Sunday, June 25, 2006

Everyday Burdens

How do people do all of the stuff they are supposed to do? Pray, read the Bible, meditate, worship, serve. That’s the spiritual disciplines. Then there are everyday things like cleaning, cooing, yard work and paying bills. Oh and we’re supposed to take care of ourselves, exercise, and eat right. Not to mention working and all the stuff that goes with it. Then of course there is hanging out with friends, and having fun. Oh yeah… sleep!
Maybe I am just exceptionally lazy, or inept, or who knows what but I am overwhelmed by the thought of all of the stuff that I should be doing that I am not. I was talking to someone else and she pointed out to me that I needed a saviour in this area of pain. I think that even if I didn’t have painful stuff going on the thoughts of all the things I have to do is convincing me that I need divine intervention – I need a saviour just to get through the day!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lent


This year is the first year I have observed lent. I think I tried a few years ago and quickly abandoned the idea. The reason I didn’t do it is that I didn’t really think that I could ever hope to come close to the suffering that Jesus did on the cross by giving up 'blank.’ That and the people around me weren’t part of a tradition that participated in lent so really I didn’t even think about it that often.

I came across an article on the web (I’d give you the link but the article has since been removed) that described lent from another angle. It suggested that lent was more about shaking up your routine. It also explained that not observing lent (or actually doing what you gave up) on Sunday was a key part of the process because Sunday is about celebration. It sounded intriguing to me so I decided to give up baths.

I have to admit that part of the reason giving up baths sounded like a good idea was so that I could say that and watch people’s response. I didn’t give up bathing. I still showered. I just saved my baths until Sunday. People that know me are aware that baths are a central part of who I am. I tend to take long baths. I hardly ever shower. I do some of my best thinking in the bath.

So here I was not taking baths. No it wasn’t a profound sacrifice but you wouldn’t believe how many times I thought about it. I found that mixing up my routine in this little way made me think about Jesus more often. I found that giving up baths forced me to find other ways to take care of myself. I also found that I kind of liked taking showers more than I thought.

What was really great about this experience was Sunday. I looked forward to my bath. It was no longer just bathing, it was a celebratory experience. I actually did make it all the way to the end of six weeks only taking a bath on Sunday. This was before things started to turn around for me. I wonder if this was preparing me for the change that I was about to undergo the week after Easter…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

light


Lately things have been going really well for me. After I realized that I needed to be changed about a month ago, things have been changing at a fast pace. I know that I can’t change myself. God is doing his work in me. I see things completely differently.

This is a huge contrast to how I have been feeling the past couple of years. Everything was a struggle. I couldn’t figure out why my spiritual life seemed like it was lost to me. Whatever I tried didn’t seem to work. I was fairly unhappy most of the time. I felt like a part of me was dead. Now I have come alive again.

I know how I came alive but what I don’t really understand is how I got to where I was. How did I allow that to happen? Are there ways I can stop it from happening again? I know that bad stuff happens but I don’t think that means that I have to struggle spiritually the way I was for so long.

In my bathroom I have a light fixture over the vanity with four bulbs. Today I replaced three of them. I was taking a bath looking up at the bulbs thinking about how it got so far. In terms of bulbs it seems to go the same way every time. When the first bulb burns out I barely notice. There is no perceptible difference in the amount of light in the bathroom. In fact I never notice until I am taking a bath. I vaguely think about changing the light bulb but when I am somewhere that sells these types of light bulbs I don’t bother. I wait for the next one to burn out.

Then the second one goes out. There must be a change in the amount of light but since I have been living with three bulbs for a while I don’t notice. Now when I sit in the bathtub the two bulbs lights that are burned out really bug me. I stop where the light bulbs are but since it has been so long since I purchased one I can’t remember what kind to buy. Yesterday the third one went out.

I could notice the difference of only having one bulb as soon as I walked into the bathroom. I knew it was urgent that I purchase some light bulbs or it would be pretty dark in the bathroom soon. I went to the store today and purchased six light bulbs. Now when the next one goes and the two after that I will be prepared.

I wonder if I take care of my spiritual life the same way I take care of the light bulbs over my vanity. I think that I could do a better job of paying attention. Perhaps I could do the spiritual equivalent of checking the light bulbs from the bath. And if one of my spiritual light bulbs goes out I need to practice the same urgency to address that as I did today when the third one went out. I am not sure what the spiritual equivalent to having an extra three light bulbs in my cupboard is but I pray that God will show me that.