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Idealists Anonymous

My name is Amy Leigh and I’m an idealist.

I want to spend every day skipping through fields of daffodils, following God with zeal, and talking with people ‘til our souls become sealed. I want cooperation, affection, and communication. I get frustrated, even discouraged, when faced with common realities of life: people leave their dogs’ poop on my grass, wink while talkin’ crass, and subordinate others below ceilings of glass. I ignored the discouragement, allowing it to morph into a giant named Despair. My coping mechanism? Mastering the mixology of perfectionism and drainkin' that cocktail dry. The recipe is simple: to the base of idealism add a shot of high expectation and a splash of shame. Toss in the rocks of extreme disappointment. Shake well. Garnish with an olive of skewed theology.

For decades idealism intoxicated me, creating a superficial sense of joy, peace, and confidence which only occurred with the attainment of my ideals. Idealism impaired my vision, emotions, and thoughts. Until I bottomed out. God intervened, opening my eyes to the wickedness of my sin and the fallenness of creation. I experienced withdrawals from my false hopes of worldwide compassion, unity, and kindness in this life.

For three years now I have lived without an official platform for ministry or position for leadership. During this sobriety God proves that rather than forcing me to abstain from expressing my temperament, he works to redeem it. He wants to purify my personality so that his personhood shines through it. He does this by ordering my faith in his eternal Truths above my emotions and experiences. In his graciousness, he never demeans the latter for the former.

With the redemption of my temperament, I join with other idealists to inspire, instruct, and organize classrooms, companies, or communities with confidence. I still encounter disappointment daily and must battle cravings for that cocktail. I fight the resurging lie that some pie-in-the-sky scenario of ministry, marriage, and zip code will alleviate the angst I feel in living in this fallen world.

Today I share some of the sobering realities that tend to discourage me, along with several characteristics of God which combat them. Hopefully these sobriety chips of my recovery will benefit my fellow idealists, the ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, and INFP peeps who comprise 15-20% of the population.

Sobering Reality

Life’s not always good.

Eternal Truth

God is (Ps 107.1, 119.68, 145.9).

 

Sobering Reality

Bullies troll and tease. Traffickers trade bodies like commodities. Bullets blitz bystanders in baggage claim.

Eternal Truth

God is El Roi, the God who sees. Though at times I feel invisible, God cannot take his eyes off me, for he is enthralled by my beauty and drawn to his righteousness in me (Gen 16.7-16, 2 Chr 16.9, Ps 45.11).  

God is Yahweh Tsidkenu, the righteous God who exercises faultless justice in every situation. Though at times it seems invisible, God’s justice, including the ultimate vindication of his name, is at work (Ps 50, Jer 9.24, Rev 20.11-14).

 

Sobering Reality

While global economies fluctuate, floodplains and fields desiccate.

Eternal Truth

God is Yahweh Yireh, the God who provides. He does not rely on capitalism or communism, for he owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can source my every need (Gen 22.13-14; Ps 50.10-11; Mt 6.31-32, 7.11; Php 4.19). He waters and dries the earth and maintains his law of seedtime and harvest (Gen 8.22, Job 5.10, Ps 65.9).

 

Sobering Reality

Satan distorts sexuality, ransacking humanity with the effects of abuse, adultery, divorce, masturbation, and pornography.  

Eternal Truth

God is Elohim, the Creator, who formed me in his image and holds my breath in his hands (Gen 1.26-28, 5.1-2; Job 12.9). He works relentlessly to re-set the distortions and restore the marrings of sin by conforming me to Christ (Ro 8.29, 2 Cor 3.18, Col 1.15, Heb 1.3).

 

Sobering Reality

Global leaders parade wickedness as wisdom, politicizing everything and polarizing everyone. Citizens puppet them, pummeling one another with incivility, negativity, and uncertainty.

 

God is Migdol Oz, the refuge, the stronghold wherein I find safety and rest (Ps 34.8, 91.1-2; Nah 1.7).

God is Melek, the true King, who sovereignly knows and rules all things, including the timespan of each leader and their influence on the earth (Ecc 3.1, Dan 2.21, Ac 1.7, Ro 13.1).

 

Sobering Reality

The Church shacks up with society and the state, diluting doctrine, advocating apostates, and heralding heresies in order to remain “relevant.”

The Eternal Truth

God is Abba, Father, who disciplines, cleanses, and matures the Church as his own child, as well as the Bride he will present spotless to his Son (Pr 3.12, 2 Cor 4.14, Eph 5.26-27).

God is Ish, the Husband of Israel who knows the intricacies of loving a wayward Bride (Isa 54.4-6, Hos 2).

 

Sobering Reality

Rather than renouncing the lie that differences must divide us, many Christians reinforce the racism, sexism, and classism found in culture.

Eternal Truth

God is Yahweh Shalom, the Lord is peace, who died to destroy the hostility formed by race, class, and gender (Ro 12.4-5; 1 Cor 12.13; Gal 3.28; Eph 2.14-16, 4.3-6; Col 3.1) and bring wholeness and harmony with him and others (Isa 65, 2 Pet 3.13-14).

 

Sobering Reality

Diagnoses overwhelm. Cancer pillages, anxiety plagues, and arthiritis pilfers.

Eternal Truth

God is Yahweh Shammah, the Lord is present. He never leaves me, so even amid tragedy, I can enjoy and manifest his presence and power (Isa 43.2).

 

Sobering Reality

In an era of relative truth and rampant technology, many people rely on the internet for insight, inspiration, and information.

Eternal Truth

God is Chokmah, wisdom. From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding (Job 12.13, Pr 2.6). From his great power and outstretched arm come creativity and ingenuity (Gen 1-2; Ex 26, 31, 35; Jer 32.17; Rev 4.11).

 
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Amy Leigh Bamberg

Amy Leigh is an Alabama native, but never drinks sweet tea or cheers for the Crimson Tide. Ever. She grew up working on her family’s cattle and catfish farm, shucking corn, slinging cow patties, and singing in the church choir. But, she longed for more. She attended Auburn University and studied horticulture and worked for several years in the commercial and residential sectors of the green industry. Then she joined the staff of a local church, equipping thousands of volunteers, developing systems and structures, and pastoring every step of the way. She attended Dallas Theological Seminary where the focus of her coursework was theology of the body, theology of beauty, and the role of women in ministry. Amy Leigh works as a free-lance landscape designer, consultant, author, and teacher. And she still longs for more, which is why her articles address topics such as faith, culture, creation, the church, and relationships.