Sunday, March 9, 2008
Silence the Voices to only One
Sometimes the information age that we are in can be so draining. Don't get me wrong, I love the Internet and have been positively impacted in immeasurable ways through all that I can learn with just a few keystrokes. It's empowered me in many ways to research, to question, to learn, to listen, and then make the decisions myself. BUT, there are so many people out there spouting off opinions and ideals and thoughts who claim to be experts and so many of these so-called experts contradict each other!! I have termed all of these people...the food gurus, the education gurus, the sustainable gurus, the spiritual gurus...the "voices".
There are so many "voices" competing for our minds, for our agreement, for our submission. I am getting so drained by all these "voices" who tell me the best way to educate, the best way to live, the best way to worship, the best way to eat, the best way to parent, and on and on and on. Most of these "voices" are well-meaning and passionate and convincing which makes silencing them even more difficult. And I don't doubt that they have seen "fruit" in their lives, in their children, in their health. But that doesn't mean it's the BEST or God's plan or the thing that will make the Fall actually go away! I love that John Eldredge says "it can't be done". No amount of good choices can redeem us, make us happy, gives us guarantees, or fulfill promises. We live in a painful world and are promised suffering. That's a hard, disillusioning pill to swallow.
I spent years in a controlling spiritual environment that taught me that I have a vast amount of control through choice. So I obsessed about the best schooling, the best eating, the best way of living, the best way to hear/obey God. I thought that I would then have the guarantee of perfect kids, perfect health, perfect peace, perfect connection with God. My goal was not so much to honor Christ but to be perfect. But you know what? The Lord has been bringing me to the place of brokenness and humility (and I continually wander in and out of that hard place as I see more icky junk in my heart!) that says that God is sovereign and good and loving and I am not justified by my choices or guaranteed anything in this life. I could eat Big Macs, use plastic daily, send my kids to public school, throw everything away, and God still loves me, accepts me and call me His own. What grace! What freedom!
I am what Bebo Norman calls himself...a "clumsy Christian". I am going to stumble, bumble, doubt, and fall and I want to seek to continually hold on to Jesus instead of the illusion of control through lifestyle choices. Jesus is who I need. Jesus is who saves, who sustains, who upholds....when all of my plans come to naught, He is still loving me, caring for me and my children, and guarantees me a spot reserved in heaven with Him.
We all need to rest more. We take ourselves way too seriously. We need to take the FINISHED work on the Cross more seriously. It is finished. We are completed. We are WHOLE! If I don't eat organic, Jesus loves me and is pleased with me. If I don't homeschool, Jesus loves me and is pleased with me. If I don't recycle, Jesus loves me and is pleased with me. He settled all of that before I even came to be! Do you truly believe that if you stopped doing every "good thing" in your life right now that He would still be completely accepting of you and loving you fully?
Lest you think I now promote a complete hedonistic lifestyle, no worries :) I still feel that the choices I am making right now are important ones for me and my family, but I am seeking not to put my faith in those choices. I place my faith daily in Him and in His sufficiency and in His wonderful grace. And as I do this, I am actually liking myself more and other people more. I am becoming kinder, more loving, more accepting, more gracious, more hospitable, more willing to learn from others who are different, more inviting....hmmmm, more like Jesus :) The more I place my faith in MY choices, MY lifestyle, and MY ways, I am more judgmental, alienated, isolated, elitist, self-righteous, perfectionistic....full of Self with lack of love and tolerance and graciousness towards others. It's a sad place to be. Jesus, deliver me!
Without love we are nothing. I can eat great, school well, memorize Scripture, balance the checkbook, and sew beautiful goods, but without love, it just doesn't matter. It just doesn't.
So my top priority right now is not to investigate more informed choices....I need a break from all the information overload and to just sit, just be, just rest in Jesus. And to spend more time focused on others and loving them through asking better questions, inviting people in, really listening, bringing a meal over, offering to help, etc. Sometimes consuming ourselves with our own lives and choices makes for a very self-consumed person unable to see the needs of those around and taking baby steps to serve. I simply want my daily goal to be to love Jesus and love others.
So I will continue to share about my thoughts on lots of different topics...but I want my life to also not become bogged down by these ultimately non-essential issues. I want to spend more time reflecting on Jesus and His call to love than I do other things. I don't want my view of Him and His call to be so small that all I can talk about or get passionate about is recycling, sewing, organic eating, good books, or whatever. I want to listen more to Him right now than I do all the "voices"...to tune into what the Ultimate Expert is wanting to say to me right now. And I think I already know what He is saying....just love people, Aimee, just love.