29 November 2011

Somewhere to be real

"When the world can turn around and see a group of God’s people exhibiting substantial healing in the area of human relationships in their present life, then the world will take notice. ~ Francis Schaffer

Why is it that church people find it so very hard to be real with each other?

I hear of people wandering through their church experiences deeply wounded, longing for real connection, fearing judgment, unable to let down fences and guards and walls. I hear of churches deserting people in real need, dropping people who end up being sinful. I hear about pastors and parishioners without grace, without mercy, without humility.

So often Christians insist on being surprised, disappointed, afraid, angry when we find out people have failed. We accept the pretense that a Christian should have it all together. We act as though we are above sin, beyond sin, over sin.

If there is ONE PLACE where we ought to be able to be as broken as we actually are in real life, it is the church.

If there is ONE PLACE where we ought not fear if other see us fully, cracked and shattered, it is the church.

If there is ONE PLACE where we ought share our desperate need to be filled with something (actually SomeOne), who will not ooze out of us but will remain, abide, heal... it is the church.

If there is ONE PLACE where we ought practice confession and repentence, it is the church.

If there is ONE PLACE where we ought preach and teach and LIVE forgiveness and love, love, love, it is the church.

So why is it that it is so hard to be real in this one place?

07 November 2011

The D-word

I am a distracted person. Flylady would call me Sidetracked. But what I think of as "the D-word" makes more sense to me. "Unable to concentrate because one's mind is pre-occupied." Yup. That's me.

Over the past 6 3/4 years of motherhood, I've found that distractions are a little like a drug to me. I am embarrassed to admit that I have a hard time being "present" to my children minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. I know some women who are just really wonderful at tuning in to their children's wants, needs, dreams, etc. And I'm, frustratingly, not one of them. Give me the opportunity to be distracted and I'm there!

Honestly, I like to think about grown-up things. Big ideas and deep conversations get me very excited. And while I know that one day my children will be able to engage in those conversations with me...well...that's a long way off.

I've been simultaneously glad for, and loathing of, the outlet the internet has provided for me. I find it hard to be a homeschooling mother of people who mainly want to talk about the toys they want to buy with the mythical money they'll never earn doing chores they refuse to contemplate. I've loved the internet -- reading the bloggy thoughts of women and men far wiser than I -- the opportunity to create some sort of alternative community -- it's all made this very isolating job of stay-at-home-schooling-mother a little easier for this extrovert.

But I've also noticed over the past few years "the D-word". I'm just distracted. I found myself crafting facebook status updates while washing dishes. Or wondering about a controversial blog post while reading a book to a child. Or completely ignoring the mountain of laundry on which we live while I spent time reading about the role of women in the New Testament on various internet sites (yeah, nerd-dom never leaves this girl). I just was not here and available to this family emotionally like I should be. Like I want to be. Like I really believe God wants me to be and has called me to be. Distracted.

To combat this, just a little, I got rid of my smartphone a month or so ago. Doing so, means that I don't have access to the internet until Dennis brings his smartphone (which has our wiresless hotspot on it) home from work. I have found it to be a big adjustment. For the first week or so, I felt like I had an itch I could not scratch. But after that, I've found a lot of peace in the disconnection. And once I got used to not having immediate access to information, I think my brain became a little less stream-of-consciousness and that I'm a little more linear. More focused, maybe. (A teeny bit, at least.)

I guess what I've experienced is another D-word that I've always dreaded. "Discipline". I know other people learn this as young children. I'm learning it now. And, you know... it's not ALL bad.