Walking out of the cave

Romans 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers…
The unknown of life is a scary thing. So much of life is a little unknown. Little children may be fearful of water or new places, or even new food because so much is unknown to them about things. Adolescents have all kinds of nerves about school and relationships because so much of it is unknown. College students wonder where they will live, who they will marry, what life will look like for them- the unknown. In adulthood the unknown doesn’t stop – how best to raise a child, how they’ll turn out, tackling illnesses to come, changes in employment, moving, changes in anything- more and more unknown.
Our children really love the movie “The Croods.” (We do too, to be honest!) The entire movie centers around the premise that the dark cave is safe, nothing can get to you in there, the world outside holds dangers untold. The Dad in the movie has a family motto that he makes everyone recite – “Never not be afraid.”
We could live our whole lives like this, in our metaphorical dark caves, feeling “safe” and protected. God tells us that He wants to be our protection. He is what is safe, resting in His grace and salvation, living in His light, this is Life. Otherwise, it’s not Life at all, just a phony imitation.
Nothing can separate us. We’ll find that truth in the next verse. That truth is for another day. Today, Jesus invites us to shed fear.
            Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
                                                                           John 14:27

His peace rests in our hearts. The unknown is known to Him.

Exploring caves in Haiti 🙂

My New Year’s “Things I Don’t Do” List

My friend gave me a book recently, called Bittersweet:Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist. The book was really helpful to me during a really difficult period of my life. But…this isn’t a book review. 🙂 One of the ideas the author shared, in a later chapter of the book, was that she started a “Things I Don’t Do List.” The author talks about her struggle with comparing herself to everyone around her, trying to “measure up”, and do all things well. Oh boy, did this strike a cord with me.

I have perfectionist tendencies to say the least, that have gotten better (I think!) with 4 kids, graduate school, and life happenings that leave me well aware of the complete lack of control I have in most things. However, when I became a pastor’s wife I had a sneaking suspicion that this would be just one more role I would be lacking in. Surrounded by expectations, mostly of my own making, most days I felt a bit harried, under appreciated, and outside the Body.

Again, maturing in my Faith has done a lot for me. Letting God’s Spirit fill where I lack, knowing full well I am completely and utterly a sinner, but completely and utterly forgiven- that’s a beautiful thing. It causes me to pause and say, “Thank you, Lord, for always being enough.”

All that said, the “Things I Don’t Do List” sounded just like a good idea of celebrating doing what I do well, and leaving some stuff out that just isn’t me, and that’s O.K.

Things I Don’t Do:
1) Make delectable potluck dishes… It’s a fact. I can cook, I love having people at my table. I just can’t get it together for a potluck. I bring chips, multigrain. Yum.

2) Act as my husband’s secretary… I don’t take messages. I know it may seem easier, but I will forget because a baby will need their diaper changed or someone will hit their sister or a youth group member will share about a life changing event. I just am no good with messages.

3) Ask my children to be completely quiet in worship… I don’t believe in this. They are loud children. Sometimes I wish we were quiet people, but that’s not our strength. I will ask them to be respectful of others, participate fully, and give their whole heart to worship. They will not always sit and stand at just the right time, they will ask lots of questions and I will remind them to ask more quietly, and they will belt out “This is the Feast” even when they don’t know all the words.

4) Read less… I love books. I love them like no one’s business. I carry a book around for stolen moments of quietness. I’m not going to judge myself for spending time reading. 

5) Debate my educational choices with strangers…we make the best decisions we can for our children, regardless of other’s opinions. We take the church into account and society’s general opinions, but beyond that, it’s us and God, and moving in the direction we feel He points us.

6) Eat mediocre chocolate…I need to stop wasting my calories. I love dark chocolate, good wine, yummy food, and good friends to share it with. 

7) Hide my testimony… I come from a lot of dark and difficult places. God has brought me from the pit. Redeemed it. Made it Holy. Given it purpose. It’s meant to glorify Him, nothing more, nothing less. May it be so.

What would be on your “Things I Don’t Do List”? I’d love to hear your thoughts, silly, serious, or anywhere in between!