Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Heart

Sometimes I get too comfy in my life. I slide by doing the things that must be done, raising children, being a wife, dabbling in my giftings and reading good novels.
All worthy pursuits, enjoyable, lovely to me, yet not without their challenges, except the novel part. The most difficult part of a great book is either the finishing of it, or it slipping from my fingers as my head droops weary into the pillows and my eyelids close despite valiant efforts to read just to the end of this chapter...

It's summer time, both the time of relaxing and ruts.

I've been getting up later, doing less housework, playing more with my kids and relaxing. Sounds good doesn't it.
It is.
My recent realization is that I've been living a summer life for a while. Some seasons (like the school year) require that I get up earlier, but it's not about that.

If I break it down, I think it's about diligence, pouring my all in, doing it for others, not myself and living outside my own head and heart. I think that's how Mother Teresa lived, if I can even begin to imagine what she was like. She seemed to be so other-focussed. That's what a life of service flows from is that fountain heart of giving instead of taking, generosity instead of selfishness and compassion rather than self centredness.

There has to be a frequent checking going on to evaluate which well my actions are springing from.
Within the past year, our Pastor preached a sermon describing how our beliefs motivate our values, which in turn influence our actions. He set these three points up in a pyramid as follows:

a c t i o n s
v a l u e s
b e l i e f s

Everything actually seems to spring forth from what we fundamentally believe about God, others and ourselves, about anything really. This resonated with me. If I believe deeply and fundamentally that God is who He says He is and that He really wants us to love Him first and then others as we love ourselves, then my value system will support this and my actions will confirm what I say I believe.
To my chagrin I often have to question what I truly believe, because my actions don't always support my talk.
I know that in my heart of hearts I believe in God, in His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified, died and was buried and on the third day He rose again, is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us, and that one day He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
My difficulty is breaching the gap between belief and what comes out of me at times.
I know I am being sanctified and I see the work He is doing. It is like my joyful friend said to me the other day, that to change the direction of a ship, the rudder slowly begins to swing that great vessel around(depending on the size of the ship of course), and the turn can take an awfully long time, but yet it is being accomplished.
What springs to me from just even saying that is this. If I am a ship and am such a great vessel that I take so long to turn, then there is far too much of me. Let Christ increase and me decrease that the turning and sanctifying be effective and timely.

One of my favorite writers is Brennan Manning. In 2005 he wrote a book called "The Importance of Being Foolish - How To Think Like Jesus".
He identifies how we are preoccupied with security, pleasure and power and calls us out of these self focussed pursuits to live as "a community of Christians who would live under the sway of the Spirit, men and women who would be human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ, prophets and lovers ignited with the flaming Spirit of the living God." (excerpt from the introduction of the aforementioned book by Brennan Manning).

I am struck by God's mercy and so often astonished that He still wants anything to do with me at all. But He seems to have more to complete in my life, and I am so grateful that He will take the time. For He is patient, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

I love you my King and my God. Build in me the beliefs that will fuel all I value so that everything I do only shows who You are.
Thank you for your molding and forming of this vessel. I am grateful beyond belief...well maybe not beyond, but grateful right deeply into all that I believe. Increase Lord...

2 comments:

Susan said...

"If I am a ship and am such a great vessel that I take so long to turn, then there is far too much of me. Let Christ increase and me decrease..."

THAT is brilliant...

Joyful Fox said...

Angcat,

It really comes down to that doesn't it, too little of Him and too much of me! Oh that it weren't so!

I am comforted by the verse my dear husband quotes so often: Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.

Dying to self, living for Him!