Go, listen, and learn! 🙂
I’ve debated doing this post for a while. I’ve been really unsure I could make my thoughts about it understandable on paper. That and it’s been the first chance I’ve had to sit and write in a while. School has been starting to wind down and I’m starting to think about summer time and next year… but despite that, I still have school work to do and house work and all the other details that have made it difficult to sit and write. Nevertheless, here I am, and I’m going to try and make some sense out of this idea that has been floating around in my brain.
Not getting grabby with God. I have been reading a novel that has sparked some very intriguing ideas. I don’t want to name the book or quote from it because out here in cyber-space it’s easy for the author to swoop in on what I’m saying about their book, when really my thoughts about it have very little to do with the content of the story I’m reading and more with how ideas in stories echo back onto the over-all picture of I have of life that give me alternate perspectives.
Ok, so on with it. In this story a student was trying to learn a vast and mysterious subject and would show up to class each day expecting to gain some factual knowledge that would open the doors to understanding. Only to his great frustration, the teacher would only play silly games with the students or ask them questions that didn’t have anything to do with the subject or simply talk nonsense. The student gets so irritated that in the end he just considers the class a joke. Now the interesting thing about this vast and mysterious subject in the book was that it couldn’t actually be taught by facts and that was one of the ideas the student was supposed to understand after a while. The teacher tried to relate it to him by explaining that when a boy meets a girl he can’t just go up to her and start grabbing at her or try and kiss her. He has to take time to first talk to her, introduce himself, and interact with her. And after that he has to get to know her and they have to gain rapport and know each other’s minds and if romance blossoms and they get married, well… The point is, that romance takes a long time and love is a delicate dance. Well, that got me to thinking about how in some ways, we try and get grabby with God. We sit down in Bible class and expect a sudden and full revelation about who and what God is. Not only that, we want it NOW! Or we have a problem in our lives and we expect the Pastor to speak on that subject right then, giving us all the answers. Then, when that doesn’t happen, we get angry and frustrated. For some, when they realize that knowing God is going to take years and years of daily dedication to God’s word, they become apathetic and quit. Or how about the believer positive to hearing the word of God, who wants to devour all factual knowledge about the word so they can consider themselves to be a Theologian and therefore misses the entire purpose of Bible class altogether. I think these are some of the dangers of “getting grabby with God”.
The opposite spectrum of this idea is that God does want us to seek for Him and to sit and learn the factual details about who and what He is. There is nothing wrong with aggressive forward momentum in the plan of god and learning His word, it’s just that there are aspects of the spiritual life that cannot simply be “taught” into our brains. So much of it has be lived and experienced, letting layer upon layer of what you have learned, along with the trying and failing of application, bring to you personal revelation in your relationship with God. I just love that idea, it makes me think about how, sometimes we just need to go out and find a blue butterfly or hear the birds and relax. Tomorrow is filled with all its own things and they aren’t going anywhere, so stop racing toward them, live today and find out what you are supposed to experience, and learn today.
Stop grabbing pulling and yanking at God, it’s rude.
In my last post I talked about the common experiences of humanity. Much of it being predictable and overdone, as in, repeated since the dawn of fallen mankind. The bell toll of those thoughts still rings loudly in my soul, giving me, for the moment, a different perspective on life. For example, right now I have the common cold, I’ve been sneezing and groaning and indulging all areas of available comfort. We all have gotten the common cold since forever. It’s been fun to think about it in view of that.
This last week in my Bible classes P. Joe said something that stood out to me and seemed the counterbalance of all I had been thinking about in my last post. He said, “Do not disdain your areas of practice”. Of course! This is the whole reason for the “common boring idiocy” we indulge in and face every day. Everything the Lord has given to me at salvation is all very nice on paper but if I don’t take it out and practice using it, I never bring glory to Him, or become truly blessed by it myself. And since God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours by the same scale the universe is larger than the earth, which means, we don’t even register on the scale. Even the mastery of the basics takes everyday practice on common boring experience throughout an entire lifetime not only to learn to use but even to understand what they are. Take for example God’s love, it’s nothing like any love humans have on earth and I for one barely understand it, let alone use it. I may use it by accident or not see it for what it is but God, in bringing me to everyday practice on the common easy targets and having me come back to it again and again will reveal more and more by each passing what it looks like, until I begin to recognize it and how to use it. Well, that takes years, it takes as long as it takes and those are just the basics. Each time I circle around the same issue that always plagues and confuses me, that is God’s grace and love towards me. I was alive today to have the opportunity to practice. How cool is that!?
Thanks Karen, you helped me focus these very ideas by your posts. http://karenhancock.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/gods-thoughts-are-not-our-thoughts/
Thousands of years and billions of people each one unique and each one the same; carbon copies of the human experience. We all sin; we all cry; laugh, love and complain… each individual human is ushered onto the earthly stage to act out so much of the same. How many of the same petty problems and predictable responses have been re-enacted over and over and over throughout human history? How easy is it to live the same life that has always been lived by everyone who has ever come and gone before? It’s too easy. Too easy to think that our personal drama is the center stage, that it’s something new, as if it hasn’t been seen and done in the same way billions or even trillions of times. Every time I hear someone talking in those animated dramatic tones about what he or she did to them or said to them, it’s all just more of the same boring, common, idiocy. Good circumstance, happy, bad circumstance, sad, poke me I get angry, hurt me and I cry. I tire of it. I’m not in the least bit tired of living; I’m not saying that at all, it’s just that I’ve had enough of playing the game and sitting on the train of Satan’s world system. I think most people want to get off, they too see that the pattern is empty or common and they want to rise above it.
The human on its frantic search for originality: Rebellion, Anarchy, Greatness, Achievement or Fame?
We are all drawn to those who live outside the norm; we are amazed by musicians, artists, writers, leaders, conquerors, geniuses, celebrities, and even the just plain odd. We fool ourselves into thinking they are somehow truly above common humanity until you spend a little time looking closely at their lives. They may have achieved more than the average person but they share in all the same vices and pitfalls, often self-destructive or even suicidal.
Uniqueness exists. I think we all sense that. There is an escape from the mass stampede of meaninglessness that is evident everywhere. I’ve seen it and am beginning to realize it more and more in my own experience; the wide gaping door of moment by moment opportunity to live a different kind of life.
Jesus the Savior was unique. He is called the Unique One of the universe, the uniquely born Son of God. Here is something interesting, He is born sharing our blood and flesh and lives in the same world we do. For 30 years limiting Him to a regular human life, learning how to walk, adolescence, work, family, and the human pace, walking, not even a bicycle to get around faster. You would expect so much of the same life as we all have and yet He is entirely original. He shares in our experiences and our pain but contrasts for us a life without the fallen nature. He wasn’t predictable, personally ambitious, petty, or fearful. He was at times troubled and tired or even righteously angry but the point is that it didn’t lead to the inevitable results that fallen humans share in; sin, bitterness and misery. Where condemnation was expected he brought forgiveness and in great pain and suffering instead of focusing on Himself and His own crisis, He was focused on others and His Father’s plan and promises. This one man’s life and work and death were so unique it literally changed the world forever.
This different kind of life I need, it’s not mine, it’s His. His life is the only one that breaks the mold. It goes so far beyond the best that mankind can be. I want that and the best part is that because of the free gift of believing in Him for salvation, it’s mine to live in any time I want. As I read over this, it almost sounds like I want desperately to be a better person but that is not what I’m getting at. I’m not looking to please God with some behavior modification and pursuit of forced purity. I am talking about becoming so like Him naturally through taking in His thoughts from His word daily, the way He designed it, by the prepared Pastor Teacher I’ve been called to. Add to that staying in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit by confessing my personal sins to the Father as they happen on a regular basis. These are super simple things, listen and stay in fellowship. Through this pipeline, God creates in me a unique unpredictable life that doesn’t simply “rise above” the common human experience. I am literally something new. When I live the natural normal Christian life in God’s plan I’m not seeking a higher plane of existence, I’m living this life with all the chores and pain and love and problems and even the fun, as a new creature (patterned after The Lord Jesus Christ). There will be something unexpected and wonderful in all the usual human experiences for me if I choose it.
What does all this look like, if I see the old common human experience as dead (and that is what I think is happening for me) and choose this better way of life? Well, that is the mystery of living day by day. I don’t truly know. I still spend a lot of time living in the common patterns of humanity or “the flesh” for short. I have experienced it at times but haven’t attained the life I have this fantastic view of right now. I know it’s real though, and so I’m pressing on as the Apostle Paul would say, to reach it, to experience it in larger and larger doses.
Santa says, “You better watch out, don’t be naughty or else!” A jolly old man who uses guilt and threats against children who know deep down that being good even for a week is an impossible task. He looks bright and cheerful, magical even, but under it all Santa is kind of a jerk, but we forgive him because he brings presents to all the good little boys and girls.
The Savior was born because we were naughty not nice, a gift to be offered for all the bad little boys and girls, because there was none righteous not even one. We couldn’t have any of the presents, like eternal life, fellowship with God, the true purpose and meaning of life, God’s happiness and real contentment. God’s plan was always to solve that problem and Jesus the messiah was the answer. “For God so loved the world that He gave His uniquely born Son that whoever believes in Him (trusts in and relies upon for salvation) will not perish (be stuck without God and all the presents for eternity) but have eternal life” The Lord Jesus doesn’t say “Be good or else!” He is begging mankind to accept the gift of Himself because he wants to give us all the presents. Jesus took naughty and nice out of the way and offered us Himself as an alternative. No guilt, no threats, just a free gift for anyone who will accept it.
This last year has gone by so fast. With doing school and going to Bible conference in Tucson, moving, and getting settled in TX it’s been a crazy year and it’s not over yet. We move again to our permanent duty station in CA at the beginning of Oct. I just found out yesterday when we would be able to move. We are looking forward to CA since I have some family there and of course all the great things to do in CA, especially seeing the ocean.
School has started again and my Workboxes are working wonderfully and making a big difference. The kids plow through all the drawers they can do on their own and it leaves me lots of time to do the “teaching” when necessary. I still haven’t figured out how to keep up with all the housework too but I think a perfect house is a lost cause during the school year. I’ll take going to the park over cleaning the toilets anyday! This year we are still using Prof. B math along with Saxon + the Dive Teacher, Noeo Science, The Phonics Road, Homeschool in the woods O.T. lapbook, Typing Instructor (which my son commented was fun because he likes the games and collecting things), Student Writing Intensive (IEW), and also the spelling program from The Institute for Excellence in Writing and an American History series I’ve thrown together myself. We don’t do all of this every day but when I split it up over the week it works just fine.
It will be interesting to see how things go with moving.
The disaster, the betrayal, the bad driver, the late app, the minor inconvenience, they all send me right over the edge, trying desperately to control and fix and manipulate or worry things back to the way I want them and when that doesn’t work, maybe some cursing and yelling and throwing a grown-up fit will help, or at least make me feel better. When I sit in Bible class and learn about the sure confidence I can have in the plan of God, in His promise to work all things together for my good, Rom 8:28, I nod my head in agreement. I am sure in that moment that the next time I face an unexpected difficulty I will easily recall to mind that God has everything under control, everything is for my benefit and just relax. Only, that pretty much never happens, the very next time things go wrong, I freak out. I’ve been thinking a little about why that is, and I’ve come up with a couple of reasons. First, I react and get out of fellowship with God. Secondly, I think I’m going to lose out on something. All the available data from the unhappy circumstance says that I’m going to be worse off because of whatever is going wrong. Either I’m going to suffer, (Noooooooo!) or my living circumstances will go down in some way (ensuing pity party). Thirdly, the appearance of the circumstance usually looks like it has no end in sight, so as far as I can see, everything will be bad forever-more. Once I start thinking like that it’s hard to remember any doctrine. Many times I have faced a sudden difficulty, thought that it would last forever, or that there was no way out and sure enough God fixed the problem and I felt foolish later. Then again sometimes there has been a prolonged period of suffering, God chose not to “fix” everything and in the end I learned things about God and grew in my relationship with Him in ways I never could have otherwise. What I want to get at is, that sometimes things are meant to look bad, hopeless, or endless so that I can learn not to look at the things that are seen but the things that are unseen and see things from God’s perspective or at least remember that He has a perspective I can’t see, which glorifies Him and benefits me. He promised that nothing can happen in my life that He didn’t first approve and that includes other people’s evil decisions, which affect me. It also includes my own bad decisions that hurt me too, and circumstances simply designed to challenge the mental attitude. Just a little perseverance when things look bad could go a long way.