I went into my archives and found that I should pay attention to myself more often. Here’s something I wrote almost a decade ago.
1. Jesus often helps you with the conversation. “What do you want?” is what he asked a couple disciples who came to him in a referral from John. Not meanly, but invitingly.
2. Jesus loves you more than you hate yourself. Our self-loathing gets in the way of conversations at times. We assume that people won’t want to talk to us. But Jesus seems pretty willing to talk with people who didn’t have things together.
3. Jesus challenges just about every attempt to routinize religion. Or, better, to routinize a relationship with him into religion.
4. Jesus does make demands. But not the ones that we impose on ourselves. Happens all the time. People say, “I shouldn’t say that in church.” “I couldn’t say that to God.” And I say, “Why not?” We filter ourselves by demanding that we talk the way we think God would want us to talk. But let him decide what he wants us to do.
5. Jesus is more like mystery than a puzzle. (This image is from Gregory Treverton who is an intelligence analyst, not a theologian.) A puzzle just needs the right number of pieces to make sense. The focus is on finding pieces. A mystery can’t be solved, can’t be all put together. People are mysteries. Relationship is a mystery. Not a puzzle.
6. Jesus will take the washcloth out of your hand. I want to clean up my own messes. Every time, I make it worse. Rather than a washcloth, I sometimes need a powerwasher. Or a toothbrush. Or spit. When healing, Jesus once used spit. When serving, he used a towel. Once, he even used blood. So don’t be surprised when he doesn’t take your cleaning recommendation.
7. Jesus keeps promises, but only the ones he makes. Not the ones I make for him. You know how when you are with someone and the two of you decide something and you start doing it and the other person isn’t? And you realized that the two didn’t decide. You did? Like that.
Wait. You write this one. What have you learned about talking with Jesus?