Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Gift From God

Sometimes I decide to give a day to God. No, not always Sunday, it can be some other day--a day when I put aside my desires, concerns and personal pleasures and focus on God. I might not eat on that day. I might not watch television or play video games or check Facebook over and over to see what my friends are up to. I don't do laundry or clean house or cook. It's a day to worship, praise, meditate on him. This day is a gift to God.

Now, I have to admit most of the time I have ulterior motives. I'm needing inspiration for an article or a presentation or I need a solution to one of those concerns I'm supposed to have put aside. I'm a natural born worrier.

God is not fooled, of course. He knows my human nature, and, in spite of me, appreciates my attempts to give him a gift. Kind of like children when they bring a somewhat straggly, slightly wilted wild flower to you as a gift. You treat that flower like a treasure, put it in a vase and give your child a big hug. You might give your child a cookie too.

I think that human love response to a child comes from God. Every time I try to give God a day, it turns out he gives me a day instead. On that day with God, my concerns are turned to joys and my stresses are relieved. I'm rested, calmed, and the worrier is now rejoicing because God lets her know she is not totally responsible for solving either her problems or the cares of the world. He reminds her that he knows what's going on and he is still in control. Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Ham, Please

Several years ago when I was volunteering on Monday mornings at the Home Hospice office, at lunch I would grab a sandwich at Subway. Subway has sandwich specials, and Monday is its turkey and ham day. I don't like ham, so every Monday I asked the young person working behind the see-through counter to give me the special but without the ham. They would not comply. In all that time, only once or maybe twice would they do as I asked. So, each time after I paid, on the way out I would unwrap the sandwich, remove the ham and toss it into their trash can.

Last Monday, I happened to be in town so I stopped by Subway. Again, I asked the young man behind the counter if he could leave off the ham on my turkey sandwich. Cheese, yes, ham, no. He shook his head. "I can put it on the side," he said. "OK," I replied. He slipped the ham into one of their envelope-type sacks, wrapped my sandwich and put both in a plastic bag. I paid him and dropped the ham into the trash can on my way out the door.

At Subway it seems rules are rules. When those kids behind the counter are told no alternatives, that's what administration means. When a customer wants something left off their specials, that's money in corporate pockets, I would think, but no. What a waste. I couldn't help thinking about how this affects their young employees. I hope they see through this type of illogic legalism. I hope it encourages them to think for themselves. I hope it's for the better.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Wanna-Be

Are you a wanna-be? I am. I wanna be fluent in Spanish. I wanna be a good golfer. I wanna be 10 pounds lighter. I wanna memorize scripture. I wanna be a better artist. I remember telling a Jewish professor I would like to learn biblical Hebrew. She answered: "A lot of people want to know Hebrew." I got the message.
Learning another language, losing weight, memorizing scripture, driving golf balls, painting in oils, all take time, discipline and hard work. The apostle Paul even described the Christian life as running a race, not just slowly jogging along but running to win. 1 Corinthians 9:24–10:1 (NIV). Salvation is a gift, but according to Paul, a Christian should live a disciplined life, led by the spirit, not the flesh. The Christian life is not a fearful life, but a life full of interesting challenges.
My problem is prioritizing my challenges. I have too many wannas. Do you have this problem? The writing on my tombstone could read, "She ran out of time." Some years ago now I wrote down everything I considered important to me. Just took out a piece of paper and started writing. Then I prioritized what I had listed according to importance and figured out how much time I spent on the top ten. It's an eye-opening process. I think it's time to do it again.