Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I don't do "devotions" or "time with Jesus"

In Bible college, there is lots of talk about dates with Jesus, spending time with Jesus, and doing devotions. Judgements about your "spiritual life" are based on your performance of these things. Those who have a nice solemn quiet time every morning will sin less, will be happier, and more zen-like. Those who don't, well, you can TELL.  If one doesn't charge up their spiritual battery in the Almighty charger, they will run out of spiritual gumption and end up drunk in the gutter, very likely pregnant.

During this time, I too felt the pressure, judged myself based on my performance of such activities. I remember one night one of the girls on my floor came to me in tears with a humiliating confession, she hadn't done her devotions in weeks, and worse she didn't WANT to. I was sad for her and wondered  at the benefit of it. I drifted back and forth in my feelings towards devotional time, or the special time with Jesus until I read a freeing book called "A Spirituality of the Road." I have since lent out 2, and neither has returned to me. Must be good... or getting forgotten. Ahem. I digress.

This book began an idea in me that has led to me freedom from devotional oppression. This ultimately freeing idea is simply this. There is no spiritual battery. Scandalous, I know. We are entirely spiritual beings, as well as entirely physical.  When I wash dishes, it is a spiritual activity. When I go on a hike and witness natural beauty at it's finest, it is a spiritual activity. When I listen to a sermon on a Sunday morning, it is as a spiritual being. There are no activities that are more "spiritual" than another.

As Western Christians we are like our dichotomies. We like to keep our holy spiritual person safe and clear of our sexual person.  We like to have tidy categories with which to judge our current status. Reading a good devotional-check. Daily personal "Jesus" time-check.  Weekly Bible study- check. Getting to church early, toting Bible- check. Ahh. My Spiritual life is clearly thriving. With so many spiritual ticks, I can avoid disastrous sinful behaviour and earn (ha ha ha, not really, I'm a CHRISTIAN! I don't EARN Christ's approval!) Christ's approval. And yet, with such a fully charged spiritual battery, people fail. Mom's yell. Dad's swear. Kids sneak. Singles stumble. Married's trip and fall.

This blog post is meandering. I will end by saying this. Bible reading is awesome. I read when I can. I like to have my Bible reading time challenge what I know about God. I like to let it direct me, rather than my wonderful theology direct it.  But I am not enslaved to this good thing. Jesus was there while me and my daughter coloured monsters. He was there when we chuckled about butt-jokes together. He was also there as we sang our VBS songs.  He is more present than my husband.

And I'm just so blessed that there is never a moment that He is not around.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

To My Sister-

As you prepare to have your first baby, I am sad beyond all description to be so far. I am sorry I can't share this whole thing with you and be there in the hospital (after you've had her, of course) and bring you a hamburger and pizza and chocolate... (ok, those were the things that got me through labour... I suppose not everyone is as excited at the idea of eating a GOOD burger)

I was thinking this morning about what it means to have a child. The first one especially, changes everything. It changes the parents, it changes your schedule, it changes the way you do things, and how you do things, and how decisions are made, and who you hang out with.  It changes where you eat, and sometimes what you eat. Your priorities change, and your list of daily accomplishments change. Your clothing size changes, and your body changes. Somedays all these changes make you want to scream. Somedays you won't even notice.
Your first child awakens the "Monster mom" and you feel as if you could accomplish great feats, do anything to protect your precious little person. But you can't. And that is more frightening than anything you can imagine. All of a sudden your worst nightmares are only inches away. You can only defend her against SOME of the bad in a world suddenly filled with BAD.  One roque car, one unseen moment, one poor decision... It is now your heart at risk, and it is no longer safely tucked in your chest. It is outside. And in all this fear, you realise that the ONLY defence is the MAKER of the WORLD. The One who made it GOOD, and He can show you the GOOD in the BAD.  You can curl up in His palm, because that is all you CAN do.

And while you are living on the brink of blinding fear, you are feeding, and rocking, and noticing, and caressing, and...unsure.  Why is she crying? Why isn't she crying? Should I feed her the organic brand? Am I holding her enough? Studies say this, studies say that. La Leche League says this, my sister says that. But rest assured, God has given you the instinct you need. He gave you this daughter and He has given you the skills to care for her. Trust yourself. The internet will not help you. Trust your own instincts, and if you must, ask other mothers whom you trust and admire their parenting.

Parenting is the most exciting, exhausting, hilarious, insane adventure. Nothing else can make you laugh and cry in moments. Nothing else could make you more angry and more happy.  Nothing else can be so cute and so frustrating.

May you be blessed in this incredible adventure, sister.  There is so much blessing to be had...