Jesus Farted Too

Cross

If I had to choose my least favorite word, it might be fart. I don’t like to hear it, say it, read it, or smell it. In my mind, it’s the worse ‘f word.’  So, to say the least, I’m being a bit vulnerable by writing it here. I should probably get more comfortable with the word anyways, seeing as we have 3 boys who think anything to do with ‘the topic’ is funny.

As I was arranging bookshelves in our son’s room in our new house in Kansas City this week, I propped a devotional and children’s Bible right up against a grotesque book about different kinds of flatulence. My first instinct was: ‘You can’t do that!’ Shortly followed by the thought: ‘Why not? Jesus farted too.’ Fart BookAfter all, He was fully human, all the way down to his bodily functions. He probably even thought ‘passing gas’ was funny when he was a little boy…While gross, I’m pretty sure that kind of humor is not a sin.

This thought process of intersecting Jesus with the real, sometimes disgusting, nitty-gritty details of our lives made me think about how we incorporate our faith into our everyday lives. Especially as our family begins with a blank slate in a new place, I am thinking about what it looks like to foster our faith in the center of our home and our lives.  Personal daily reminders of God’s promises and His amazing grace help keep me centered. I need God throughout my days.

  • I need to be reminded, regularly, in the midst of my anxiety and burdens that Jesus offers rest for my soul.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
  • When I am restless, stubborn, and lacking in faith, I need to be reminded of God’s patience and ability to sustain me.
“…there will be times when God’s glory is right outside our door, yet we’ll choose to stay inside the tent. There will be days when we hear the clear promises of God and laugh in disbelief…Still, our heavenly Father will respond. He will wait with us and sustain us. He will turn our restlessness into rest in Him.” –Sarah Matheny #shereadstruth
  • Even with my very own children, I need to be reminded of what our call to love looks like. Love is patient. Love is kind. Every single morning, I have to ask God to give me the fruits of the spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control don’t come easy in a house full of rowdy kids. And these are the characteristics I most want to model to my children.
  • When God is near, I am reminded of my desire to share the love and peace and grace of God with the people in my life.
“They were not to be a people unto themselves enjoying their special relationship with God and paying no attention to the rest of the world. Rather they were to represent him to the rest of the world and attempt to bring the rest of the world to him.” –Douglas Stewart
  • When God is at the center of my life, I am reminded that each and every day, He makes me new. Fresh. Clean. A blank slate. In worship yesterday at Christ Community Church, we were reminded to number our days.  Basically, embrace the precious time that God has given each of us.  Each day is a new day to invest in our relationship with God, as well as the people around us.

I have no doubt that in all of His humanity, Jesus put real effort into fostering a relationship with His Heavenly Father. A Father He couldn’t see with His eyes either. All relationships involve effort.

So, here’s to blank slates, to being made new each day, and to allowing Jesus into the nitty-gritty. We have a patient, loving and tender God who is overjoyed when we hold Him in the center of our days.

Lately, I’ve been hearing God’s voice in this beautiful song by Matchbox 20, “Overjoyed.” I am reminded of the relational nature of our Great God who wants to meet us daily. Will you hold Him too?

“Maybe if you hold me baby
Let me come over
I will tell you secrets nobody knows
I cannot overstate it
I will be overjoyed”

How Perception Colors Life

The Dress

Have you ever thought about the fact that heat is cooler than air conditioning? Sounds silly, but I’m just referring to the fact that in the summer, our bodies are generally comfortable when the thermostat is set near 75 degrees. In the winter, we are comfortable with the heat set at about 68 degrees. The heat is cooler than the air conditioning. We would be burning hot if we jacked the heater up to 75 in the winter. (*Southern Californians should disregard this example – I can explain to you what heating and air conditioning are at another time.) My point is – our perception of a comfortable temperature varies greatly according to our current circumstances – the seasons.

Merriam-Webster defines perception as “the way you think about or understand someone or something” and “the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses.” Our perceptions are obviously variable.

And how about the darn color of the dress debate that has rocked the Internet this past week? Once again, perceptions, based on senses, vary between the ‘white and gold’ and ‘blue and black’ camps.

I have a couple of thoughts regarding perceptions:

First, I make too many judgments based on my personal experiences and senses alone. We must realize the limits of our perceptions instead of making broad, general assumptions about other people’s lives and decisions. You might just be seeing white and gold when the other person’s dress is really blue and black. So be careful about what color shoes you suggest she should wear.

Second, my limited perspective on life (based on my perceptions) is flawed, compared to the great omniscience of our perfect God. What I think is a trial or less than ideal situation is often a blessing. I am in no way speaking into the specific trials of your life (especially considering my last paragraph!) But, the reality of my limited perspective makes me aware of my need for immense TRUST in God.

I stumbled upon an article, Faith and Human Perception, by Thomas Rotkiewicz. I love the way he pulls together the concepts of perception, life’s trials, and faith:

“My mind processes information within limited frames of reference. My interpretation or perception of anything will not be the same as yours because your awareness may be based on a number of different factors… When we face various trials, how can we distinguish between what we believe to be happening – based on our limited perception – and what is really happening from God’s perspective? How can we put our trust in experiences, feelings or human wisdom as reliable indicators of the true nature of what is real or what isn’t.
…God tells us to trust Him, and not to rely on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5,6). Why? Because He alone knows what He is doing and why. I certainly don’t have an accurate or perfect knowledge of all things – or even any single thing. And this is where faith should come into play, reaching beyond our own limitations and placing our trust in the One who has no limitations.”

Even Napolean Bonaparte wisely stated that “The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.” And the ‘father of modern philosophy,’ René Descartes warned us to do not wholly trust our limited senses which deceive us from time to time.

It all comes down to this: I see white and gold, even though the dress is blue and black. It does me good to take a step back and ask myself how much I let my personal perceptions drive my judgments and decisions – about others and for myself.

The phrase, ‘hindsight is 20/20’ makes so much sense that I’m surprised it isn’t scripture. How many times have I faced a challenging situation where God has eventually blessed me out of my mind? How many times have I been so sure about what is right, only to find out that I wasn’t?

Maybe at some point, I’ll really begin to believe that it’s best to not trust in my own understanding alone. God’s eyesight and His perspective are perfect. I must put all of my TRUST in this great promise:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” -Psalm 32:8