One glorious childhood day I discovered hidden treasure in our basement. Hidden in a cardboard box was a mass of fluffy pink; the very dress Glinda the Good Witch wore in The Wizard of Oz. Pink, gauzy, hoop bottom…it was glorious. I revealed this find to my mother whose face turned ashen as if she had PTSD from watching too many houses landing on witches. “Well, that was a dress I wore in a wedding as a bridesmaid. It had matching shoes. When you’re older you’ll see Gone With the Wind and understand.” I’ve recently seen the picture of the bridal party and it truly rivaled Steel Magnolias. I am forever in your debt, Mrs. Joni, for bringing my 7 year old happiness level to an all time high. A bridesmaid’s dress? Even at the time I knew it was a lie; my mother was really Glinda the Good Witch. She was blonde, spent her days with little people, told me where to go, and could do a perfect voice over of Glinda’s famous question,
This morning Glinda’s voice echoed in my head, asking, “Are you a good wife or a bad wife?” Suddenly the house was spinning and I landed in Oz. I put the house cleaning and dinner guest prep on hold and decided to use my time more efficiently. I was running on Diet Coke and diaper fumes… I decided I needed more of God’s book than facebook. (Anyone else? Show of hands?)
After some time in Hebrews, I somehow returned to Oz.
I realized how often my Christian walk looks like something out of the Wizard of Oz. Sometimes I am Dorothy, just dreaming of Somewhere Over the Rainbow where there isn’t any trouble and hoping to get through obstacles while wearing fabulous shoes. As wonderful as Heaven will be, I think we were meant to do something more on earth than simply try to get back home. It’s not about running from point to point, helping others, and avoiding witches. If I’m going to journey down the yellow brick road, it better be out of love for the wizard and not just “because of the wonderful things he does.”
Other times I am the Scarecrow. I get hung up, fall apart, and am left lamenting, “If I Only Had a Brain!” Sometimes flying monkeys just rip the stuffing out of you and your seams get ripped. It takes someone else to help me regroup and get moving in the right direction.
Then I can be the Tin Man. I get stuck and inflexible, empty and hollow. I’m so busy working and doing the right things that I get unfeeling and stuck. If I only had a heart.
Then there are days where I act like the Queen of the Jungle; rough and tough but needing courage when push comes to shove. I may be comfortable in my surroundings but faced with uncertainty and circumstances that seem bigger than me and the urge to high-tail it hits. More times than I care to admit, I am like the Wizard of Oz. I put on a great show to the observer and sometimes fool myself, but I am really putting on a show and trying to hold it all together. Still, don’t look behind the curtain in the closets- my house is not as clean as it appears.
Far too often I am tempted to assess myself as either a good or bad Christian that day. (“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”) Neither. I am a redeemed woman. That’s why I feel like I am spinning around helplessly and yet can still crush someone with a house. Taking enemy plunder is biblical, you know. If the enemy threatens you and you win a victory, take those sparkly shoes. We may not be equipped with ruby slippers, but we are called to put on the full armor of God and clothe ourselves in righteousness. The Bible promises a life full of challenges and obstacles; all lives are. My task is to overcome my tendency to be a character from Oz. In fact, the Bible offers advice for these instances.
To those trying to get home: Keep wise counsel, follow directions, be on your guard, and know there is help to those who want it. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Proverbs 4:27
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
To the Mindless: There are entire chapters on wisdom and its value. “For the Lord gives wisdom from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Proverbs 2:6-7
To the Heartless: The Bible spends a considerable amount of time warning religious leaders and followers not just to honor God outwardly, but to keep it a matter of the heart. The greatest commandment is to love God with all the heart, soul, and mind- not just with actions.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2-3
To the Coward: The most common command of God is a form of do not be afraid. Courage alone gets over 35 mentions. It’s not about the size of someone’s faith but the faith in the size of someone’s God that accomplishes great things.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
To the Faker: Be authentic and honest before God. Sometimes doing the right thing is for your own reassurance as much as for impressing others. A glance through all Jesus said to the religious leadership of the day leaves me a humble.
“For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanliness.” Matthew 23:27
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:2
This isn’t Oz. There is a real enemy trying to get you, my pretties, and your little dogs too. God isn’t a ‘good witch’ floating in a bubble who only appears when we’re sleeping in poppies or at the end to do what the fake wizard can’t do. Thank goodness our God is not a great and mystical being that is hiding behind a curtain either. He made us, so he is prepared for all our faults.Today I needed a gut-check. I needed to reorient myself on my path, get some wisdom at the forefront on my mind, make love my motivation, show courage, and be authentic. It’s time to don some fabulous shoes and get moving. It’s like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”
Instead, they longed for a better country. They wanted one in heaven. So God is pleased when they call him their God. In fact, he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16