A Reflection on Humility

Today I heard a definition of humility that I had never heard before. Perhaps the context of the conversation, especially in light of where I am at spiritually, emotionally, etc., is for thinking about another time. (Naptime is about over anyway.) It’s worth pondering.

Humility is “hearing God’s voice and doing what He says.” 

Part of the interesting context for me today is that tonight Nate and I are meeting with our church community’s “Spiritual Renewal Team” – a prayer team that takes very seriously the responsibility and gift to specifically seek insight and revelation from God for intercessory purposes. Last night I actually got nervous as I thought about meeting with the group. It’s because I know how dried up I feel. Sure, I’ve been sick with what has felt like the flu for the last week – but my spiritual well being has been off for much longer. It’s really an intimacy with God thing that has been lacking…as in, I haven’t made time with Him a priority. If we could apply the Five Love Languages model to our relationship, I would say that Quality Time has been completely off the radar. Just as in any healthy relationship, lack of something as significant as quality time means the relationship suffers. This is just the plain and simple nutshell version of something that obviously goes much deeper than a blog post in blogland. (And it’s really not to be Debbie Downer, either.)

So here’s the cool thing. Picture a sandwich. Doesn’t matter what kind, as long as there are two pieces of bread. My stuff is the filling of the sandwich, like my ‘empty tank’. And my nervousness to come before a group of people that could call out the reality of the rather dismal state of my internal well-being, my lack of discipline, my ‘lukewarm’ attitude on some things, my struggles with selfish desires…

God is sandwiching that stuff in two thoughts, truths even, to help me to see Him in this process and even in the preparation to hear Him tonight. He is always reaching for me, even when I am not reaching for Him.

This new definition of humility to consider is one part of it. Hearing and obeying…but it starts with hearing.

The second is this random reading from Oswald Chambers (My Utmost…) which I read about an hour after hearing the above mentioned nugget on humility.

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. (Proverbs 29:18). … Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong. We set prayer aside as well and cease having God’s vision in the little things of life. We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and vitality in our spiritual outlook?”

My attention is piqued. The nervousness is dissipating to anticipation. This is a good thing.

The Little Things

Our prayer time with the ‘prayer team’ was awesome.

In my last post I said something about how God is always reaching for me, even if I am not reaching for Him. I didn’t mean to say it, I was just blog-babbling, with my thoughts going from head to keyboard, unedited. I didn’t realize how true it is, was, and will always be. The prayer time was a demonstration of His reach toward me (towards us, really) – it was amazing, humbling, beautiful, tender and powerful.

First, I want to say that it is such an incredible thing to be part of a church body where people are committed to seeking and listening for God, specifically for other people. Maybe I just haven’t paused to think about the power of intercessory prayer enough. But I usually associate intercessory prayer as something much more private, and therefore, powerful in that particular way. I was humbled that five people (some who are dear friends, some who are more acquaintances) would spend HOURS (which included preparation, not just the actual prayer time together) to come meet with us, listen, ask questions, listen some more and then purposefully seek revelation and truth from God for us. Nothing was for them. They were listening to God to receive something to give it away. There were moments that I truly felt like they were warriors fighting for us. They weren’t fighting for them, for us. It’s still indescribable, even though I have tried a few sentences. It was a gift of service and love that helped me to have a deeper understanding of what service and love is about in the powerful act of prayer.

So one of the things I know I needed, as I even blogged about hours before our prayer time together, was the desire and capacity to see God, have His vision or have a vision FOR Him, in the little things.

Can I just say that God’s faithfulness to respond so swiftly is …

… seen in the way that a smile creeps slowly across Calum’s face, where it starts with a little glimmer in his eyes. Daily I spend hours upon hours with this little thing smiling this sometimes devious, sometimes pure delight, smile up at me. It brings joy just to even envision it right now.

… experienced in the drive from Sherwood to Newberg yesterday morning after an “unsuccessful” yet unimportant outing to Target. The sun was already warm on our skin. I made a kickin’ new playlist that we turned on and r o c k e d out to…it included Eli’s special request of “That’s Not My Name” and some of my new-ish faves. One of those songs is “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It rocks. (Literally, I think it’s one of the tracks to play along to on Rock Band or Guitar Hero.) The cool chick singer Karen O belts out the chorus, “They don’t love you like I love you.” Eli and I sang this to each other, rocking out on 99W. The best part? Hours later … sitting at the dining room table, Eli points at me all intense and crafty and says, “They don’t love you like I love you!”

… inspiration that hit early today. After two weeks of NyQuil induced sleep at night, my body has slogged through the morning hours. 8am wake ups have felt like it may as well have been 4am, with a complete and utter sense of being out of it. This morning, the sun crept in through the french door that was open in our bedroom, and I woke up at 6:15am refreshed, despite six hours of sleep. My mind was clear and bottom line is this, I had a moment of creativity and inspiration for something that first of all, had room to come in, and second, to actually dwell and play in my mind. It was nice, the way an unexpected bouquet of flowers or flattering compliment is nice to receive.

I’m savoring and sharing these little big things in the hopes that there are more for all of us in the days ahead.

Back from Summer Vacation

I took an unofficial break from blogging for summer vacation. So, pardon, the, punctuation issues! or grammatical mishaps, as I am rusty on the writing front. I didn’t really decide to take a break “officially” – it just happened and in the moments when I thought about writing, I had a smorgasbord of thoughts:

…”It’s midnight, nothing good would come of me staying up late to blog…maybe another time.”
…”Wow. I love being able to read what people are thinking about that resonates with me, or things that have inspired me, or things from witty sports columnits on ESPN that are into the same music I am. Like here at the Mommy Revolution. And here where it’s all quotes from Jonathan Safran Foer. And here. Waitasecond, I have a blog somewhere, right?” (Does that mean I was inspired to write? No, just inspired to share their links.)
…”Hmmm, my poor neglected blog. I have nothing to say.” (Or maybe I was just in the ridiculously addictive habit of updating my Facebook status if I have nothing to say instead.)

The things that really kept me away though are people. Three particular boys especially. And our summer of activities, sickness (yeah, what?) and the ups-and-downs of life that I just didn’t necessarily feel like writing about. I had a few moments when I did feel like some blog-processing could fit in, but overall, I just needed some processing space and “being in the moment” space that doesn’t always happen if I am thinking-borderline-concerned with writing it out for 2 people to read. Ha.

So what did me and the three boys do this summer?

Well, the slightly-abbreviated and glossed over version of our activities includes: serious (quantity & quality) time with sister, two weeks at Cannon Beach (which in itself included numerous hikes, BBQs, a parade, lots of my favorite people time and much more), a phenomenal Coldplay concert, a garage sale with five of my favorite families, keeping up with a 1 year old that never walks – only runs (usually in the opposite direction from a parent-type), extreme heat, eight birthday celebrations, two trips to IKEA, setting the BBQ on fire where the fire doesn’t belong, enjoying a new adult beverage thanks to the “Georgia Aunts” (technically not my aunts, but they don’t go by any other name in my mind), some awesome dates with the husband, three days of the boys at Grandma Terry’s, one Harry Potter movie, six completed books, at least a dozen movies including a Bourne-Binge, lots of watching of sports, trips to the skate park, bike rides, a garden that gave me 16 green peppers and 4 zucchini (huh?) and a very satisfying amount of cherry tomatoes.