Category Archives: Christian faith

I Think I Have the Assignment

While lunching with my good friend, Jean, yesterday, she commented on my dream post. Her sense was that God is asking me to redefine success. Her suggestion was that I begin to ask God if He wants me to do such-and-such and to listen more closely to Him about what to choose.

It JUST SO HAPPENS that I started reading this book called CrazyBusy and I had already begun to realize some ways to slow my pace down.

As I drove Kepler to the doctor yesterday afternoon, I decided to take that driving time to pray and think rather than listen to talk radio, or text (I know, I know). I asked God what the assignment is. A song came into my mind — an old chorus I learned many years ago, based on Micah 6:8.

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I’ve been thinking I need a “mission statement” or something similar so that as I make decisions I can quickly ask myself “does this activity fulfill my three-point clear mission statement?” and if it doesn’t I can confidently toss it aside and move onto the next thing.

CrazyBusy pointed out that this way of living modern life — tossing things aside so we can get to the next one — leads to the lack of doing the things we really want to do, and sometimes the things we really should do. God knows I have plenty of days where I do alot of stuff, but miss out on some of the things I really love, and some of the things that are really timely and important.

So, when Micah 6:8 came into my mind, I said, “Oh, God, you must be kidding. That is way too nebulous. I would have to actually sit down and think about what justice and mercy and humility would look like in my life.” And I proceeded to put my thinking cap on again to see what God REALLY meant. But, something made me stop and say, OK. Maybe this IS the assignment.

I decided to consider this the assignment and allow my thinking to be overhauled, transformed, as it were. My “formidable intellect” as my friend Jean calls it, is the easiest thing for me to depend on when it comes to making decisions. But maybe said FI has gotten me into this mess. Being lightning-quick when it comes to making decisions is right handy when driving and needing to avoid something in the road, but can be downright inconvenient when my MO is to say yes to everything except the really hard stuff. Hard stuff like working with Kepler, helping another child learn to eat fewer carbs, helping another child learn to deal with strong emotions, another to deal with his love of being on the computer, another to deal with her tendency to see herself in an extremely favorable light and everyone else in an extremely unfavorable light. All those hard things aren’t things I really want to face because they require persistence and patience and don’t give any of those instant payoffs that the easy, urgent stuff gives.

So I’m off to listen some more and see how to fulfill the assignment today.

Broken People

Sunday morning, we had a great sermon on the concept of Brokenness. I believe the pastor was using the word in the context of realizing that we humans are broken by sin and that Christ is our healer. His text was the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, one of whom was quite self-sufficient, and the other who realized his great need for a Savior.

In the bulletin was a handout and “Proud people” and “Broken people.” There were two contrasting sentences in each paragraph. Here is an example:

Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

The first few that caught my eye didn’t give me any problem, but as I read more closely, I found several that I just couldn’t accept.

As I have come to believe deeply that low self-esteem is actually a result of pride (hubris), I can see that I have been quite prideful in my life. I know that I am more broken now, but only in the sense that I realize that I am not the Savior of my life. I am not broken if you think of brokenness as there being something inherently flawed in me.

There were 30 pairs of sentences, and I have re-written 7 of them. Read on and let me know what you think:

original: Proud people focus on the failures of others.
original: Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.
rewrite: Broken people never lose sight of their spiritual need and they realize that only Jesus Christ can fill that need.

original: Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
original: Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.
rewrite: Broken people recognize that every human on earth is a precious child of God and they treat others with the deepest respect and love, as they would like to be treated.

original: Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.
original: Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.
rewrite: Broken people see themselves in light of the holiness of God and see themselves as humble recipients of his righteousness and mercy.

original: Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
original: Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.
rewrite: Broken people are filled with a deep gratitude for the gifts that God has given them and they share those gifts with others — they have freely received and the freely give.

I have spent days, weeks, months, years, and decades thinking about myself. But finding healing doesn’t mean I’m never going to think of myself ever again. And I am concerned that churches inadvertently encourage Christians to focus on themselves in the name of not thinking of themselves. You can’t just stop thinking about yourself. Indeed, while there are no doubt people who, for a time, forget about their own needs almost altogether, forgetting to eat, etc., by taking care of ourselves (in good, healthy ways, not selfish ways) we are more available to other people. As friends. As wife or husband. As mother, father, sister, daughter.

Have you met people as I have who refuse to accept a compliment? What about people who have a really hard time receiving something without quickly finding something they can give back? Or people who confuse being humble with feeling bad about themselves?

What would be different if all Christians in every church had at the forefront of their hearts and minds this thought — “I am a cherished child of the King. He has blessed me with gifts and talents and my own special me-ness. Let me share these gifts with others!”