Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting Unstuck in my walk with Christ - Day 22

Afternoon all :-)
Sorry it's been awhile since I last posted in this series, what with dentist appointments (yes, plural...blech!) and hanging out with friends, I've been pretty busy.  It really has been a great week.

How is cleaning going?
Well, I'm still really just doing nitty gritty stuff.  It's long and arduous but MUST be done.

 1.  Old student papers - for some reason I pretty much kept all of these and finally got around to seriously culling them down to no more than 1 example per assignment.  HUGE difference :-)

2.  My M.S. research folder - more hard copy scientific papers (now pdfs) as well as old edits (why I felt compelled to keep the edits, only God knows).

3.  I went through all the papers in the below basket - coupons, financial stuff, organizing tips, and a pdf version of "Grad Essentials" (yay, now I can throw away the booklet too!).

4.  Below all the papers was this random assortment of items.  I went through all the pens and markers and threw away those that didn't work - I have a really bad habit of keeping highlighters until I'm literally scraping color onto the page...

5.  University of Alabama folder - Do I really still need a campus map after 3 years?  Haha...No...

6.  All of the memory items, recipes, household tips, and church stuff that I came across all went into their respective folders - Yay!

That's really all that I got done but every little bit helps :-)

Spiritual reflections >>>
I finished Chapter 10 of Unstuck and it was fairly short and sweet, just getting the reader to think about how we are not the center of the Universe and how we tend to label ourselves.

One of the authors said about the realities of a truly Christ-focused life:
"Following Jesus is a long and difficult trek 
that can take us through some hostile territory.  
We get weary and messy along the way.  
The ground gets rocky; the hills get steep.  
Though Paul didn't see many pretty rainbows or cushy meadows, 
this Christ-follower remained steadfast.  
He stayed true to the One he was following, 
true to his mission of lighting up the darkness."

He went on to ask the following question,
"Is 'Christian' just another achievement in my life?"
This is such a great question for those of us who claim to be Christians to ask ourselves.  Are our lives true reflections of Christ in us? Or are we just nominally Christian in rule-following?  I like to think that I do reflect Christ in the ways that I treat and interact with others.  There really is no legalism in my Christianity that I can think of.  Regardless, it's a really good idea to keep this simple question in mind and be sure that I don't ever let myself devolve to "Christian" just being another label for me along with "20-something," "entomologist," "female," "educator," etc.  Instead, I need to always remember that "Christian" is deeply a part of who I am and how I see and interact with the world around me.

The same author goes on to consider,
"I can't help but wonder what it would be like to see myself as God does.  
How would it change my daily life?  
What would happen if I stopped expending so much energy
 on my future and increasingly saw reality through His eyes?"

1 John 4:10
This is love: 
not that we loved God, 
but that He loved us 
and sent His Son 
as an atoning sacrifice 
for our sins.

What clearer an example can you get of how the world does not revolve around us?  Love is God's feelings towards us first and foremost.  We only learned how to love because he taught us by sending His Son to die on the cross for us, to be sacrificed for us, so that we may live in eternal joy!!

     Remember Theresa, who I quoted extensively in Day 14?  Well, her story continues in Chapter 10 as she has now become a missionary doctor, experiencing some of the most disheartening situations possible, in which she feels absolutely and completely helpless.  By changing her view of her role in life, she comes to a new uplifting realization of the reality of her being in Christ,

"I was compelled to consider 
the way I live my life in view of the gospel, 
with the whole world in my view!  
The purpose of educating ourselves about the rest of the world 
is to see that we're not its center - it doesn't revolve around us.  
This truth isn't meant to bring guilt but true enlightenment; 
not to make us feel overwhelmed, but concerned.  
We are the princes and princesses of God's kingdom.  
He calls us to rule and to reign with servant hearts, 
to lay down our be our brother's keeper."

I really like how she makes clear that this realization should not bring us to guilt - in my opinion, guilt is the cause of many a frustrated and ineffective person.  I've seen too many times the effects of feeling guilt for something that is not your fault.  People end up feeling like they are different and separate from those in need.  When the needy show kindness, generosity, and hospitality, people see it as a show to please them.  Neither of these consequences of guilt can lead to a positive outcome.  Instead, we must allow the Spirit to empower us with hope and action, always ready to help and serve and graciously accept any kindnesses that come from those who are less fortunate.  Only then can we build true mutual trust that clearly shows the light of Christ.

State-of-mind pic of the day.
Zebra in Ngorongoro Crater, TZE [taken by me].
For some reason, this zebra just seems extra joyful, 
with her tail swinging in the air, 
just living her life in the breathtaking African savannah.

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