Could It Really Be That Simple?

A Slightly Past Middle-Aged Mortal Gets Gibbs-Slapped by God’s Grace

I’m honored to invite my friend, fabulous poet and blogger Kelly Belmonte, to share what God has been speaking to her heart lately — a profound truth we can all take to heart today:

Gibbs Slapped By Gods Grace Kelly Belmonte

A million years ago, back in my college days, there was this song I liked to sing. It went like this:

He has shown thee, Oh man,
What is good and what the Lord requires of thee,
But to do justly
And to love mercy
And to walk humbly with thy God.

Based on Micah 6:8, that song (and scripture) has stuck with me over the years as an important reminder of what I need to do whenever I feel I’ve lost my way.

These days – eons later – I find myself reflecting on… well, a lot. I used to say that age doesn’t matter; it’s just a number, and I wouldn’t be one to freak out as I reached certain decades. But the truth is, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise (as Grandma used to say), I will reach fifty in under four months, and I am not ready.

You might even say that I’m freaking out. A bit.

Things are not as they used to be. That is a fact. For example, it used to be I didn’t ever worry about what I ate. The word “diet” was simply not in my vocabulary. Those days are gone. Over the past three years, I’ve put on over 10 pounds, which may not sound like much, but I’m not super tall, and I refuse to buy new clothes. So, it’s awkward.

The only thing that has changed is my age. My older friends smile gently upon me in shared sisterhood, as if to say (sometimes literally saying out loud), “We’ve all been there, my friend. You just have to work harder as you get older.”

But the thing is, as you get older you have less energy, so working harder is actually… harder.

In many other ways I’m not where I thought I would be as a “grown up.” I mean, almost fifty means I’m really an adult now, right?

Yet I’m still caught clueless about many basic things, and as I get older, it’s more embarrassing to admit it. So, that’s awkward, too.

That’s the context of my life right now. Not horrible, just awkward.

Recently I’ve revisited Micah 6:8, because in some ways I feel I’ve lost my way. While reviewing it in various translations (thanks, BibleGateway.com!), I found something unexpected. Here’s how it reads in the NIV:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?

Right out of the gate, I’m given a fresh look at this familiar passage. He has shown something to me, a mortal. I am mortal. I am not a god.

From that understanding follows the understanding that the Lord God, who is immortal, calls the shots. He requires certain things of me.

Act justly Love mercy Walk humbly

That’s it.

Sometimes my behavior suggests a kind of amnesia: I’ve forgotten who I am in relation to the Most High God. I’ve forgotten what He has done for me. When I have lived with injustice, lacked mercy, and walked proudly, I am under a profound delusion. I have forgotten that I am mortal, and only by the amazing grace of God do I have the hope of eternity.

Then something happens – like a Gibbs slap on the back of my head – to wake me up to that “oh crap” realization that I am in way over my head.

But instead of resting in His mercy, I get busy thinking I can buy myself back into His good graces – buy back His love:

I’ll get fit, yeah that’s it; no wait, how about I get up earlier every day to read more scripture, yeah, that will do it; yes, that plus eating more nutritiously of course; give more to my favorite charity; volunteer regularly at the local food pantry – sure to be a winner.

And then the second Gibbs slap – He’s shown you what is good, already! Sure, all those other things are beneficial, but doing them as a payment makes a mockery of the Great Purchase that was made for me already at the cross.

Justice, mercy, humility. Stop making this more complicated than it needs to be, Belmonte. He has shown you, woman-mortal. Fifty is going to come and go. Just do this thing.

Walk with God.

He’ll continue to show you the way.

 

Kelly Belmonte, is a  poet, blogger, and management consultant with expertise in nonprofit organizational development and youth mentoring. Kelly expounds whenever and wherever she gets the chance on poetry, writing, and the creative process. Her work has been published in Relief Journal: A Christian Literary Expressionand Atlas Poetica. She is honored to have her poem “How I Talk To God” selected for inclusion in The Word in the Wilderness (2014) edited by bestselling poet Malcolm Guite. Kelly also contributed a chapter to Women and C.S. Lewis (2015), a collection of interviews and essays on the theme of Lewis and women in his life and writings. Kelly’s two poetry chapbooks, Three Ways of Searching (2013) and  Spare Buttons (2014), are published by Finishing Line Press. She blogs at All Nine.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 thoughts on “Could It Really Be That Simple?

  1. Hi Kelly,
    I’m a friend of beautiful Christin’s, so naturally I would wish to read anything she recommends, especially from a poetic type. So I loved reading your blog post! I was also so thrilled when Christin recommended Guite’s book for Lenten reading. I was so moved by it; an now to read in your bio that you have a poem included . . . oh my gosh!!!! I just realized which one it is. I absolutely LOVED that poem and intend to read it to my journaling classes as a writer’s prompt. They will love it. Have you written your own volume/s of poetry that I could recommend to them? Well, as usual, and as Christin well knows, I digress . . . I really had intended to comment on this piece, with which of a more seasoned vintage than you, well resonate. Actually the weight thing was not an issue until just recently when I am noticing a small kangaroo-like pouch below the waist! (Did I really just write that for public view? I’d rather people read about it than *see* it though, anyday). So . . . I am reading about bellyfat eliminating kinds of food and exercise. But the truth is I think as we “season” our hormones are totally askew. Like you, I’ve changed nothing. But with the encouragement of your post, one thing I’d like to do is to love the mercy God extends to me and to extend it to myself, and to walk humbly with Him, knowing that I am here by His design at this time and place in history. Surely He has a purpose for that. He is using seasoning (still can’t say aging!) to humble me, and that is always a good thing. And you know what? I can still walk. I can even powerwalk. But may I always be humble enough to know from where that power emanates–ALWAYS!! Loved reading your insights here. Happy Jubilee!
    Blessings.
    Lynn
    PS A poet, myself, I always love to think metaphorically. One thing that helped me to make my jubilee jaunt more celebrative was to give it a metaphor. So I called it my Butterfly Birthday, when I left the boring chrysalis of youth, and spread my beautiful, colorful wings of maturity and flew! Christin even sent me a little teddy bear who sits in my bookcase to this day. He’s lavender and his chest is embroidered w/ a colorful butterfly and lilies (another symbol of mine). He holds a miniature Bible w/ an explanation of the butterfly and Jesus’ resurrection and 1 Peter 1:3. May God by His abundant mercy (that word again!) renew you to a living hope through the resurrection of our Lord, Kelly. Again, happy jubilee!

    • Lynn,

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments! I’m so glad my words connected with you. Funny how “walking humbly” takes on a whole new meaning as we get older. ;-)

      I love the idea of celebrating this “Jubilee Birthday” in a special way!

      Blessings,
      Kelly

  2. Wonderful expression – I have been feeling this way since I just turn 62 and can collect Social Security if I want! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!