Friday, April 26, 2013

Are You Quite Sure You're Content?

Two years ago today I wrote a blog titled, "It's All About Contentment & Service." Two years ago I was just back from New Zealand, getting ready to go back to work and to live; little did I know that I would end up going to Australia and find myself in the most discontent state of my life.

Here is an excerpt from that blog:

Are you content? If no, then look at what you've made up your mind to do. Maybe what you've made up your mind to do needs some re-adjustment. Maybe you're not giving as you've made up your mind in which case you may just need to re-focus...I think so many of us aren't content because what we've made up our minds for isn't what we want to do; we made up our minds based on security, earthly wisdom, and cultural pressures not based on who we are and how we've been made.

When I wrote these words I never expected them to ever apply to me. I thought I had found my calling, my purpose, and I was living my life to its intended purpose while the surrounding majority was lost in their discontentment. The funny thing is that I am more content now than I have ever been. I am more content now here in my home, with my family, in my country, being a nanny, a neighbor, a gardener, and one who is still searching, than I ever was overseas living the life I thought was intended, forcibly straining to give in the ways that I had made up my mind to give.

It'll be a year in June that I've been back from Australia. During this time God has done just what He promised: He has reminded me of who I am, who I truly am, and He has brought me to a place of rest and peace- a place of permenance, a place of dwelling, that none need ever leave; a place of spirit as much as a place of being.

I share my life and my struggles not for the sake of merely doing so, but because I truly hope that people would get it. I want people to be who God has made them to be and not who the church tells them they should be, not who their leaders thell them they should be, not who their culture tells them they should be, but who God has made them to be because even when I thought I was being that person, I wasn't. Even when I thought that I was living outside such pressures, I was living under them and maybe by reading of my blindness someone might gain insight.

So are you content? Are you quite sure you're content?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reaching for Connection

In school I heard it argued that we, as Christians, ought to form an assault on the 10/40 window (a Christian geographical term for the countries which still have yet to be prostheletized) in order that all might be "reached" with the gospel so that we may finally go to heaven...

In churches I hear it argued that if I truly loved Jesus that I would be talking about Him constantly, that His message would be forever on my lips. I've also heard it argued that if I truly loved people that I would be fervently, actively and presently trying to "reach" those around me.

According to the book Louder Than Words: Non-verbal Communication by A. Barbour, only 7% of communication is verbal. The rest of communicating is made up by 38% vocal (tone, pitch, volume, rhythm, etc) and 55% body movements.

It is amazing to me that, of all communication, what you say carries the least weight against how you say it and and not near as much as to how you show it. Yet we hear so much demand on our words.

I love that word "reached". Because "reaching" doesn't imply speaking at all; in fact, by definition it is a movement, "the stretching of a hand or arm in a specified direction in order to touch or grasp something." You might even call it, "connecting."

What a beautiful picture.

What's even more beautiful about connecting is that it is a humble bond in which you are not the only giver. With every connection I find myself being fashioned more and more into that woman I so long to be.

Psalms 34:8 says, "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!..." The last thing I want is for people to only know Jesus by what they've heard spoken. I want people to know God because they connected to Him when they connected to me; to be able to say that they know God because they know me, that they have seen God because they've seen me, and that they've tasted a bit of God through my hospitality.

In my experience, though limited against some, I have found that it is not what I say that impacts people, but what I don't say married with what I do that miraculously and graciously carries the affect. Every now and again God hands me a few sentences to verbalize, but more often than that I find Him bidding me sit, bidding me listen, bidding me touch, bidding me hold, bidding me stay, bidding me kiss, bidding me cry, bidding me laugh, bidding me move.

It all kinda brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Shut the hell up."

...think about it.