Monday, 23 April 2018

Church Like Math Class

Have you ever sat through a sermon that resonated deep down?  Maybe you've read a book like that.  Something that really spoke to your soul.  That cemented that God really does love you.  That he's still here.  Broken bits and all.  That there is an eternal hope for you.

I have had many "AHA" moments over the years in this relationship with Him.  Some have been me looking back and seeing why something had to happen.  Some looking forward, wondering how I got here.  Maybe realizing something about a relationship and what went wrong.  Or how to help someone.  

The reasons for the moments don't matter as much as us paying attention to them.  I think in the day to day it's pretty simple to get bogged down in the plethora of stuff in our lives.  The work, appointments, sports, bill paying, grocery shopping days of our lives.  The mundane. 

It makes it easy to overlook for the remarkable little things. 

Having a child ask a question that really makes you think, and helps you realize these tiny little humans are exceptional at making you slow down sometimes.

The flock of birds flying to their summer home.  How much work it is to relocate every 4-6 months.  The storms they go through in faith.  The things they must see on their journeys and what or if they ever think of those things.

The older gentleman who holds the door open for you because he feels being a gentleman is still important.  That manners matter.  And that you can still be an independent woman and appreciate small gestures of kindness and show gratitude for them.

We've really been struggling over the last decade lately with how to slow down.  How to let go of the rat race and take the time to appreciate our lives.  The little gifts we've been given, and the big.  

A little while ago in church, our pastor was talking about how to slow down.  How to let go.  And at the time, it all made so much sense.  Kind of like math class.  It always made sense when I was sitting there, listening to the teacher explain it.  Until I got home.  Then all of a sudden, it was this confusing jumble of numbers that I had no idea what to do with.

I've been told how to slow down.  I've read blog posts.  I've ordered the books (that I haven't slowed down to read.)  And I've noticed something.

If I vacuum my house every single day, it looks great.  But at the end of the day, there are still 5 people living in this house, so it doesn't stay nice for long.  So I can choose to value the illusion of clean, or I can choose to value the laughter of my kids and realize my house will one day be clean.  That day just isn't today.

I can choose to lavishly love my kids today and give them memories to look back on.  Or I can obsess about things that won't matter in the end.  Not like those memories and feelings of being cherished.  

I think we all chase this image of perfection, believing it really is attainable, if only we do a little bit more.  It isn't attainable.  Not on this side of heaven.  But what can we have then?  We can have love.  We can have laughter.  We can hold each other up when we need it.  We can love Him, and each other.  I think that's as close as we can get.  

And spotless floors and windows aren't how to do that.  Not to me anyways.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't pay your bills, or maintain your possessions or strive to better yourself.  I'm just saying that perhaps those were never meant to be at the top of the list.  

So maybe today, for a moment at least, that sermon doesn't have to fall to the wayside like those math problems.  Maybe I can pay attention long enough to have the formula last.  People first, at the top of the list.  Worry about the "stuff" later.  And worry about being perfect last, since it's not even a possibility.

May today be the day that you reach out to someone else, to slow down and value people
over possessions.  Show someone that you've been thinking of them and that they matter.  Especially that they matter.  

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for your perfection.  For showing us that we are loved without being perfect, and that we don't have to be, because you are.  That you don't expect perfection at all.  You expect growth.   You expect love.  And you give grace.  Thank you so much for your graciousness.  I pray that those who are confused or who are lonely would feel your love.  I pray that when we are seeking the unattainable instead of the love, that you would speak gently to our hearts and redirect those desires.  I pray that you would help us to value love above all else.  In faith I pray.  Amen.