Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Shema

    Today is my last day of spring break and I am sincerely sad to see it go. I spent my break this year in Chicago with my sister Becca. I spent the break sleeping, reading, eating thai food and chocolate, and watching Flireflies (an amazing show I was introduced to by my sisters roommate Angela.) It was my kind of vacation. Though despite the numerous naps and rich conversations deep brewing uncertainties were never fully calmed or dealt with. I'm the kind of gal who doesn't rest well when a to-do list and unanswered questions are looming. I have papers, projects, and tests (oh my!) not to mention deeper issues of insecurity, personal darkness and injustice to deal with.
So today I took a walk.
    I slipped my grey dress on over my head, stepped into my worn brown flats and headed out the door with a book in hand. A perfect 63 degree day welcomed me as I headed out for my street adventure. I don't know my way around this neighborhood but I figured I could find my way back if I got lost so I just wandered. With every step I took my heart lifted just a little. Walking past apartment after apartment, all different styles of brick and stone, I heard scores of languages drifting out and mingling in the street, some of them children laughing or singing, others accompanied by music. I eventually happened upon a little park. There were swing sets and dogs playing and neighbors yelling to one another across the green space. This was a different side of this city I hadn't seen yet and I loved it. I choose a bench facing the sun and settled in. I wrote this in my journal:

   As I sit here in a small little park in Chicago with the warm sun bathing my face I turn the pages my The Jesus Creed slowly and deliberately-thinking. The playful wind dances with the wispy hair framing my face (my mom calls them my angel wings). I feel blessed. I tip my head and close my eyes to the brightness of the sun-I probably look foolish to all the cool Chicago natives, but I don't mind. I feel warm. Reading the Jesus Creed I am reminded of my call. I do not live for myself or my happiness but for my God and for others. That is how I choose to live today. 

    It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in striving for my own happiness and success. Our culture is obsessed with the personal pursuit of happiness...so why are more people depressed today than in any other time in history? Scot McKnight in The Jesus Creed writes about the difference between being happy and being blessed. We are blessed when we are the people God created us to be. "Blessed is about loving God and loving others; happy is about loving myself (and whatever makes me happy)." -Scot McKnight. Despite the wonderful and rich week I had I was constantly running over lists in the back of my mind, constantly fretting and planning. I let my own agenda muddle the blessing all around me, but today just walked, thought and prayed. I'm very thankful for this subtle but significant reminder from the Lord. My mind set has shifted just a little bit farther away from myself and I can already feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. School work is important, the things on my lists will eventually get done, and there are many questions I still have, but those things are not my primary pursuit. Even if I got full marks on all of my assignments, had completed every to-do list in the world and knew all the answers I would not be fulfilled unless I was loving my God with all my heart, soul and mind and serving others. My life is not my own, and I'm thankful for that. 
    
    

4 comments:

  1. it is good you like the little neighborhood - in the great big city - where you will spend so much of the next four years...

    ...but it is a favored position - full of blessing - to embrace loving God with all your heart and to know that you are complete only in Him.

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  2. I love hearing how God is moving you, sister.

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  3. Imma tell Scot you referenced him in your blog. :)

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