Friday, June 15, 2007

An Interview with God

I have a meeting with the director of my deparment next week to discuss if there any openings for me in the fall. To prepare for the meeting, I've been organizing my job portfolio. I found a copy of one of my old self-evaluations, outlining my strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a job interview where I wasn’t asked this question. When I had my interview for my newspaper job, my editor even phrased the question as “and now the question we all knew what coming…what is your greatest weakness?”. I dread this question, because it’s such a weighted question- give the wrong answer and the job could go to someone else.
I couldn’t help but think about what would happen if we actually had to audition or interview to be Christians. What if we had to go one day to have a chat with God about why we should be saved? What are the strengths and weaknesses you would present to Him? I’ve picked two of each.

1) I’m very organized.
All my files are alphabetized, my closet is colour coordinated, when writing on my calendar or agenda I have a specific colour for each event (work, school stuff, fun stuff, reminders, etc), and everything has it’s spot. I’m not as rigid as I sound, and I won’t flip out if someone placed the “Bills” file between “school notes” and “taxes”, I just find that life flows so much better when everything is organized.
I like to organize my devotions. I keep a journal chronicling what I’ve read, any verses that really stuck out at me and any thoughts that I’ve been having. (Not only does this keep me on track with my devotions and readings, but it’s fun to flip through old journals from years ago!).
2) I’m very non-judgemental.
I hate it when people judge others, and I tend to very rarely judge people. As a result, I think that this makes me easy to talk to and confide in. Through working at the youth centre and coaching I’ve had a lot of great talks with kids who are going through problems, and even random classmates have confided to me in the past. I think as Christians it’s important for us to be accepting of others, and to not judge each other.

And now that I’ve made myself sound so wonderful (!!) ….

1) I always have a “full mouth”.
You know the expression “don’t bite off more than you can chew”? I usually don’t take on more than I can handle, but I am usually busy. At any given time I’ll be juggling participating in two different sports, hanging out with friends, a job (or two this summer!), classes and homework (not anymore!!), reading, writing, playing with my pets … finding the time to actually spend time with God, in prayer and in study, is often hard to do. (See, my organizational skills aren’t sounding quite so crazy anymore!).
2) I get tunnel-vision.
When I was still in school, most of my energy and focus went into class, my research and my job, and I didn’t work on anything else until these three were completely taken care of. Were those things important? Sure! But so are my friends, actually making a nutritious meal…and my relationship with Christ! Can I afford to take half an hour off each day to open my Bible? Yes, but sometimes it’s hard for me to do. I definitely need to work on not letting other important things slide.

While a relationship with Christ goes much deeper than organizing devotions, I still find it interesting how our individual differences can reflect where we fall short in our walk with God, and where we are strong. Luckily for us, God doesn’t care about our organizational skills or how busy we are, He loves us for who we are. He created us with our own individual strengths and weaknesses. That’s a bit of a re-assurance as I brace myself for that inevitable question next week.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth".
- 2 Timothy 2:15

Love In Christ, from one very organized and very busy Christian-


Monday, June 11, 2007

Vines and branches

Isn’t it great when a Sunday message really stays in your thoughts? In church the other day, we studied John 15. In John 15:4, we are told to remain with Christ. In my opinion at least, part of remaining in Christ is spending quality time studying and reading His word, and spending time in prayer. How to have, and maintain, a steadfast relationship with Christ was on my mind all day today.
I’m very lucky because at both my jobs, I enjoy the people I work with. Working at the barn, I work with a group of friends that I’ve known for fifteen years now. We knew each other when we were crazy kids tearing around on equally crazy ponies, and we’ve stayed friends because not only do we have a passion in common, but because after spending so much time together for so many years, we know each other incredibly well, and we all have an emotional attachment. How do we all maintain our friendship? Well, working together automatically ensures we spend a lot of time together, but our lunch hours are filled with constant laughing and conversation, we go out for dinners all the time, and our favourite time of year: the annual Christmas party. We MAKE time for each other, because we VALUE each other.
Sitting on my desk is a picture of me with two of my closest friends: two girls I swam with for many years. It was taken at our last swim meet before we went off to compete for separate universities. I love the picture because you can see that all 3 of us are just about to laugh, and I’ve had so many great times with those girls that every time I look at the picture, no matter how stressed, sad or angry I am, I always laugh. How did we become such close friends? Once again, it goes deeper than just a shared passion for a sport. We always roomed together when we travelled, and we you travel as much as we did, that adds up to a lot of nights in hotel rooms with nothing to do but hang out and talk. Our friendship grew, and I still talk to the two girls all the time.
My friendships are one of the most important things to me. When I got home from work tonight, I talked to my best friend tonight on the phone for almost an hour. She’s leaving tomorrow morning to work out in Alberta for the rest of the summer, and we’ve never spent a summer apart before. After I hung up, I thought about how much time people invest in relationships.
If a husband came home one day and told his wife that they should only spend time together for one hour on Sundays, most people would probably say that the marriage was doomed. Yet, that’s all the time that some people give to spending time with the Lord.
I’ve always known that I have a relationship with Christ, for I never really thought of it in terms of MAINTAINING a real relationship.
In John 15, we are referred to as the branches and Christ as the vine. I read my Bible today sitting on my parents’ deck, which is decorated with a couple of potted plants. If I had cut off one of the branches from one of the plants, I’m sure it would be dead, or well on its way by now, but the plant itself would still be alive and blossoming. The vine takes care of its branches, sustaining it with the proper food and nutrients it needs to survive, but the vine doesn’t NEED each individual branch in order to survive. Just like a branch, we need to constant contact with our vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
- John 15:5

**Note: while none of these girls are Christians (except for my best friend, who is an incredibly strong Christian), they are all incredibly supportive of my lifestyle and choices.

Hhhmm....I've been kind of long-winded tonight! I guess that's what happens after a week (eep!) of not posting!

In His Love-


Monday, June 04, 2007

My burdened soul found liberty

With all the rain we’ve been getting lately, there’s mud everywhere, and Saturday afternoon at work, one of our trucks got stuck. As I stood there watching the mud splatter everywhere and the tires spin, I couldn’t help but think that is exactly what I’ve been feeling like lately- desperately trying to go somewhere, and getting nowhere.
I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual happiness lately. When we’re young, other people help to control our walk with Christ- parents that take you to church every Sunday, Sunday School teachers who teach you, etc. But as we get older, the responsibility to maintain a relationship with Christ lays more and more on us. I’ll be honest: I’ve been avoiding that responsibility for a while now. After exams were done and I’d moved back home, I was hoping that the stress of school would finally wear off, and instead it’s just been transferred to stress about finding a permanent job, deciding what to do in September….and the list continues. Somewhere along the way, I started to let my devotions, readings and fellowship and time with other Christians slide. Making matters worse is the fact that my Bible group fell apart this summer because all the other members moved away. I try not to take it personally-haha. For those of you who don’t know, I attend a small assembly, and with hardly anyone else my age that attends, my Bible study group of fellow women in our twenties came to mean a lot to me.
After my uncharacteristic period of moping around wore off, I decided to make some changes, starting first with were I attend. Sitting on my desk beside me is a list of local churches, so I think I might spend the next few Sundays church hopping. This decision led to a whole new set of problems: my parents and grandparents attend my current assembly. In fact, we started going there because that’s where my parents took my sister and me when our former church fell apart. Apparently my decision to possibly change churches has upset my parents, who feel as though there will be hurt feelings all around if I leave.
This led me to two thoughts I’ve been pondering over: am I being selfish? And…. is it ok to be selfish when seeking fulfillment in Christ? I’m feeling a little stale, I miss the company of people my own age, and I think I’m ready for a change, even if it’s just for a little while. Seems simple enough, but I’ve been changing my mind every two seconds over what to do!
Now that I’ve finished rambling and complaining (nobody’s perfect right?!), I’ll close with sharing the chorus from one of my favourite hymns, “At Calvary”. We sang it at church on Sunday, and I was playing it on the piano this afternoon too: “Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary”. The last part about the burdened soul really hit home for me, because lately my soul has definitely been burdened!

Love In Christ-