It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong. -G.K. Chesterton
Monthly Archives: May 2012
When I near the end of a book, I love to read back over the pages of that life “chapter.” As I reminisce about what changed and what stayed the same, I begin to notice themes in what I wrote and what God taught me. Here are the two most significant themes, along with related thoughts and excerpts.
Theme #1: Don’t worry or panic
- I don’t want to pull away from what God is doing even when it seems strange or uncomfortable or risky, instead I need to stay and watch from the unique vantage point He has given me.
- God has everything under control and does not need my help to make His plans happen.
- He wants me to chose to be involved in what He is doing and will not let me miss out on His will just because I can be clueless and oblivious to what is really going on.
- He is more than capable of getting my attention, especially when I spend time with Him often and practice doing what He says.
- I’m growing in attentiveness to God and what He says.
- I know Him a little better (and want to know far more) than I did in October.
- When I actively pay attention to God and what He is doing, all my anxious thoughts and questions fade to silence. They are irrelevant when I recognize again how powerful and loving and trustworthy God is. I don’t need to ask, I don’t need to know exactly what is going on because I know Him and that is more than enough.
Theme #2: How God sees me and what He says about me
- He delights in every detail of my life.
- He loves to show off what He is doing in me and is proud of who He made me.
- He is in no way ashamed of me.
- He knows I am not perfect yet but assures me that we are on the way to perfection and He will get me there if I stick with Him.
- He loves to surprise and astound me and He is more creative than even my wild imagination can guess.
- I have nothing to prove to Him because He knows my heart, with all its desires and secrets, even better than I do.
- His Spirit within me is my undaunted, untamable, steady and unflinching core.
My favorite theme from this journal is the truth that melts my worry and stubborn resistance every time I remember: I am completely safe with God.
Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Note: This is completely my opinion and subject to change at any time. Feel free to weigh in and disagree/agree; I don’t mind!
Yes, there is a Santa Claus who brings presents to good kids (or a bunny who hides eggs or a fairy who trades teeth for money). Why: Kids need to be able to trust their parents to tell them the truth. I grew up knowing my parents filled my stocking, hid my Easter eggs, and traded my lost teeth for money. Instead of telling me Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy was real, they told me the history behind the tradition and explained that some people pretend it is real. I was a pretty sensitive child and would have been crushed to find out that my parents told me something was real when it was not.
Stay in school (or “Go to college”) so you can get a good job. Why: Education does not necessarily equal employment or career success. Also, some people do not need a traditional bachelors degree to qualify them for the career they want. One friend left college and attended culinary school because she wanted to be a chef. Another friend is very smart and loves to read but chose experience and on-the-job training to help him become a contractor.
It is never too late for ____. Why: Sometimes it really is too late.
You are the future of this church (or nation or other establishment). (See also, You can/will do great things someday.) Why: When people say this to youth groups, it really bothers me because it seems to imply they have nothing to contribute until they are adults; almost as if they are not really members of the church until they grow up. Kids have the potential to make a difference NOW both in their churches and in their countries. One of my earliest memories of civic involvement was writing a letter to the governor in support of a bill that gave previously-cut funding back to public libraries. I was nine and my sister was seven; we used our best handwriting to tell the governor why we liked our local library and ask her to support the bill. We were ecstatic when the bill passed. Maybe our letters did not affect the outcome of the legislation but there is really no way to know and it taught us the importance of getting involved. For more on this subject, I recommend reading Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris.
You can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Why: There are some things kids will never be able to achieve, no matter what they do or how hard they try. When I was very young, I wanted to be Queen Esther (yes, the one from the Bible). My mom wanted to be a ballerina (but lacked the ability and build). My youngest brother and his best friend decided to be part-time police officers, part-time firemen, and farmers on the weekends. None of these things were possible in reality, but were eventually replaced by other goals and dreams.
It has been an eventful week, so I have multiple lows and highs.
1. I broke a piece of composite (like dental cement) off a tooth on Sunday. It is not painful but I have to have it repaired right away to prevent further issues.
2. My car started doing this weird vibrating thing about the time I got to work on Monday. My dad examined it and thinks the drive shaft may have gone bad (requiring an expensive mechanic visit) or the brakes are rubbing (which he may be able to fix) or a third option I don’t remember now but that he could also fix. Until we take it apart for further assessment Tuesday after work, the car is not drivable.
1. The dentist was able to get me in for the repair early Tuesday morning.
2. My mom does not need her vehicle on Tuesday and is graciously letting me use it to get to my dental appointment and to work.
3. I finished my graduate class on Saturday and got an A on the final.
4. My new journal arrived on Monday and it looks great. I can hardly wait to use it!
Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done. – C.S.Lewis
Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She has always been a scientist at heart and firmly believes learning does not end when “school time” does. She lives as if life is an adventure with field research and experiments and a soundtrack and sound effects. Although she is an almost-irrepressible optimist, I remember a few times she was discouraged or frustrated or stressed.
If I could send an encouraging note back about 20 years, here is what I would say:
You really are making a difference but it takes a while to see it. We do listen but do not always do what you say at first… That will be evident when we grow up and quote your words back to you or to others. From you we learn how to be lifelong learners, adventurers, and experimenters.
I eventually grow out of being quite so prissy and germophobic, but some of your medical stories still gross me out. Sara’s bedside manner becomes more compassionate. People say she sounds and acts more like you all the time. Luke stops being scared of strangers and ends up being very good at public speaking. He is a hard worker, too. Ben still loves spending time with people but learns what subjects not to bring up in polite conversation. He listens when you tell him not to comment on a lady’s age, weight, or her very nice facial hair.
All four of us will forever remember the one time you “lose it” and stomp your foot and shout at us. Don’t worry too much about that when it happens; we laugh about the story and use it to tell people you have the occasional frustrating day too.
We still like our family and enjoy getting together, even though visits and calls are not as often as you or Dad may like. We have built our own lives though, made our own choices, and made the faith we learned from you our own. Thanks for not giving up!