By Chloe Grabeman
Have you ever experienced seat- violation?
When you walk into a room and realize some audacious person has committed the unforgivable sin of taking the seat you consistently find solace in.
You try to play it cool and remember that you don’t own that seat.
But deep down you know that there are truly no words to adequately express the inner rage and disorientation this act of betrayal has caused, as you frantically resituate to a less desirable location.
Last week I had an unexpected realization in a moment of seat-violation. I was about to have some much-needed time with God when I felt the strong sense that I needed to leave my apartment. I reluctantly headed to a prayer room in church on campus only to find some guy was in my spot!
Sometimes the Lord interrupts your plans and changes your direction.
I quickly find another place to sit and begin praying and journaling. But just as my location and seating assignment were unexpectedly changed, so was the focus of my quiet time. I’m sure we can all agree that no one knows our imperfections more than ourselves. They are our secret garden strictly off limits to any sort of trespasser.
Sometimes even God.
But in this unknown seat, I could feel a knock on my fortified garden gates. For your sake, I will let you in as well. Within my garden is the difficulty I often find in being a Christian.
See, I have a passionate hatred for clichés. When I see all the clichés and stereotypes about “Christians,” I live my life in direct opposition to them. But in the process, I end up crafting an idol of what I think the Christian life should look like, keeping God outside the gate, unable to mold me into something I hate.
As I looked up, I realized the person who was now leaving my seat was a friend of mine. After we exchanged hellos and I scrambled to my seat, I could smell his cologne. I started thinking of the life and impact he has on our campus; how admired and highly regarded he is, and I realized it was all out of his love for God. It didn’t look like any hated cliché.
It was fragrant.
A sweet pleasure that remains even when the bearer is gone. It hit me that this is our call as Christians. To be so beautifully changed by the love and mercy of Christ that our presence leaves others reflecting on its sweetness and the pleasure of its aroma.
That He has no desire to mold us into something we hate but rather something inspiring and different.
Nothing of our own crafting or assumptions.
He never leaves us hopeless in our garden. But uses something as simple as a shifted seat to enter the equation and show us his fragrance of grace.
Inland – Jars of Clay
Father – Emilie Weiss
Awake – Ryan Kirkland
Fall Asleep – Jars of Clay
Build it Better – Aron Wright
Check them out on the Real and True Playlist on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/user/128815512/playlist/3YfqgeMjEUj7ZB8ydKd5qL
Charlotte Moulton says
Chloe, I adore the way you write so personally and with a real gift for getting your story across. God has blessed you and I thank Him you are attuned to His voice. This entry is so applicable to everyone. God bless you as your college year ends.
Chloe Grabeman says
Thank you so much, Ms. Charlotte! It’s always such a fear of mine that people won’t relate to my writing so thank you for that encouragement, it definitely helps me push through!
This was beautifully written and beautifully imagined and was a very timely message for me. Thank you.
Chloe Grabeman says
What an honor coming from you Ms. Kimberly. I am so blessed that it touched you!
Lee Ann Tarducci says
WOW! This really “nicked” me. I know exactly what you mean by a seat violation and how it can get you tipped off course. Thanks for the reminder that God is in control and sometimes kicks us out of “OUR” seat to make us aware that He wants us to hear/see something new from Him. Love you Chloe
Chloe Grabeman says
RIGHT!?! It’s so funny how God can use these seemingly insignificant moments to give us such a bigger picture!