Thursday, June 28, 2007

Move that Boulder!

I’ve been reading some of the news articles online about the President and Congress and how nobody is able to accomplish anything of real value because of the constant bickering and unwillingness or inability to work together. Therefore, the people of our nation are impatient about the status of our economy, about the rising taxes and national debt, about our involvement in Iraq, etc., etc. Our Congress which is now being labeled the “Do Nothing Congress” because of their Tuesday through Thursday workweek (!) and inability to actually accomplish anything when together, is being blamed for all sorts of evil in our nation and the world. Why can’t the Democrats and Republicans do any good together? Why is the battle between “Red vs. Blue” more important than the battle for righteousness, justice and fairness these days? Why can’t those in Washington “do their job” and help others, decrease the unemployment rate, take better care of the environment, put more money in our pockets, get our soldiers out of Iraq and get rid of injustice in the world? Who do we think we are anyway??* I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know there’s an awful lot of finger-pointing going around. And when fingers are pointing, hands are idle. I was forwarded this email and liked this little story contained therein:

The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand -

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition.

I would like to add to the last sentence “it also presents an opportunity to improve other’s conditions.” There seems to be no longer any personal responsibility for anything these days, and this irks me to no end. People no longer know how to take blame but are very good at dishing it out. It’s a very rare thing to hear anyone apologize for anything these days. There is this sense of entitlement adopted by us, and it seems to be getting worse as the generations continue. I am as guilty of this as the next person, however I’m convicted to be less so, not only for my own sake, but also for my children’s sake. Do I really want my children to adopt a victim mentality and think they are powerless to change their life or others’ lives? Do I want them to stand idly by waiting for a politician to feed their next door neighbor when there is plenty of food in their own cabinets? Do I want my children to be the type of bystanders that do nothing while an elderly person is mugged and beaten near them? I hope my children will not heed the advice of others when told they can’t do the improbable or even impossible when it comes to changing the world for the better. I hope my children will be the type to want to run into danger if necessary and fight for justice for Truth’s sake. I hope I am able to teach my children to be leaders, but if not leaders, then followers of good and true leadership. I hope my children will come to understand that sometimes looking to a leader to accomplish something is pointless and should instead look into a mirror. I hope we can all be the type to put our burdens down every once in awhile and with much difficulty, move the boulder and make Life easier and worthier, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.


P.S. Thanks for listening and allowing me to vent my frustration and stand on my soapbox for a second. Comments welcome…

*These questions are not necessarily “my” questions but more a representative sampling of questions heard throughout the nation.
Unfortunately, not being politically or socially as active as I feel I should be, I don’t feel equipped to necessarily ask many questions but rather observe the questions being asked and topics being discussed. How’s that for a disclaimer?

And, by the way, as far as the “who do we think we are” question, I personally feel we are an amazingly blessed and powerful nation that can help right many wrongs in the world while having the ability to take care of “our own”, but unfortunately, don’t always actually do this which is where we, as the church, should come in. Maybe if there was less government, there would be more opportunities for the church to serve, but that’s another whole argument for another soapbox moment. :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just Be Yourself

Recently I attended a women’s retreat that focused on the issue of our identity in Christ. This topic has the potential to be a bit to “Christian cliché” for me, but I discovered some gems of truth I thought worthy of sharing.

We tend to wrap our identity around what we DO instead of who we ARE. This is such an easy mistake to make, especially when what you do seems so very important or all-consuming. On my good days, I see motherhood this way – as the most important thing any woman could do, and, on any day, my life confirms that is truly is all-consuming. On a bad day, I forget to value motherhood and therefore, feel unimportant, insignificant and stagnant.

Therein lies the horrible consequence of finding our identity in our activity. If your activity doesn’t measure up to some standard (be it a reasonable expectation or not) you suddenly loose value as a person and start on a slippery slope that ends somewhere around “why the heck am I here?” and “what’s the point of living?”

No. Our identity has NOTHING to do with how we spend our days on earth. Identity attempts to define something more hidden, a magical part of us that makes us who we are, the essence of our being.

When we acknowledge Christ as Lord and make the choice to follow him, something tremendous happens to our identity. It becomes the very identity of Christ himself.

Don’t skim that. Read it again. Your identity is that of Jesus Christ. There are many verses that support this: God made you alive in Christ; your life is now hidden with Christ in God, you also will appear with him in glory; to live is Christ and to die is gain; if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation.

In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples he advises us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In the past, as I have prayed these words, I have thought “big picture” – let there be peace on earth, good will towards men kind of thoughts. But when you bring this down to a personal level, there is an amazing truth to cherish. In heaven, you are, and I am, already in Glory with Christ. I don’t mean once my physical body dies. I mean right now. When I chose Christ, I chose His Identity as my own, from that point on for all eternity.

Do you know what this means? Right now, as I write, God is seeing me through the filter of Jesus Christ. What does this filter provide? It provides God the ability to see me as all the things I wish I was or know I need to be. Wish I was more patient? In God’s eyes, I already am full to overflowing with patience. Focusing on all may faults as a wife, as a mother as a daughter (in-law especially right now) ? In the eyes of God, I am an amazing mother – the best mother in the world for the children He has granted me. I am the perfect fit for my husband – bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. And in God’s opinion, I am the Ruth (of Ruth and Naomi) to Terry – her family against all odds.

Don’t leave the reading of this without taking a moment to apply this to your own life. What do you wish you were? What failure do you see in your life that nags you time and time again? Take a moment to see what God sees. He sees Christ! He sees the most beautiful, beloved daughter – a princess through and through – who lives in the absolute perfection of her Savoir, Jesus Christ. When you live with this identity of yourself, you are suddenly transformed – you find the strength to be all that you want and wish you could be.

GO BE IT. (You already are!)

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