Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is it supposed to be easy?

That's my scrap table/desk in the first well as a "close-up" of the artwork on the wall beneath it. Ava and Bella used pencil to draw all sorts of little pictures on the wall. It's one of their favorite little spots to hang out, although they have the whole play area in the rest of the room for themselves. They did their drawings a couple of weeks ago, and got a nice time-out and scolding as a result. Bella's response was "Ava told me I could". Hmmm. Peer pressure is gonna be a scary thing in her life for Chip and me over the next several years; I can sense that already.
I had to throw in a couple of photos of Wyndham and Brock as well. Really this post may not even make sense to anyone that reads it. It's just me and my analytical thoughts running around in circles again. That seems to happen quite a bit, and this blog is one of my favorite places for me to unload my random thoughts. That's it.
I've been reading some books lately and some of them have me asking myself all sorts of questions. In addition, I know several people who are in the midst of some big changes in life- some are starting new jobs, some are facing major health concerns/death even, and others are just feeling uncertain of where to turn next. These sorts of things make me stop and look at my own life and I guess that's where these questions stem from.
I sometimes wonder where we get the idea that life is supposed to be so rosy and carefree...easy almost. I mean, it seems like this is the kind of picture that gets painted to many of us as we grow up. You go to school, you graduate and go off to college and major in something you are good at or want to do in life...or get a job that 'matches' your ideal career path, and for some you get married and buy a house and raise a family and just follow this nice plan for your life. If you're lucky or 'successful' you make a great salary and can afford vacations and cars and nice things- designer clothes, big TV's, extracurriculars for yourself and your kids if you have them and sometimes you even top it all off with a boss that you love! Imagine!
The more I live and learn, the more it seems to me that this is not really a part of the plan...or at least not 'the whole picture'. Some of you won't even get where I am coming from, but for others, maybe you sort of have this same sense. That while, sure, it sounds nice and it actually pans out that way for some people, it's not really the way things are ultimately designed.
I have asked myself for years, God, what would you have me do in this world...what is my purpose and how does it fit in with Your plan?
The funny thing is that in all my years of seeking and asking and longing and searching, I've never come across anything, anywhere, that says, "You deserve an easy life- one full of comforts and great success- that just lines up perfectly to what you've had in mind all your life."
No where.
No where have I read that or been promised that in my life.
The Declaration of Independence offers all Americans "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"...but that's the closest thing I've found to telling me that I deserve a happy life. You see, the thing that keeps tugging at me is how my faith and the Scriptures I read seem to say something almost contrary to that in every way. The Bible talks a lot about how I have to lose my life in order to find I should expect to suffer as a follower of Christ, and how it is more blessed to give than to receive...and even that it is blessing to mourn, for in turn, you receive comfort.
I struggle with how much my 'easy life' lines up with God's plan and purpose for me. I know God blesses people in their lives- I have been overwhelmed with blessing in mine. I thank Him for the things I have- the gifts I have- that I do not deserve. Don't get me wrong. I truly believe God wants each of us to be filled to overflowing with Joy and peace. But what I have learned and realized through the years is that He wants it to come from Him...through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus. Things can bring you temporary joy and happiness, but what God has planned for us, I believe, is that we go through trials and suffering and times of uncertainty in order to recognize that 'stuff' isn't enough. We need more than things to fill the longings in our soul.
Once I have learned that nothing in this world will ever satisfy the needs of my heart- that there is only one God who can meet my deepest needs- then I can begin to live the life God intended for me all along. The fact that God sent His Son, Jesus to suffer and die on a cross for my sin is something you and I can never repay. God doesn't ask anything from any of us, except that we believe and accept this gift of salvation from Him. Therein, lies the answer to my questions for me.
For some, an easy life sounds like the best thing in the world. But I would suggest that suffering- for Christ's sake-is the better way to live. So there is my inner tension- my struggles. Sure I have lots of things on my plate at any given time; a busy household, family and job. But my life- even with pencil drawings on the walls and day-to-day things piling up in every corner, is still full of goodness and 'ease' and blessings. I have a warm bed and all the food and clothing I need. I have more than enough to be life is really very 'easy' in contrast to many people in this world. It makes me pause and it supposed to be this way, or is there something more I need to do?
That's on my mind these days...and I hope that I am willing and able to accept the tasks that are set before me. With grace, humility and gratitude. This new month and the coming Christmas season are really the perfect backdrop for me to focus, and to re-prioritize, or to even take on new tasks- for the sake of growing in my relationship with God. I don't know where He plans to lead- or even how easy or difficult the road may be- but I know it is a blessing to be on it with Him. Every moment of everyday.


mimisherry said...

Oh my gosh I just left you the longest comment and now it has vanished! I will try to recapture everything I said...I often wonder if I have said something not so good and God wants me to restate things when this happens! hmmm
I was writing you to tell you that I often have the very same thoughts you have about the whole life purpose thing. I feel like I need some big banner flying in the sky that tells me what exactly I should be doing and how and when and where....instead I keep on plugging along each day. Doing my best to be my best, to make a difference in this world. Certain that God has created me with a purpose, yet constantly pondering it all... Here is what I have discovered...and I know I am older than you so maybe I have a tad more insight...however I have never suffered what you have, endured what you have.....anyway....I have found that what we are doing in our every single day is EXACTLY what GOD wants me to be doing. It is the daily mundane things even. For the longest time I thought I was not doing my job cos I was living a pretty mundane, normal kind of life. Then I had an AH HA moment and have come to believe that what I do every day, the love I put into it (into the family and friends I am blessed with) THAT is living out my purpose. Not to say that there are not going to be big things I will have to do, be....I have lofty goals and dreams. Yet I have found great peace and freedom in this realization.....I AM DOING IT! YOU, Jodi are doing it! Every single day that you take good care of those babies of yours, that you are a great wife, a good neighbor, friend, blogger... Showing the love of God, being such as willing vessel....God has great plans for you Jodi...I have been blessed by your passion and love for life and for the Lord every time I have come to read your wonderful blog! You are an incredible mommy...doing a magnificient Job! Blessings! Sherry

Cara said...

i will have to come back and re-read your longer thought part of the post . . . but i have to comment on the pics! this is hysterical! and i love that bella blamed her baby sister for telling her she could do it! hysterical. this reminds me of an old kelli crowe post when max wrote his name HUGE in the bathroom and said he did it b/c he needed a place in the big family that was just all his! kids are hysterical!
(maybe paint that area with chalk board paint, put a cute boarder around it, and let it be a free zone for coloring on the walls.)

Rosheeda said...

There are just so many ways I could comment on this, but the one thing that rings out for me, is the tug in your Spirit to know God deeply. To that,I say: GO FOR IT. Ask Him to share His secrets with you - to reveal to you the things that elude you. The answer may not come in a way you expect, but it will come in the way that gives you what you need and then some...

Enjoy your journey...

Tomie said...

Thank you for the reminder that God's plan doesnt always take us to "easy street". Being a mom of (almost) 6 I too get lost in the everyday tasks that I know is what God wants but my flesh tells me arent grand. Everyone wants to "change the world" but as moms and wives we have the biggest handle on the changing the world business. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

The simplistic answer for "what is my purpose in life" is--to glorify and worship God. But in the scheme of things...another question looms and says "how do I do that??" Mmmmmmmm!!!

Love your posts btw. You have many of the same questions I do (is it a human thing, a woman thing??? What???!!!!)

Then I look at a magazine cover of Today's Christian Woman which I received this week and in it there is an article (yet to be read) called "Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People" (the opposite of the usual question of "why do bad things happen to good people?) Some more to ponder and reflect upon.

I don't think we were put in this life though to accumulate "things", to acquire (be it a husband, kids, house, education, 'stuff' and the list could go on and on). You just need to go to a 3rd world country to see how people are just "maybe" managing to eke out a life. We in this country really take way too much for granted and probably don't have a clue.

True joy is a choice, an attitude that comes from within and it's not a result of, necessarily, our environment.

Rhonda said...

On the other hand I had a crappy horrible life until I got older so it all seems so happy and cheerful now :) Even when something bad happens I seem to get over it sooo quick :) I am not sure what I would have had a good early life or good now. If I had a good early life I would definately be a totally different person and I see so many people with so much and they are unhappy becuase they think they just dont have enough. Any way, I am glad to be me!

Sorry you cant make it today.

Adrienne said...

Truth, friend, thanks for continuing to share the truth as the Spirit leads you. I said the day Noah died, I died as well, and am grateful that I did so that I could learn how to truly live. Believe, I'm not a good martyr, but I embrace the suffering because I am grateful and know that it draws me closer to God. In the past I had tried to do it on my own, find comfort or 'meaning in it' myself. Yes, it draws me closer, no, I may never know 'why?', but all I know is daily, as I fall more in love with Him, walking as Christ did, in suffering, allows me glimpses into a world that is my home. My eternal home. His perspective. I pray that your holidays are blessed with lots of hugs and tons of new memories to be made and wonderful memories of days with Teagan to be treasured. Love always, Ade xoxox

pink said...

You are so, so very right! We do end up thinking it will be a breeze.........but often God speaks through the winds that whip through our lives.

Love your blog!!

Tricia said...

Wow, such a deep post - my comments will feel a bit shallow in comparison. But that won't stop me from making them. :^)

First, with the drawings, I think it's a compliment that they wanted to have a place to be creative and expressive right where you do your creative work. They want to be like mama!

Second, this line: I have a warm bed and all the food and clothing I need. I have more than enough to be life is really very 'easy' in contrast to many people in this world. Are you familiar with the song "Lucky" by Halie Loren? You can see the lyrics here:
or where I blogged about it:

Of course "blessed" would be more theologically correct than "lucky", but the underlying sentiment is something that will probably resonate with you.

JO said...

I love the SCRIBBLES / DRAWING under your desk !!!