Saturday, April 9, 2011

Living a Dazzling Existence Requires Attention!

3 John 1:2- "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

Deuteronomy 30: 19 "...Oh, that you would choose life."

Several years ago I lived under the impression that to be a good Christian required somber, serious perfection. Living religious meant living as if I were in a glass case and could see all the beauty and wonder of the world but couldn't touch it or enjoy it.  I was like that in business too...workaholic always striving for the next move/what would bring me the money and status I desired. I was so unhappy and yet from the outside it looked good because I made sure everyone (including God) knew I was serious about things and getting it done, no time for fun! I mean, what would God think if I showed even a hint of "loving the world" instead of existing and pining away for heaven? Well, several life crisis and a bad business deal that I'd worked myself into distraction trying to make happen left me sidelined and miserable and no amount of prayer, fasting, reading my bible helped. There, I said it. I couldn't muster up a care for God or my spiritual disciplines of reading the bible an hour, praying 30 minutes and memorizing a scripture quoting it throughout the day. Yes, I was that rigid! Laugh all you want. That's just my unsubdued T-total personality.

During this dark valley experience  on a particularly sunny, clear Kansas day I went for a walk along a trail close to my house and while lamenting in my head about the drudgery of life, I looked over and saw a little girl swinging and laughing. Gazing at her with great longing, I remembered as a little girl swinging and gazing at the sky made me the happiest. The motivation to get on a swing overtook me (I'm a little bit so I could still fit) and so I did. I got my miserable behind on a swing and I just swung my little heart out and guess what? God cut through my mess and ministered to me right there in that playful moment. In my heart I heard Him speak Ephesians 3:20 to my mind in this way "Cheryl, you're not living you're just existing. If you let me lead your life you will live a dazzling existence but it will require attention-- to Me/My ways not yourself/ways." It was in that moment that I got it. God wants me to enjoy this life as long as I'm alive and doesn't mind me having a good time. He didn't want me miserable and perfect. He wanted me obedient and believing. My actions were not what pleased Him. My faith did. Just knowing/accepting that and I was renewed, back in balance and never did I want to go back to that religious nut who was of no benefit to any one. Who'd want to sign up for the type of Christian life I was living? Nobody and truth is, I didn't witness much either. Now that I'm open to living, having fun in meaningful ways that for me include nature, sports/activities and writing/reading...people are drawn to me in the oddest of ways pretty much everywhere I go (especially Wal-Mart, I call it Wal-Mart Ministries because I'm always picking up deodorant and somebody talks to me-- LOL). Its like a moth to a flame and no beating over the head with scripture driving them into the kingdom...we just talk and share life experiences and frequently I'm asked the reason for my hope and happy disposition. I can then tell them about Christ.

Look, all I'm saying is don't think of having fun as choosing between wanton worldliness/partying and serious somber sitting of pews in church every time the doors crack open. I've accepted this truth, I am a spiritual being who lives in a body (flesh) with a soul (mind, will, emotions) that God created this way for a reason and He wants me to primarily live in attendance to my spirit but has no problem with my flesh and my soul being well too! There is a balance to living that if you're an extremist like me you will struggle to find. You will have to spend some time to get some self-awareness of what makes you joyful and happy (prayerfully its not drinking,drugs, sex...those are dead end sins that are temporary pleasures with great long term costs). Let loose and enjoy those things fully without shame. God wants you to live a dazzling existence as long as you're in this earth suit marking more than time, its my belief He wants you in close relationship with Him receiving all life has to offer as long as you're His. Beloved, I'm praying with and for you.

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(c) Copyright 2011 Cheryl Carr and ARETE1 International.
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