Monday, February 24, 2014

When Life Looks A Lot More Like Gilligan's Island

Just sit right back and you'll read a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Don't ask me how, but my children discovered Gilligan's Island this past weekend. And with me or my husband manning the remote (so as to avoid the raunchy TV Land commercials) we sat as a family and watched as a whole new generation was awed by the magical and inescapable island of their dreams.

It's a dangerous thing- watching your childhood favorites again. They rarely, if ever, live up to the memories. Still, Gilligan's Island was entertaining, if not marvelous. It taught me a few things too:

1. Life would have been a lot simpler if those huts had been built of sound-proof bamboo. Then people wouldn't have been eavesdropping and freaking out all the time. Seriously, Howells, you think the Professor and Skipper are going to off Gilligan to save their own skin and avoid war with an island tribe?

2. The show isn't realistic. Not in the slightest. I mean really, a head-hunting tribe with only 3 members (none of which are women- how will the culture be preserved with no babies)? A dentist's drill powered by the pedaling patient? Gilligan and the Skipper sleeping and waking in those same clothes every single day and they don't fade? I know it wasn't supposed to be realistic, but when I was younger it never really occurred to me just how outlandish it all was. It didn't seem ridiculous at all.

3. Perspective matters. The show scared the kids. A guy running up and down on the island in a bed sheet. A giant stuffed spider whose legs don't even touch the ground (because their was a dude in that costume, I believe). Gilligan avoiding mortal combat with an island native. It was tense in the room as the kids seriously fretted, how will everything work out?  

Then again, I was stranded on my own island this past weekend. Hearing part of the story, the part I didn't want to hear. Making assumptions based on incomplete evidence. Creating wildly unrealistic plot lines in my own brain of what I was sure would be my own demise.

I left the port of assumption, navigated the turbulent seas of obsession, and crashed on the shores of despair.

I emailed the person who I assumed thought I was incompetent, untrustworthy, and stubborn. Seeking closure in an email is like throwing darts blindfolded. You might hit the target, but chances are more likely you'll just cause a bystander pain. Pretty sure I did that. Unintentionally, but still. I scrutinized every word of his reply. Agonized over every turn of phrase. And left the exchange more confident than ever that this person thought I was unfit.

But the scary thing is this- I didn't mean to do any of this. I avoided it at all costs. I tried to be rational when I heard the news. I sought wise counsel. I prayed. I read the Bible. I worked out. I drank red wine. I slept. I did every physical and spiritual therapy I could think of. Nothing worked.

It hit me that God was working a change in my life and in the life of His church. A change in which I played a major part. A change that made the devil nervous.

You can bet that when God gets plans in motion, the devil isn't far behind. He wants nothing more to derail the train powered by the Lord and moving in His direction.

I worked an hour on Bible study homework. Felt good doing it. Less than a minute after, my blood pressure soared at the mere thought of this person. I realized I needed reinforcements. I did what I rarely do- I texted a friend for prayer. Personal prayer. I can ask a person to pray for a friend, a family member. It's much harder to ask them to pray for me and a hang up in my own brain. But I knew I was in the middle of a full-on attack and I needed someone else behind me.

Guess what, it worked. She offered a listening ear (or a reading eye, as the case would have it). She offered to pray for me and the other person. Then she offered the exact perspective I needed: the devil sees the work God is doing in the other person, and is fighting to get him back. The devil was sending out his forces and working on the both of us, and with that perspective I was instantly placed on the side of my "enemy."

Instead of his army on one side and mine on the other, waiting to charge onto the battlefield, there we stood- he and I back to back, swords in hand, fighting off the powers of darkness that sought to obliterate any chance of glorifying God.

I was at peace.

I talked to my former "offender" on Sunday at church, and guess what, I do really like him. His enthusiasm was exciting to see and, while I know we are going to have some obstacles and differences of opinion, we are on the same side.

It was the S.S. Truth that rescued me that day. Captained by Jesus Christ and manned by one of his dear servants.

We all get stranded on our own imaginary islands. Ridiculous plot lines and incomplete information threaten to be our undoing. What truth do you need to hear today? What relationships are buckling under these conditions. The devil is looking to devour us. It is my prayer that he's kept hungry and God is glorified in your life and mine.

Thanks for reading my little testimony here. I ask you to keep this situation in your prayers. Strides have been made, but I know that the further we get, the harder satan will work. Pray for understanding, clear communication, grace and mercy in all this- and I will pray for you too!