Friday, June 26, 2015

Glory Chaser

I was on my home from dropping Jack off at baseball practice tonight when I heard (honestly right now all I can hear in my ear is Silento's "Watch Me" because it is playing on a particular someone's iPod, making it very difficult to concentrate on anything other than the dull, repetitive beat of ooh, watch me, watch me, ooh, watch me, watch me, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh. Plus there is a fruit fly flying around in my face. WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?)--okay, so I heard Bret Michael's newest attempt at a song on the radio, and I was so mad and so offended I immediately came home to make sure I had the correct Bret Michaels. and yeah, it's the same guy who sang eeeevvveerrry rose has it's thooooorrrrrnnn (which I LOVE).  This new song is about what you might expect a country song to be about: hot girls dancing on bars. Of course. Because the only girls that are allowed to dance on bars are undoubtedly the hot ones. Obviously the only girls who should even be allowed in bars are the hot ones. All the other ones should be dismissed, due to their not hotness and all. And clearly all the girls who are lucky enough to be labeled "hot" by Bret Michaels and his stupid friends and all the people who might hear that song and think "yes, I will label this girl hot and this girl not" OR "I will label myself hot and everyone else not" OR "I can't label myself hot because I'm not and now I'm depressed"--all of them--want to get drunk and dance on bars so that old men can do what? Watch and be creepy? Disgusting. (Yes. Bret Michaels is OLD.) Not only is it disgusting but it's demoralizing and sad and degrading. I was so PO'd when I got home that I thought I should write the radio station and tell them what I thought, but then I wondered if what I had to say would even make a difference at all to anybody, and then I thought well if nobody ever speaks up, then this is how we get "Girls on Bars" songs in the first place. But before I google that radio station's manager, I thought I'd come here first. (But maybe I should have written that email before I wrote here...)

I've renewed my obsession with reading (which is maybe why I like writing so much) and am currently on like my fifth or sixth  Mary Kay Andrews book (if language bothers you, then don't bother) about a blogger who gets divorced because her husband cheats and then steals her blog identity. He's a fictional jerk. Anyways, this fictional character named Grace has this wildly successful fictional lifestyle blog, and last night I began thinking to myself now, wouldn't it be nice to have 700,000 followers...or a million...or five million! and then I began comparing my real blog to her fictional one (I promise you I am a fairly normal and rational human) and then suddenly I was an unsuccessful blogger with no friends who will never have a career at anything because she's mediocre at best. (We have a term for this. It's called snowballing--when you let one tiny little thing like a fictional character in a fictional book get under your skin and then suddenly everything has snowballed to horrific proportions. It is also called PMS and is usually accompanied by varying degrees of bad moods and the possibility of sudden tears, along with the alarming tears/very bad mood/manic laughter combo.)

It wasn't until I opened up my pastor's email entitled "Whatever You Do" that I was able to think past what I want (a million followers, please) and take a look at what I do. (What I want and what I do are sometimes two very different things. Never satisfied, this one.) See, blogging was born out of a passion of mine. I wanted readers to relate to me and grow with me, to see that how they look doesn't define who they are. (Which is partly why Bret Michaels song makes me so angry--same reason Beyonce makes me mad--see post below.) But then it became a problem because I expected it to fill my bucket--to make me feel good about myself. But blogging is also a ministry of mine, because through it I can share my faith. And so I'm praying that God will redeem it and use it to bless others. (All twenty of you. Just kidding. There are 22.)

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do
Do it all to the glory of God.
{1 corinthians 10:31}

And through his email it occurred to me that the menial and basic stuff I do--stuff like decorating and hosting and leading bible study and blogging--can bring glory to God. It doesn't have to be big and flashy. It doesn't have to be impressive. It doesn't even have to have a bunch of likes. It just has to bring Him glory.

I have a passion for many things. Top three would have to be decorating, blogging and exercising. (You know what is not a passion? Weeding. Weeding is definitely not a passion of mine.) Some days that changes completely, sometimes it's just in a different order. My pastor said it so eloquently: The beautiful thing about a redeemed passion is those pleasures don't go away. They continue to bring life and health to you, while also bringing glory to God and blessings to others!...It will surprise you how much more fun and fulfilling eating and drinking, or whatever you do, can be.

I've always been a little bit of a glory-chaser. I don't know why. It conflicts with my other personality, the one that is slightly introverted and quiet and reserved. The one that sits in the back and waits to be noticed, wishing for something big and important to sweep her away in it's wave of excitement. I've never been much of a God-chaser, but have always hoped that He would understand my personality dilemma. I really want the glory much more than I want to give it away.

But now I can see that the glory wasn't ever supposed to be mine in the first place. And seven followers or 700,000, the glory always was, always will be, and is right this very minute His. And now it's time to take myself out of the equation and just focus on bringing Him glory. While I'm leading Sunday morning bible study and Friday morning barre, while I'm blogging and while I'm laughing with my husband. And eating and drinking and living. 

Alpha and Omega. Beginning and End. The End.

(Here's a copy-and-paste of Todd's email:
Whatever You Do... 
            
"...whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God."

I Corinthians 10:31 


Soccer is a passion of mine. It has been since age 5. There isn't a time in my life when I haven't either been playing, coaching or both. To this day, I still love the jitters I get before a kickoff, or the exhilaration of making a good pass or goal.

Soccer is a problem of mine. At least soccer used to be a problem for me. I remember wearing the now cliché,  "Soccer is life, the rest are details," shirt proudly around my high school. Soccer became an idol that was nothing short of worship. I thought about it constantly. It was a god.

Soccer is a ministry of mine. In God's grace, He has turned a problem into a ministry to others. He took what was unbalanced and idolatry and turned it into a way to bless others. Whether it's coaching, missions, or making new friends on an adult team, soccer is one way that God has used me to share Christ with others.

Isn't this just like God? When our passions turn into a problem, He can redeem the whole situation and turn it into a blessing to others.

I Corinthians 10:31 says:
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

I've always liked this verse. It tells me that even the menial and basic stuff of life can bring glory to God. Stuff like soccer.

What has God given you a passion for in life? Your family? Your job? Your lawn? Knitting? NASCAR? Books? Carpentry? Camping? Pinterest?

Ask Him how you can use this passion to bring glory to Him. Often we merely look to the temporal pleasures these things bring: relaxation, purpose, fun, love, money, excitement. The beautiful thing about a redeemed passion is those pleasures don't go away. They continue to bring life and health to you, while also bringing glory to God and blessings to others!

Last week I was in the sweet spot of my redeemed passion of soccer. I was on the island of Nkombo in Rwanda playing with some Rwandan friends I have developed over the last 2 years. They were wearing uniforms and some gear donated by many of you and other local organizations. We started the game with a few Christ-centered words and prayer. Competition was tough, but friendly. It was fun.

 

After the game, one of the coaches told me that the league is growing. The other church we planted a few miles away has also started a team. Kids are being mentored and trained not only in the game of soccer, but in their faith. Some have started going to Church of the Holy Spirit - Nkombo Island because of soccer. Wow, God is now using this coach's redeemed passion to reach HIS community.

Find what God has given you a passion for and see how He can use it for His glory. It will surprise you how much more fun and fulfilling eating, drinking, or whatever you do, can be!

Todd+

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