I just walked in the door from a hike across the surrounding cornfields. I started the hike out of a desire to get out of the house, and enjoy some fresh air. While I was walking I began to think about life, and the things that occupy my time, space, and those precious moments. I so often let those “things” crowd out what’s most important, and give way to what is immediately gratifying to myself. Whether it’s dropping $4 to rent a movie, avoiding an opportunity to develop an important relationship, or buying a bag of chips at the gas station I find it far to easy to follow the road most traveled rather than live a purposeful, devoted life.
I have too much. Not only that, but I desire too much. Two years ago when I spent 8 days in Mare Rouge, Haiti I saw a totally new level of poverty – extended families were living together in a hut the size of my bedroom, they had to walk one or two hours a day to get drinking water, and they shared the same amount of food for one day that I normally eat in one meal. These people were truly poor. And yet they weren’t. In all my life I had never seen people so happy. Joyful really! These were people who had no hope of ever making a living beyond what they needed that day, or doing anything other than hoeing their fields. But when they got together to worship the Lord, they really worshipped! The singing was loud and beautiful, and the preaching (though I couldn’t understand most of it) was sincere.
Though so poor, these people were rich!
Me on the other hand… I have almost everything I want. A car that runs most of the time (is it really a trial when it doesn’t run right, or just an inconvenience?), a steady job, a warm house that’s more than big enough for the four in my family, and countless other… blessings. Or are they really blessings? I complain about my car being a clunker, that my job can be difficult and trying at times, that the house is drafty and cold, and… should I even mention church? Why do I, who has everything I might need, find it so hard to be joyful? I believe that it is misplaced priorities and faulty desires that have replaced the simple joy of worshipping Christ, and living solely for him. Not only that, but these priorities and desires crowd out better, even higher, priorities and desires – those called for by Christ himself: Care for the fatherless and the widow, proclaim the gospel, et cetera.
I came to realize for the first time that the many references in the New Testament to “Christ in you” and “you in Christ” and “Christ our life” and “abiding in Christ” are not figures of speech but literal, actual, blessed fact. Before that August morning in 1910, I’d always known Christ was my Savior, but I had looked upon Him as an external Savior, one who did a saving work for me, from the outside, always ready to come alongside and help me by providing power, strength, and salvation. But now I knew something better: Jesus Christ was actually and literally within me. And even more than that, He Himself constituted my very life, taking me – body, mind, and spirit – into union with Himself, while I retained my own identity, free will, and full moral responsibility.
It meant I need never again ask Him to help me as though He were apart from me. Instead I could ask Him simply to do His work and His will in me and with me and through me. My body was His, my mind His, my will His, my spirit His. And not merely His, but literally a part of Him.
He was asking me to recognize this truth: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Jesus Christ Himself had become my life.
Charles Trumbull – Victory in Christ, “The Life that Wins” p.27-28
Mom, Chad and I parked the car, then began walking into Walmart. The air was crisp and cool – though not too cool, hinting that Spring was on the way.
We walked through the double sliding doors, and were instantly greeted by… a scary goblin. There was orange and black everywhere! A banner over the second set of doors stated that due to an overstock of Halloween goods, the store would be decorated in a Halloween theme until mid-March.
Already I was freaking out, but I knew that I’d just have to swallow my fear of clowns and goblins, and do what had to be done. But I hadn’t anticipated every single Walmart employee being dressed in a scary costume; and this was the only time they’d ever been so eager to help, too!
As I walked through the men’s clothing section, I tried to avoid eye contact with the blood covered executioner. I started checking out the pants, looking for the size I wear. Over my shoulder I could see the scary man coming toward me. In fact, if my eyes weren’t deceiving me, he was running towards me.
I dropped the stack of pants I had to been looking at, and darted into the aisle. Long legs are definitely a blessing when it comes to out running bloody
“murderers.” However, parkour skills are involved for outrunning multiple bloody “murderers.”
I bounced between displays, around people, and over bins. It seemed like every employee in the whole store was after me! I was quickly getting boxed in. I just needed to get higher – to get someplace where they couldn’t. I started climbing up a shelf, but a hooded man with a scythe grabbed my leg and started pulling. I kicked and hit something wooden. I kicked again… and woke up.
What is it with nightmares? Why do we have them? I really don’t know, and I don’t know why I have the same one over and over again (I’ve never had a different nightmare from the “halloween at Walmart” one). Some times I wonder is it’s something spiritual – it seems like I only ever have that dream before going on missions trip, or something of that nature. Is it just an attempt to break me down; to make me say, “I can’t. I’m too afraid”?
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because, truly, I can’t. Only Christ can. God help me if I ever say, “I can” – that’s when he gets less glory, and I get it all. If I don’t screw it up in the process, that is.
Ya know – maybe on that note, the nightmare isn’t an attack to get me to feel like I can’t do what I should do, but rather it’s actually a reminder that I can only do it in Christ’s strength! I mean, the dream has absolutely nothing to do with that theme, but it does make me feel fear and run to Christ for consolation. Without Christ – no matter how big or small my fears are, and no matter how week or strong I think I am – nothing of eternal value can be accomplished.
So while I hate clowns and goblins (but especially clowns), I’m thankful for them because they remind me that “I can [only] do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Work’s been super slow for a couple weeks. Last week I worked just over ten hours, and so far this week I’ve only worked for about three hours. It’s been a little frustrating not having the work (or the money), so I started looking for a part-time job yesterday. I couldn’t find anything, so on a whim I decided to see what options there were for full-time jobs in Peoria. Bingo! There were several that I’m either qualified for, or will train new employees.
If I’ve learned anything lately, it’s been that it’s unwise to rush into something without lots of prayer and thought. So I decided to go walking on a bike trail near my house and pray/think about whether I should try to get a new job, or keep working for Fedi.
There’s something about beautiful weather and crisp, clean air that aids thought. I felt a calm while I was walking (and running, a little bit), and I realized that what I choose to do for a career isn’t what matters – it’s times when I can enjoy God’s creation, get to know Him better, spend quality time with people, and be a blessing: it’s times like those that matter.
I also decided that I haven’t given the Hungarian Handyman enough time – sure, I’m not making any money right now, but it doesn’t really hurt me too much since I’m living with my folks. Instead of focussing on my problem of not having work, I can find other things to do. My cello has been neglected a bit lately – I can catch up on practice. I started Oakey back into riding training last week – I can continue that.
So, for now, I’m sticking it out. If anything, this is another opportunity to practice patience.