Friday, October 31, 2008

Ordinary: Of a Kind to be Expected in the Normal Order of Events

We encounter God in the ordinariness of life,
not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary,
mystical experiences, but in our simple presence in life.

Brennan Manning

God still draws near to us in the ordinary, commonplace,
everyday experiences and places…
He comes in surprising ways.

Henry Gariepy

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13 NIV

He [God] made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find Him…He’s not remote; He’s near.

Acts 17:26, 27 The Message

Jesus spent time with ordinary people. He probably even encountered some bored people. Yesterday, I was bemoaning my state of boredom. Today, I seem to be hounded by quotes and verses to remind me that boredom may stem from the daily experience of ordinariness. If we calculated the number of ordinary days against the extraordinary, I imagine ordinary would win. This is where we have been placed to live out the majority of our days. We wouldn’t be able to experience extraordinary without the routine rhythms of life. The usual days of walking in the valley of the shadow of death create a dramatic backdrop to the light drenched mountains that we are journeying towards. My friend says that in her artwork the shading or shadows cause the object to appear more realistic. The shadows of pain and boredom give life its realistic quality. Our enjoyment of special moments is heightened because we have lived through the mundane.

Peter and John appeared courageous, in spite of their ordinariness. And those who observed them attributed their changed countenance and approach to life to the fact that they had spent time with Jesus. Instead of fighting boredom, I will see it as an opportunity to draw me nearer to our Blessed Saviour!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boredom: The State of Being Weary and Restless through Lack of Interest

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because, in the last analysis,
all moments are key moments and life itself is grace."
Frederick Buechner

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest."

How can it be that someone who leads such a full and interesting life can say, “I’m bored”? Yet that is how I have been feeling lately. I have been through seasons of loneliness that have brought me closer to the holy and hidden heart of Christ in me. But this seems to be a new test, a territory that I have bumped up against at times, yet a spiritual landscape that I have not spent much time in before, and hope that I will be led out of soon.

What lessons are to be learned through boredom? It seems obvious that you can learn things from pain, like patience and perseverance. And in exciting and glad times I can rejoice, but boredom seems to be a breeding ground for temptation; a mood of drudgery that propels me towards indifference and apathy. It seems the cure for boredom might be increased activity or new adventures, but in reality part of it stems from little time to rest and lack of interest in my current routines.

I don’t know how long I will be here, but I will let you know what I learn. In the meantime, I will come to Jesus and confess this condition of my heart, and I know he will show me the way out or the way through it, whichever is best for me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Acknowledge: Admit the Truth Of

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
There is no other.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV

In these uncertain days, when so many "what ifs" are swirling in my head, I need to acknowledge, admit the certain truth that God alone is worthy of my allegiance and my total devotion. My faith is not in a new president, or government bail outs of the economy or even in my husband’s job. My faith is in the Creator of heaven and earth. I can cry out to Him, and acknowledge Him in all my ways, and He will make my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)

Jesus taught us to pray in the following manner: (Matthew 6:9-14)

"This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

Each line has a truth to acknowledge. And admitting these truths to God and agreeing that He alone is the One I can rely on builds my faith in Him.

So today, once again, I acknowledge, admit the truth of God’s Holy Character, His Sovereignty, and His Superior Ways and Purposes. I admit my need for His Daily Provision of just what I need for that day. I confess that His forgiveness is necessary for all my relationships, and when I withhold forgiveness, I do not experience the full impact of God’s forgiveness in my own life. And lastly I acknowledge, admit the truth of my desperate need for God’s protection from temptation and the attempts of the evil one to discourage or dissuade me from believing in, clinging to and relying on the true love of Jesus alone.