Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We have the ability

I have not written up my Bible readings as often as I intended to do so. Summer has proved busy. I've gotten into the habit of almost always having my Bible with me so that I can read a few pages in the quiet moments I can steal in the midst of my busy life - but that doesn't allow much time for writing and reflection. But, after what seems like non-stop work days and a wonderful visit with a friend in between those - I finally have a day off with no plans.

In Isaiah 30 something stood out to me. I always feel the need to clarify that I am not offering up any scholarly critique or opinion of these passages. That I haven't done much (if any) research on the cultural/historical/language of origin and the implication therein for these passages. I'm simply talking about how the passage speaks to me in this moment. I think that's part of the beauty of scripture. I remember during college a Sunday school teacher talked about how the Jewish people viewed scripture as a prism - - and that every way you turned it it reflected the light in a different way. So - this is just one of the ways the light reflected to me.

" 1 "Ah, stubborn children," declares the LORD, "who carry out a plan, but not mine,and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
2 who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,"

What stuck out to me here is what the Israelites did do - not what they didn't do. It's not that they did not have the ability to carry out plans, or to make alliances, or to complete a journey - - they did all those things - - they just didn't do it the right way.

Sometimes I feel like my mindset is that I don't know how to plan my life in a way that is honoring to God - - in a "I don't know what the right path is" way - - that I don't have the ability to really, 100% partner with the truth of the Spriit that dwells in me. That I don't have the ability to know the path I'm suppose to take. But the truth is - - I do. I regularly make plans for my life and follow through with them. I follow the directions of life - implied or explicit. I uphold the values (I form an alliance) with various people and organizations - -my family/friends, my employer, my own personal beliefs. No - not always perfectly. But I have the ability to do that. Therefore it makes sense that I have the ability to seek out and follow the direction of God.

It seems so simple typing that up - - but it's so easy to act confused about the plans, directions, and will of God. The older I get the more convinced I am that there is not a specific road map for our lives that God has locked away somewhere but that an honest and seeking heart will find a path that is blessed. I think that's the "pray without ceasing," "do not quench the Spirit" part of this faith - -that's the alliance with the Spirit

Monday, June 28, 2010

Purpose of Dreams

One of my dreams involves living in a large old Victorian style house - full of floors of rooms and rooms. A large kitchen, a spacious dining room, a comfy library, and a welcoming family room. I want to fill the rooms with people - children, guests, boarders, whoever. I'd decorate it with antiques that tell a story - that remind me and of others of distant times and treasured values. I picture large Holiday dinners with people of every age packed around a table sharing a meal.

Another dream has me cozied up inside a small yurt or tiny house (or maybe even an RV?) in the middle of wide open spaces. The view disrupted only by fellow small-dwelling neighbors. Minimalist interior - the only contents the bare necessities. Clean lines, modern, functional, no excess. A testament to the fact that we can live and thrive on far less than our society tells us we need. I dream of cook-outs - people milling around an open yard and sitting under shade trees. Neighbors bringing a dish and everyone spreading out on blankets to eat. Afterwards everyone - adult and child alike - bands together for a game of tag or backyard baseball.

I'm looking for the same thing in both dreams really. In both the dreams I'm harvesting a garden and canning the produce. The size of the garden and the number of jars varies. (I should probably learn how to can . . .) In both I'm interacting with people - neighbors or housemates. In both I'm focusing on something I think is important - in the first on on history and a past through the old house and antique decor. In the latter - on simplicity and not holding on to things that will perish.

I don't really see them as opposing dreams though - yes, I can't really live in both a large house and a small house at the same time. But I think that no matter where God leads me to live - I can live out some of those values that produce those dreams. I think I'm starting to realize that it's not so much about getting to your dream - it's about figuring out how your dreams are suppose to impact your life. God didn't give me these desires to have them put on hold until "one day" - they're here now and should be used now. It's difficult to realize the people part of my dreams as an introvert - but I'm thankful to God who seems to throw me in the middle of people - and often puts someone there who will pull me into being involved. I try to find ways to incorporate the things I value (history, roots, self-sufficiency, minimalism, stories, community, etc) into my everyday life today.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back to The Bible

First of all - I realize that I haven't posted my project 365/reading list from April OR May. You can see all the photos by clicking on the flickr badge to the right if that interests you. As far as the reading list - I haven't been doing much reading the past couple of months. I go through spurts where reading interests me or not - it would seem I'm not currently interested.

However - I am doing a lot of reading in June. I'm picking back up on my "Read Through the Bible" attempt that I started almost a year ago. The goal then was to finish in 40 days - that obviously didn't happen. I did make it to the beginning of Psalms though - so I'm picking up there and aiming to read large chunks until I get to the end of the Revelation. I read through all of the reflections I wrote up last summer before I picked up in the Psalms - and I hope to resume posting reflections here as I work my way through the second half of the Bible.

However - for today - no great reflection, just a verse that made me smile. It is common to hear that God is the "father to the fatherless" and the "strength to the weak" - that He provides a refuge to the hurting and that he cares for the orphans, widows, and poor - - but here is a "need meeter" verse that I've never before noticed:

"God settles the solitary in a home" (Psalm 68:6a, ESV)

Other translations have solitary as "lonely" or "homeless." KJV has "solitary" - but replaces "home" with "families."

A quick glance at the Strong's seems to say to me that "solitary" is an accurate word there. That it doesn't necessarily mean lonely or homeless. I'm not Biblical language scholar though.

But - I love that it has solitary - - because there's a need/condition to which I can relate. The need for a solitary person to have a home and a family - - regardless of if that person is lonely or not. Because, while there are times in life where I can feel lonely - I don't call myself lonely. However - solitary I am - or was - but God has provided a home and a "family" for me that makes my life not-so-solitary. Sometimes I wish for solitude - but mostly I really enjoy this life God has blessed me with.