To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making a choice--declaring what is essential--creates a framework for life that eliminates many choices but gives meaning to the things that remain."

We are, by nature, a rebellious people. Someone tells us we can't cuss and our response tends to follow along the lines of, "You're saying I can't talk!"
And this kind of thing doesn't just happen when it's someone else telling us what we can or cannot do. The minute I decided to change my diet, removing almost all carbs, the only thing I wanted to eat was bread.
Goodness is equated with choices. And if there are fewer choices in view then something must be wrong.
When a choice is made as to what is essential, by default some things are declared not essential or necessary. Sometimes when this happens it is viewed as only a negative. We only hear what is going away...or we perceive that something is being taken away from us. We've lost a choice...this cannot be good. Sometimes we never move past this point and no matter what is said about what is essential, we're unhappy. It's like only seeing the thorny stem and never the rose.
The framework of a house determines the way that house will look. We could spend our time fretting over the limits this puts into place or we can recognize the freedom that comes from working and living within those understood limits. We can rejoice in the meaning and value that is given to the things that remain.
Having limits, subtracting distractions...brings a new kind of intensity.
Much is being questioned, judged and weighed in the balance of my world regarding worship, church, and womanhood. Conclusions have been drawn, some good some bad. Regardless, choices have been made that will open some doors and close others.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend that I'd been dreading. It's okay for me to say that here...she felt the same way. It wasn't an easy conversation. There were tears and questions and more tears and questions. We both realized that some of this stuff can't be least not yet. I know what God has done in my life through this horrible, beautiful mess. And I know what she said He has done in her life. And we agreed that the wounds we'd suffered...the losses we'd experienced...were worth it because of that.

"Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20

May we all tread very, very carefully as we make our choices and decisions. God's work in our lives is not something to carelessly disregard.