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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rediscovering Worship

"It makes you wonder
if all our time spent making lists
would be better spent painting
or writing or singing
or learning to speak stories."

I've been to four states in the past three weeks (not including my own) and iI've learned a monumental truth in the process.

Well first of all, I probably shouldn't do that again. I think all the time, which gets me easily anxious and overwhelmed - and being on the go and surrounded by people alll theee timeee is a recipe for disaster. I love being by myself, I need to be by myself, that's how I energize, and when I implement journaling and prayer and time alone, I stay sane and grounded.

But maybe it's good when my routine is shaken up and when I reach those desperate moments of feeling anxious and super overwhelmed. When my mind can't take it anymore. when I realize that I can't do this life on my own. When I realize that my strength is short lived when it is powered by me.

Because it is in those moments of craziness when I realize, "whoaaaa heyyyy I need God. I need someone other than myself." It's when I fall deep into my corner, my steady reminder me of the community I need. I'm reminded that I need to SLOW down, to rejuvenate, and to make time with Jesus a number one even when my routine is so out of sync. It is when I feel so out of control, so overwhelmed, so in over my head, that I remember what I continuously forget:

God is my dependency.

When it's some thing I normally have control over, it's terrifying to lose it. We are wired for dependency and too often I depend on my weak, frail humanity. It is becoming humbling to reach my breaking point, the end of myself, and have to crawl to my corner and admit I failed in thinking I could go about my days without surrendering. It is becoming a good reminder of why I do some of the things I do, why it's so important to daily surrender, why it's so crucial to set time aside to make the day not about me. because I desperately need God.

Keep me accountable?

But what I'm mostly learning now (and still grasping!) is what worship looks like. I've rediscovered worship! This is probably the coolest, most freeing thing I've learned in a while (can you tell I'm pumped!?).

I have the instinct and the mentality to feel guilty. If I don't read my Bible "enough" or if I prayed a little less than I "should" have, I often go to bed thinking of what "more" I can do the next day. What a terrible way to live. I read it first from Rob Bell (Donald Miller says it too. And so does John Ortberg) that worship is not so clearly defined like that. Instead of using words like "should," "enough," or "more," what if I went to bed thinking about all the ways I did glorify and praise God that day?

Went to lunch (Taco Bell) with a friend.
Read a good book.
Had a conversation about Christ.
Read my friend's blogs.
Wrote peng yu an email.
Played a game.
Spent time with my family.

Aren't all those things acts of worship??
God's given me gifts; I'm worshipping Him when I use them!
In The Me I Want to Be (Please read it! This book is changing my perspective on everything), John Ortberg writes, "what makes an activity spiritual is not the activity itself. It is whether or not I do it with and through the Spirit. The main measure of your devotion to God IS NOT your devotional life.


So the questions to ask are,

What do you do that makes you feel fully alive?
Are you faithfully doing it?

You're worshipping when you do!

ps. What I'm reading now:

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time

Due to feedback I've recently gotten, I'm ashamed that I've just now read A Wrinkle in Time. Most people read it when you were supposed to: in elementary school. But no worries. Even though I am a brand new adult, the magic of this classic was not lost.

One of my favorite characters was Aunt Beast. Meg and her entourage arrive on Aunt Beast's planet embattled and at a crucial leg of their journey. Meg soon realizes that Aunt Beast and the other "beasts" on the planet have no distinction between dark and light. They have no eyes and cannot see.

Aunt beast says this, "we do not know what things look like, as you say, we know what things are like. It must be a very limited thing, this seeing." What an amazing truth! And it takes me back to my friend Marri's Donald Miller inspired "what if" blog post:

What if I stopped seeing people and started looking at who they are?
What if I stopped seeing things or tasks as boring or bland but starting knowing them as opportunities?
What if I stopped limiting myself through seeing through my own tiny lens and instead freed myself through knowing the big picture?
Not knowing what Jesus and His grace looks like to me but knowing who He really is?

I always see myself in the books I read. And this time especially, I saw myself as Meg. She's got major faults, she's impatient, she's got awesome siblings. But our strongest similarity-- she's so inquisitive. She has to understand. Things don't make sense. Things will never make sense to her until they are understood.

But what Meg learned and what I'm learning is that isn't true. That doesn't have to be true. I will never truly understand some things in life and Meg will never truly understand the Black Thing and why or how it works.

But as L'engle writes, "you don't have to understand things for them to be," or as Meg's mom wisely says, "but you see, Meg, just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist."

That gives me a peace.
That peace that can come even when my understanding doesn't.

Which brings its own understanding, doesn't it? In what's sort of a twist, when I can't obtain "human" understanding, but I have a peace, then my understanding becomes so much greater. I stop having to digest and analyze every detail or dissect everyone's actions-- and can start seeing the big picture.

Meg must save Charles Wallace from the Black Thing.
And I am saved by grace.
I have been given grace so I can extend it to others.

And there really is nothing more to understand. How freeing is that?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Birthday Love!

I've been trying to find that one moment in my life when I "become" an adult. There's got to be something defining that happens to people when they pass into adulthood and "grow up". I was starting to get worried that I had missed my moment or that it had come and gone and that iI'd never really be an adult
(until I got married.. but we'll have that discussion later). I'd have mature moments here and there, but overall I wasn't there yet. Quite frankly, I didn't even feel very close (I wear fake glasses, I like to play games, I think silly bands are awesome, I'd choose to live in a Harry Potter fantasy world).

But I turned 23 today and smacked
headfirst into adulthood. And I realized I had been there for a lot longer than I thought. My parents gave me furniture for my birthday and if that's not the indicator of maturity, then I don't
know what is. New bookshelves and a side table: best gifts I could have gotten.

Tonight at dinner and fellowship I shared with friends, I realized that most of them are adults. With kids. Those are the people I'd rather be around (I'll still be your friend if you're unmarried without kids). But looking around tonight at all the love I was feeling from my "grown up" friends, I realized that I'm one of them. I'm there! Of course there's still a lot of growing and maturing to do and I don't feel like I've reached any sort of destination, but I do feel a new chapter beginning. I feel new realizations. I can still wear my glasses and silly bands while playing a game and daydreaming about going to Hogwarts.. and still be an adult. Those childlike parts of me don't really have to die, do they?

Thanks to everyone who made me feel loved today! You know I send it all
right back.

p.s. Here are the books I'm reading next:
Searching For God Knows What : Donald Miller
The Me I Want to Be : John Ortberg
The Fellowship of the Ring : JRR Tolkien (you're welcome Todd)
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years : Donald Miller
Read with me!