Weekly Thoughts: 1/17-1/24
It’s been a while since I’ve written, and I’m sorry for that. I’m mostly apologizing to myself, since I’ve now set out to be a writer. Anyways, I figure since I want to focus on writing fiction, that’s where my focus should be. However, since I paid for this space I plan on using it, and I’d be grateful if you’ll read. I’ll be sharing brief blogs containing my reflections each week. This way, my thoughts are written down and shared with anyone who cares to read, and we’ll see the development of various thoughts as I think them. Some will be theological, some won’t. Some will definitely be weird, so please bear with me…
All that being said… Here are three things I’ve been thinking about this past week:
God cares more about how you walk your path than what path you walk.
At my age, everyone’s searching for the voice of God. We envy Abraham, all he had to do was listen, and a clear path was set before him. Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, no one seems to find their purpose so easily set before them. I still wish I could have that moment, with the lights shining down on me, the dove descending, and the angelic choir singing.
But lately I’ve been thinking that God cares less about what we do, and more about how we do it. What we do is obviously important, and requires a great deal of thought and reliance on God. But how we do it is reflective of our hearts, and God’s utmost concern is the redemption of our hearts. We see this throughout Jesus’ teachings, and really, the whole Bible. So I’ve been attempting to focus my efforts on becoming the type of person who is like Jesus in all situations, rather than waiting for Jesus to give me a specific script.
We separate the “spiritual” from the “less spiritual” in an unhealthy way.
In my Church History class we’ve been discussing gnosticism, an early heresy. The Gnostics were strict dualists who believed there was a spiritual realm, which was good, and a material realm, which was evil. Gnostics tried to change Christianity by bringing those attitudes into it. This attitude towards matter brings a dichotomy of your life and ascribes “ascetic practice” such as very strict diets, chastity, and “spiritual reflection” on “secret spiritual knowledge” to attain freedom from the chains of matter. It’s garbage, but the gnostics were influential, mostly because they were backed by Plato’s philosophy, an influential philosophy of their day.
We also are very influenced by Plato as a culture who was birthed from the enlightenment. And, you may notice, we dichotomize the spiritual from the material in the Church. When someone asks about your walk with Jesus, we respond in terms of how our prayer time and bible reading is going, as if that’s the only facet to our “spiritual life”. And when we’re really enjoying a burger, or having a lot of fun with friends over a round of drinks, we worry we’re being too fleshly.
Basically, I fear that we sometimes have a slight dichotomy in our lives of what is pleasing to Jesus and beneficial to our walk, or “spiritual”, and what is simply plain ordinary life, or “material”. God made matter and He is pleased with it. We are encouraged to worship through thankfulness and gratitude with all things. So whether eating bacon, drinking a beer, or praying, you can effectively strengthen your love and your relationship with Jesus the Lord of all things because He made them and He made you to enjoy them with Him.
In light of that, I propose we serve beer at church. I’m (partially) kidding…
We’re going to miss out… On a lot… So how do we deal with that?
FOMO. Fear of missing out. No one wants to miss out. Sometimes when I get FOMO, I quickly reassure myself that “I’m not missing out on anything!”
But come on… There’s a world with 7 billion people living in it. New songs being released. New books. New movies. New cars. New everything. Hundreds of outlets for fun, enjoyment, creativity, and learning. Millions of streams of information. We’re always missing out on something we’d like to be doing.
But we can’t simply be all places and all times. I’m not sure I’d want to be. So how do we deal with FOMO? Personally, I’ve been remembering that I don’t need to be a part of everything. Since I’m human, sometimes I need rest. Other times I need food. And others I need fun, company, or a good cup of coffee with a cute girl (which I could use a little more of right now if I’m being honest). So as much as I may fear I’m missing out on something big, it’s better for me (and for everyone else, really) if I pay more attention to what I need to be doing hour by hour.
I might want to drop everything, call out of work, and go to the grand canyon tomorrow, then drive back at 1am. But I need to be an efficient student, worker, and life leader. I need to exercise tomorrow and eat healthy, even if I fear I’m missing out on that Taco Bell run my friends went on.
Quite frankly, it’s more peaceful that way. I’m learning to be content with doing what most aides me in a given moment, rather than being driven by an insatiable desire to be a part of every stunning thing that’s happening in my peer group. Sometimes reading a book and sipping some tea while I get snapchats about their grand adventures is absolutely good enough.