Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Depend on You

This week's question from #rethinkchurch: What are those temptations that rule me?

I've always been very confident in my ability to resist temptation, at least the obvious ones like sex, drugs, etc.  The temptation that rules me was explained in the following sentence.  Over-confidence.  It doesn't sound like much of a temptation, but it is a stumbling block for me.  My independence, or over-confidence in me, keeps me from seeking the help of others more able or more qualified.

My mom estimates that I was five or six years old when I stopped letting her or anyone else help me.  I've never struggled to help others, but I do not like being on the "needy" side.  The best lesson I've learned as a missionary is how to be in partnership with those I think I'm serving.

I shared with two UMW circles this week about the strengths of the children I work with.  I shared that they have some unique abilities and features that often go unrecognized.  They may want to fight sometimes, but they always stand up for their friends and others they care about.  They form strong attachments and like me, always want to help.  I've been trying to remind myself of their strengths and allow them to help me, because they do have a lot to offer.

They've been forced to ask for a lot of help in their life times, and I hope this is something they can teach me.  It's okay to ask for help.  It's okay to be dependent.  Today, Lord, I depend on you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

It's that season again...Lent.  I think some of us dread this time where we are asked to refocus our attention and either give up or start a new Christian practice.  I've done the traditional giving up chocolate, or fried food, or even Facebook and they did help me to refocus, but this year I signed up for the text alerts from Rethink Church.  Each Sunday, they send out a question to focus on and ponder for the week.
On Ash Wednesday, I received the first, asking "What are the basic needs in my community?"  Interesting... I thought about the basic needs and how many go unmet.  I am so blessed to wake up every day and not have to worry about my basic needs being met.  I laugh often with my fiancĂ© about the difference between wants and needs.  I think that's the point of Lenten disciplines; it's time to sort out the difference between your needs and wants.  I've been interviewing at graduate schools the past few weeks, and their first question is always Why are you pursuing graduate studies?  After being asked this question over and over, I decided that my Lenten discipline was going to be asking Why?.  
Why do I want xWhy do I do y?  Why am I so focused on x and y?
While I try to refocus and sort out my wants and needs, I need to ask these questions.  I need to get back to the source, and I need to remember whose I am.
Sunday morning, we sang the doxology that most of you probably know by heart:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
I don't think I've ever listened closely enough to that.  All blessings flow from God; it's an idea so simple that I sometimes miss it.
Why do I praise God? Because the blessings given to me by God are more than I could ever earn.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

It wasn't until college that someone finally explained to me what Shrove Tuesday was.  As you may be aware, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar.  Lent is a period of fasting, and its start is celebrated by a day of cleaning out the cabinets and using the sugar, flour, etc.  Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday is the festival of celebration before Lent and so is Shrove Tuesday.  Traditionally, the celebration of Shrove Tuesday involves delicious pancakes.
Read more about Shrove Tuesday here.

I was shocked this morning to learn that IHOP was celebrating Shrove Tuesday by giving out free stacks of pancakes on this special day.  I curiously scanned the internet to find IHOP's religious affiliation (of which I had no prior knowledge, only to learn that "IHOP will be giving out free pancake short stacks in celebration of National Pancake Day, a holiday the company created in 2006."  Fancy that, IHOP created a holiday that mimics the celebration of a Christian holiday.  This is not something to protest or even be frustrated about. This is something to celebrate.

Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and celebrate Shrove Tuesday.  Don't worry, IHOP is footing the bill :)