lately art has been reading "my utmost for his highest" by oswald chambers. my mom bought us this book for christmas a few years back, and it's mostly sat on a shelf or-- as is tradition in my family--on the back of the toilet. but lately he's been reading it all the time, and whenever he comes across something interesting he reads it to me and we talk about it, or just think about it.
recently a recurring theme has been about holiness or usefulness not being the goal of life as a follower of Christ, but a byproduct. that's an oversimplification of course--i don't have oz's eloquence. but that's the gist. this has been something i've been thinking about a lot lately, this whole notion of what is important personally in a relationship with God. i understand that on the grander scale, we Christians should be out in our communities meeting the needs of others and being the light of Christ to those around us. but on a personal level, sometimes it's hard to tell just exactly what to do besides behaving ourselves. for myself personally i begin to feel like i'm a failure when i'm not being "useful." i spin my wheels, frustrated, because i have all these gifts and abilities God has blessed me with but not a clue how or where to use them. i've begged God during prayer time to show me what to do for Him, and i've tried to figure out venues where my skills might be put to good use.
and then this simple message hits me like lightning: we're to be abandoned to God because of God, not because of what He can do for us or what we can do for Him. here's a quote i liked:
beware the abandonment that has the commercial spirit in it...we have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him and not for Himself. it's like saying, 'no, Lord, i don't want Thee, i want myself; but myself clean and filled with the Holy Ghost; i want to be put in Thy showroom and be able to say--'this is what God has done for me.'"...that we gain heaven, that we are delivered from sin, that we are made useful to God--these things never enter as considerations into real abandonment, which is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.
how pathetically often i find myself praying for things--"make me holy", "use me please", "give me what i want"...me, me, me. real loving relationships aren't about what the other person can give you, or even what you can give them. it's about being with that person, being unified in such a way that you become like each other. we are supposed to be created in His image, new creations in Christ Jesus--He calls us sons and daughters. we are to be His bride. i think it's pretty clear that our relationship with Him is meant to be more than daily supplications for everything we need or want. if all i ever talked to art about was what i wanted from Him, and all i ever did was work hard as a wife and mom to be sure i was some ideal woman, i doubt our relationship would ever grow or deepen because everything would be about ME.
anyway, i'm mostly writing this for myself. it seems lately that many of my preconceived notions about God and our purpose here on earth have been called into question and i find it helpful to ramble a little.