Yellow Bird

Month: August, 2013

Circles

How much time do we spend going in circles? In the small things, it’s rechecking the fridge to see what magically appeared after we shut the door the first three times. It’s that incessant “need” to check various forms of technology to see if someone important is trying to contact us…or even someone unimportant, someone we don’t care for. In real life, it’s going back to the same poisonous relationships that have never worked, but “this time is different.” It’s a teenaged girl yelling at her mother for the same thing she yelled about yesterday. It’s that nasty habit for which we hate ourselves, and yet we still go back to it for the fulfillment we’re looking for. We either want to be entertained or we want some sort of purpose. We need someone to tell us we are needed. Circles never end, so how do we break these cycles of self-loathing? How are we to imagine a life-style filled of peace when we have never experienced even a moment without worry?

We are people of progress; we like forward motion. Whatever we progress in, whether it be edifying or not, we like to keep moving. When do we get to a point where we know we are moving in the right direction? How are we supposed to be still and know He is Lord while in motion?

What satisfies our souls? Who is our master?

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Day to Day

We have been given this one moment right now…and then the moment has already passed. Yesterday has passed as well. Why are we wasting our moments on this earth? We don’t know when they will cease to exist. I am the guiltiest of all in this regard; I often find myself daydreaming about what I could be doing with my time but never getting around to actually doing it. Part of it is about self-motivation. Another larger part, though, is about finding my satisfaction fully in Christ. If my satisfaction truly was in him, I would not have trouble motivating myself to do what’s right or good. I would not have a desire to be lazy, apathetic, or uninvolved. Honestly, I generally know what the best decisions are on a daily basis, but I do not always feel drawn to be my best. It’s easier to do what’s easy…so often that is what I choose. Even if I choose to do something challenging or not necessarily “fun,” many times it is a choice of diversion. I don’t want to face what’s really going on in my heart and soul so I clean or cook or read To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course those are not bad things, but they can make me forget to be still and know that He is God.

Psalm 96:1,2
Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.

 

I was told that “day to day” in this scripture actually means to constantly praise the Lord, every waking hour. What a beautiful picture of thankfulness and love. He has done great things for us. I’m ready to have that kind of joy and peace to be able to SING to Him even in the midst of hard times. I am not even having hard times right now and I am having trouble praising him. Like I said a week or two ago, the times really are too good. I should be praising him doubly for what he has done and what he continues to do. Let’s all be thankful.

Fat Tires

There is a difference between young and old. Though we are not the fittest people in the world, Laura and I were able to defeat the Silver Comet Trail on a mountain bicycle with no prior training just because we are at the peak of youth hood, or so they say. Laura brought this point up late in the ride. Our couchsurfing friend, Megan, picked us up 9.5 miles past the border of Alabama, exclaiming, “Yall rode 72 miles on FAT TIRES?” Another part of being young is making semi-ridiculous, maybe stupid, decisions. This debacle definitely falls into the semi-ridiculous/stupid category.

Another conclusion I came to on this journey is that people can do so much more than they believe is possible… not to sound cheesy, but it’s true. This does not only apply to physical feats, but intellectual, musical, social situations apply as well. The other day, I began learning Comptine d’un autre ete on the piano. I haven’t taken piano in years and was never very good when I did, but I forced myself to focus and enjoy what I was doing and it came to me much more easily than I would have thought. Most things in life are determined by the amount of motivation and what sort of attitude a person has.
After a nice night of sleep on couches, Laura and I awoke to the realization that it may be past the point of insanity to attempt a repeat of the day before. (Dad, you may want to stop reading now). Our first thought was hitch hiking, but we soon found out that there was only a slim chance that we could find a combination of someone going toward Atlanta plus being able to take our bikes. There was a moment when Laura looked across the breakfast table and asked, “So, how valuable are these bikes to you…?” Megan found that amusing. Our hope rose when Megan enlightened us about a train to Atlanta leaving at four o’clock. That glimmer of optimism was swiftly smashed when we called and they informed us that we would not be permitted to bring our bikes on the train. The thought of getting back on those bikes made our backsides ache, so we kept brainstorming. Finally we decided to ask some of my college friends in Rome if they would like to take a little road trip to rescue us. Some of the most genuine people I know, Ann Christian and David, dropped everything to see that we made it home safely. They showed us one of the greatest forms of love, which is sacrifice, and I am so blessed to count them as friends. 

Lesser of Two

He Came for the Sick

The words of Jesus in Mark 2: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He said this when the scribes of the Pharisees questioned him about eating with tax collectors and “sinners.”
How do we miss this on a daily basis? Often people feel as though their past sin keeps them from a relationship with Jesus Christ, but the whole point of what God has done for us is that we cannot redeem ourselves. Keeping old guilt and shame on your shoulders only leaves room for self-loathing, pride, and a higher mountain of guilt and shame. We need to realize that Jesus paid the debt that we could not repay.

Many people we talked with in Uganda spoke of how they had been “born again,” but in later years they “backslid” away from Jesus. They believed the misconception that unless they do everything right, they cannot go to heaven. There are so many aspects of that thought that just don’t add up, but I will attempt to address only a couple. Jesus does teach that faith without works is dead (James 2). Faith and works are interconnected, though, they are not separate entities. A new life with Jesus means that everything changes, literally everything. Your old desires become just that; old, outdated, unsecessary, and unattractive.

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:43-45

We were bad trees. We were known by our rotten fruit. Once Jesus renews a person, that person becomes whole, new, and good. Not by our own power, but by the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead…the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside us.

The other part of the mentality of many Ugandans (and, more than likely, many Americans as well) is that the reason they were born again was to be accepted into heaven. Yes, Jesus promises eternal life. Who would want an eternity as we live now, though? The story of redemtion is about renewal. In the Lord’s Prayer, after addressing God for who he is (in heaven and holy), it says “Thy kingdom come.” As followers of Christ, we are to bring his kingdom here, not just sit around and wait for heaven. 

 

Even Though I Don’t Have Kids…

Around midnight last night, some crazy, old, unnamed college pastor I sat with at Waffle House told me to keep blogging, so here I go. I’ve realized lately that if I listen to people who have lived more life than me, things usually go more smoothly than if I try to figure it out on my own. Who knows why it took nineteen and a half years to begin to understand this…

God is our heavenly Father, but he also has given us fathers and mothers on earth to provide for us, protect us, and be an example to us. Of course, wicked humans do not get this right without the power of the Holy Spirit. So, those living outside of the Spirit cause their children to suffer. This is key when pondering the state of humanity today and for the future state of humanity. Children copy the big people in their lives. I always find it amusing when parents complain about how spoiled their kids are. Who spoiled them..? the dog?  There is a mindset among American parents that kids need to be entertained, they shouldn’t work too hard, and they basically get to call the shots. Obviously this is a blanket statement that doesn’t apply to every single family in our country, but it does seem to be the norm at the time. Some parents think disciplining children is hurting them. It is easier in the moment to let your screaming kid have the candy bar at Wal-Mart, but that just promises more judgemental looks from other customers next time your kid is screaming in the check out line. Don’t let me even begin to talk about technology and kids, either. That’s another story in itself.
I have to add that I am not actually a parent, so I don’t have any right to even be saying these words. It will be interesting to look back on this and see how I’ve done with my kids later on down the road, though. Also, once I begin nannying I will probably have a better understanding of all this, which I’m stoked about.