him off the ship, he ends up getting swallowed by this massive fish, only to be purged a la Kate Moss three days later.  After going through all that, he finally realizes that he’s fucked either way, goes to Nineveh, the people repent of their wicked ways, and everyone–EXCEPT Jonah–lives happily ever after.

God has a very sadistic sense of humor sometimes.

My relationship with God has been tumultuous, at best.  For the first two decades of my life, God was used by authority figures in my life to control me.  I was indoctrinated from before birth to not so much as blink wrong, because at any given point, one of two things could happen:

  1. I could be in some sort of car wreck, struck by lightning, or meet some other freak accident-type demise, or
  2. The rapture will come the nanosecond after I sin, I will have no time to repent, and I’ll be killed by horses or scorpions or Armageddon.

So maybe it’s just “Sin and you die in a freak accident.”  But I digress…

I spent the first twenty years of my life with a very unhealthy fear of the Lord.  Eventually I reached a point where I had enough.  I was never going to be good enough, I was always going to have some sin hanging over my head.  I was an ant on the sidewalk, and God was this all-powerful fat kid with a magnifying glass and that previously mentioned sadistic sense of humor.  I decided that I was tired of being controlled and manipulated.  That was the beginning of the end for me; within a couple of years, Jesus and I “broke up.”

At this point, I find it necessary to share with you that when I was in early adolescence, I was at a camp, and felt an undeniable call into ministry–music ministry, specifically.  Over the years, I have tried rationalizing it away, in hopes of convincing myself that I got caught up in the sensationalism that is oftentimes prevalent at these Christian camps and conventions, but it’s a call that, even in my most rebellious stages, I could never escape.  Not for lack of trying.  I balked at authority, particularly religious authority figures.  I sought out alternative spiritual paths.  Eventually I settled on being Agnostic.  It was so freeing!  My mid-twenties were no question the best years of my life.  I went from spending all my time fearing others’ disapproval to feeling completely uninhibited.  New places, new friends (hell, I was happy to have friends at all!), new ways to escape all the shit life threw at me…finally I was in control of my own life!  And it was going to stay that way…

Except God told Jonah to go to Nineveh…

Long story short, I’m following God now–for the most part.  Ironically, the thing that is motivating me to keep God at arm’s length is knowing that I’m destined to be His instrument (no pun intended).  To become this would mean to sacrifice my free will.  Luke 12:48 says that whoever is entrusted with much will have much more demanded of him.  This is at the tail end of a parable where Jesus is talking about servants doing the will of the Master.  In the previous verse He mentions that the servant who knows what is expected of him and doesn’t do it…well, it’s not pretty.

The thought of me being in any ministry leadership position terrifies the hell out of me.  I don’t want any part of it!  I love the freedom the world offers (and don’t try to tell me it doesn’t, I’ve been there!  It’s incredible).  I don’t relish the idea that by taking this on, I have a God-ordained duty to live as an example for other God-seekers to follow.  And when I do mess it up, there’s going to be a three-mile long line of Pharisees waiting to bash my skull in.  Ironically, the thing that is motivating me to cling on to certain sin patterns is my desire to stay as far away from church leadership as I possibly can.

Furthermore, Jonah’s story doesn’t have a happy ending.  God left him alone for a little while, but at the end of the story, He pulls the proverbial magnifying glass back out and takes away the provisions He made, even after Jonah did what he was sent to do!  Why?  Because Jonah got pouty.  And if you know anything about working in the ministry, you know that it’s incredibly frustrating.  Seriously, after refreshing myself on this story, I don’t want God for a boss!  Then again, from what I’ve seen, it’s not really my choice…

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3 Responses to Here, Fishy Fishy Fishy!

  1. Melody says:

    I like this post! 🙂 I can identify with some of those childhood experiences… and fortunately have learned since then that God really isn’t ready to jump on me the second I do something wrong and have a very different view of God. Here’s hoping he makes your journey to be who he wants you to be an eas(ier) one (after all, Jonah had a pretty easy time convincing those Ninevites)… and that you meet Christians along the way who want to help rather than criticize mistakes. (Unfortunately, I think those are the more difficult ones to find sometimes…)

    • Nikki D. says:

      The part that scares me is the whole, “Whoever has been put in charge of much will have much asked of him” or whatever it is. I’ve done church leadership before; it ended up ultimately being the reason I went on that 5-year God hiatus. About a year ago, a friend of the family took the plunge and started his own church that he’s branded as “the perfect place for imperfect people,” and it’s great. It’s a place where NO ONE’s got their act together, but no one’s judging. It’s interesting–it’s the self-righteous people with sticks up their butts that get the dirty looks. It’s a nice change.

      Thanks for commenting; I look forward to reading a few more of your posts. The whole “A-Z Blogging” thing is really intriguing, and you’ve got some good stuff 🙂

  2. Sara says:

    I am totally digging reading these. I relate to this one so well that I feel like you interviewed me and then made it readable.

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