Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Want It!

I want it. I can taste the wanting. I can envision the having. The having siphons freedom, self-control, dignity, and achievement from my thoughts to reality. It feels like fresh spring air blowing around my face, across my arms, around and through--but never binding.

It is not a bad thing, this thing I want. In fact, it is a good thing. It is a thing that I sincerely believe God wants for me. The end result is pleasing to Him--could be pleasing to Him. But I have not attained it. Cannot attain it. I have talked to God about my desire and asked for His help. I continue to fail.

Then, in reading through Proverbs, I came across these verses:
"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness. " (Proverbs 15:8-9).

In the Old Testament, bringing sacrifices was a good thing. By bringing a sacrifice to the temple, an individual acknowledged his sin and the need for God's atonement. Offering a sacrifice was good. It was also expensive...and public.

Prayer, too, was a good thing. Prayer continues to be an act of dependence on God, but is perhaps "inferior" to sacrifices as it can be done privately, without public confession, and costs very little.

The wicked may act biblically. The upright do the same, but often privately. God's pleasure, then, is not dependent on the action but on the heart attitude. The righteous acts of the wicked are detestable; the righteous acts of the upright are delightful. In God's system, one's spiritual condition is more important than one's spiritual activity. It is the pursuit of righteousness that God blesses, not the pursuit of appearance or participation.

What does this have to do with my want? My want falls far short of seeking God Himself. To seek a specific outcome is to miss the Author. It would be like sharing a meal in a palace and so wanting to have good manners that I fail to respond to the king except in matters of etiquette. What a travesty! I would have missed the purpose, the blessing, and the reward of a priceless time. This week, then, I have been reflecting on what I really want. Am I pursuing righteousness? Am I pursing God Himself? Or something less?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Truckin' Buddies

I am blessed to be married to an un-procrastinator. This means his bags are packed the day before the actual trip. It means the afternoon chores may be done as early as 1:00pm. Sometimes it means we come home from vacation a day early. In December it meant that he has already calculated taxes--and this year , we bought a semi-truck and grain trailer as a result. The truck and trailer are part of a long-term goal to farm full-time, but it also opened a new venue for spending time together.

As a couple, we have found that one of our greatest challenges is spending time together. Both of us are goal-oriented and our lives are complicated by his business travel schedule. When he gets home, his list of to-do's is extensive. When he gets home, I am used to arranging my own space and time to accomplish what needs to be done.

We went for a drive together in the semi the other day and I learned something. As a mom/wife, I have a list of need-to's--laundry, household cleaning, phone calls, doctor appointments, children's needs, etc.--and a list of want-to's--concerts, conferences, movies, trips, visits, etc. The need-to list is continuous and cyclical. The want-to list is dusty and dingy. Most of the time, spending time with my husband is on the want-to list. The problem is that there are so many need-to's I seldom get to the want-to's. The want-to's I take time for are short bits when I check email, read a magazine or newspaper article, or log onto facebook for a quick pick-me-up before accomplishing the next need-to item.

To create a 3-hour want-to in the middle of the day feels irresponsible, wrong, lazy--and sets me up for falling behind in the need-to division. But what I have realized is that my husband needs that time from me--and I am the one who can make it a reality. To create that space in my mind, I must move him from my want-to list to my need-to list. He is not just another part of me that I can put on a list for "someday." He is not one of those far-off wishes that will wait for 20 years until our children are grown. He is not a luxury that I can afford to go without. He is my husband, my counterpart, my best friend, my life-partner and that puts him at the top of the list!

So for now I pray that God will allow me grace to meet a need-to that I really want to and I pray that I will trust Him to take care of the need-to's that await! On the road again....just can't wait to get on the road again....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Knocking? What Knocking?

As I walked through the house on my early morning vigil to turn off porch lights, I noticed a seemingly dead car in our driveway. It was 22 degrees below zero, the ground was covered with inches of new snow. The car windows were fogged over, and there was no way to tell if anyone was still in the vehicle or not. I continued my tour until the doorbell rang. There stood a young man, shoulders hunched, head pulled into his turned down collar, gloved hands wringing and clutching each other.

"I saw you looking out the window and didn't want to scare you. My brother's on his way to pick me up."

"Come on in. I was more worried about someone freezing to death sitting out there...."

The fellow, very polite and pleasant, came inside and chatted until his ride arrived.

How strange that earlier that morning, another fellow knocked on my door. As I read through the First Place Bible study, the text directed me to Revelation 3:20 which says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."

It's a verse I've memorized, read many times, even shared with others in presenting the gospel of Jesus. But the question read, "Where is Jesus?" Obviously, He's on the outside of the door--the other side--the side opposite....me. So if Jesus is on one side of the door and I'm on the other, what is between us? The answer came to me like it never had before. Jesus was talking to me, and He was knocking on the other side of my disobedience. My disobedience, my rebellion, even as a believer, keeps Jesus from coming in to fellowship and dine with me. Even then, He was knocking on my door. How many times, in that particular area of my life, have I said, "Just a minute, Jesus," "Could you come back later, please?" "I can't answer the door right now...."

But the reward, the consequence, of opening the door is to share a meal with Jesus! My guess is that He brings the food, the laughter, the open sharing--all I have to do is say yes. Wow, and I would keep my week-old pizza crusts, flat Pepsi, and the desire to have my own way instead! That is a travesty!

I heard the knocking that morning and I'm trying to listen for it throughout the day. Jesus doesn't have to interrupt my life to share it with me--He simply wants to be with me--guiding, directing, providing--every minute.

Today, "Where is Jesus?"