Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Setting my Mind on Things Above

At graduation parties and when catching up with old friends, you're bound to hear, "What's new?" "What are your plans for the future?" "What are you doing these days?" These questions leave little room for my honest self (who loves answering questions) to redirect the conversation to more interesting topics. See, I would much rather answer, "What is God teaching you this week?"

I am, therefore, going to pretend that you just asked me that question. The following is a fairly complete rendition of what I jounaled Sunday morning instead of listening to the sermon introduction.

I'm torn - as in anguished; I am having trouble saying 'Thy will be done.' The temptation is to give in and do things the world's way, and I want to give in. Usually when I face pleasing God, seeking His approval, instead of man's, I am seeing a world of materialistic anti-God masses. But I struggle most to walk by faith when friends don't value the investment of my life. "What have you accomplished?" "What's new?"

Well, my little sisters don't want to go to college; they want to be moms who stay home. They see that as an acceptable alternative. My brothers are strong, thoughtful, and considerate. The one and two year olds at church had a safe hour and a half last Sunday, and heard a few books read to them, and got a few hugs. Friday my Awana girls played with me and found out I've never been kissed (and I'm still alive, still laugh, still smile, still plan to get married, still have friends). I shared the gospel (how to be saved from the punishment of sins and have a living relationship with Jesus Christ) here several times. The older Awana kids know me as coach and friend. A few weeks ago I judged a debate tournament, and this week I went to one of their plays. Yesterday morning I looked after a two year old because it served and I love kids. Sunday school lessons and a book are in the works on my computer, but not done yet. Each week I pray with ladies at my church. I read and I work and I clean and think and go to parties.

These are all things I love to do; I don't do them for credit, so I usually wouldn't think of mentioning them if someone asks what I do. (I'm not saying, either, that any of the results above are something I did alone. Independence isn't a big virtue in my philosophy. I'm saying I participate.) They're fun. They're my life. They're simple. The investments are in others, so it's hard to point to my tally of accomplishments.

And while I'm challenged to do more, work harder, make phone calls, send notes, stop by to pray, step forward to express care, boldly speak the gospel in public, dare to live as a sister in Christ and no more - all those are still little things. They're not big and noticeable like earning a degree or having a baby or visiting Australia. That doesn't make them less valuable.

So maybe with all these "burdens," and to use a popular buzz-word, "insecurities," God is telling me to look to Him. Desire Him. Set my mind on things above. Please Him. Cast on Him my cares.

And I'm reminded again, that while I want my life to be an adventure, and I want it to be important, I want it to represent a different set of values, and to defend those before the world - the whole world, even those who already know they ought to be valued.

Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,
will of God."

(The links are to verses about which I've been thinking recently as well.)

To God be all glory.

PS: God knows my struggles. As if to say that He does value my obedience - He is so gracious to me! - He sent me some thank-you's and some compliments tonight that touched me very deeply. He reminded me that, like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, my life has an impact on other people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa, This blog reminded me so much of how I felt as a new believer and newlywed. I was not young and I felt very behind the rest of the world, Christian and nonChristian. I was growing in faith, learning about God, making a home for my husband, but when asked what I was doing, nothing sounded as if it would be of any interest to others.
I think my feelings came from the fact that we are all susceptible to thinking love is conditional and earned. We are all used to performance based love more than God's unconditional undeserved love. Even now I often have trouble thinking of anything to say in answer to the type of questions you mentioned. You do such a good job in expressing a snapshot of your life in writing--maybe if you shared those same answers at graduation gatherings you might find a kindred spirit there afterall. CAR