Sunday, November 23, 2008

Salads, Sunsets, and Soliloquies

Tonight I ate at One World with my parents. This was after the baptismal "supper" that I enjoyed just 2 hours before. Don't worry, there's always room for more. I enjoyed the Bistro salad with chicken (highly recommended, if you ever eat there). I also had a slice of pizza. But then I was still hungry, and we had "$5 off" coupons. So I took home a piece of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Pie. The guy behind the counter said that he almost never finishes that particular dessert; it's far too rich. Well, I really don't know what he was talking about because I had polished the entire thing off before we pulled into our driveway in Morton.

So now I'm sitting here, slightly sick to my stomach and thirsty. And ready to write.

We put up our Christmas tree on Saturday. We usually reserve the Friday after Thanksgiving for this special task, but we got a head-start this year. We have a family room addition with windows on the back of our house. Our tree is very tall, and it sits by the windows, so it seems to sparkle quite brightly. From the 4-way stop in Morton, you can see our tree all lit up from your car, so that's special. Anyway, tonight I was helping my mom assign sparkly ornaments to the branches when I looked outside. There was an incredible, multi-layered, brilliantly colored sunset going on, so I ran downstairs, grabbed my camera, and then outside in my socks. I started snapping away only to see "No CF Card" flashing right back at me. Love that feeling. After scrounging up a memory card, I ran back outside and into the alley that runs behind our house to capture the sky... it only lasted for about 10 minutes, but it was glorious.

This weekend was a wonderful reminder of God's great love. I heard 5 genuine, heart-felt testimonies on Saturday evening. They were all uniquely different stories of how God has worked. One story in particular was deeply moving and emotional. The words used had such a powerful impact that most of the crowd was moved to tears, including myself. This occurred by nothing other than the work of the Holy Spirit in a girl who was willing to be completely open, honest, and genuine. It was beautiful.

Next, I digress into "Sunday's Soliloquy's." I'm kidding, I'll stop with the "day" names (even though that was actually a fantastic title to my next thoughts.)

I'll first explain that I love quotes. I browse them often. The words of others can so often explain my thoughts and beliefs more easily than my own. I like to constantly expand the horizons of my vocabulary, but sometimes the mind of another can concoct a saying more witty, wise, or clever. I think that words can be very powerful. I also think that a picture can be worth a thousand words. Meaning a picture, in my mind, often holds more power than words, but words can also paint a picture.

Here is the quote of discussion tonight:
"We already have so much abundance. We truly do. We need not search too far. It is within. The reason we fail to recognize this is because we haven't quite mastered the art of being. For abundance to prevail, we must have LOVE, gratitude, acceptance and compassion."
-John Welwood

An appropriate thought to dwell on with Thanksgiving nearly upon us. This is a truth that I have come to know more fully over the past couple of years. As I search for "true joy" in this world, I always come back to one thing: Christ. THAT is the source, and nothing else.

What is the art of "being?" It is just that- to "be." To some, this comes easily. We just naturally "are." But to others, the search for "significance" often leads us to idols and insecurities that suddenly put up a barrier to how naturally we can "be" who we are. This is when we lose sight of the "One" who makes us who we are, and the ending characteristics of that quote including "love, gratitude, acceptance, and compassion" seem to evaporate alongside.

When we find our identity in Christ and seek to glorify Him, it is about Him. Joy results. Abundance is evident. But when we seek to find ourselves in society or in others, it is about us. Emptiness results. Worldly abundance may or may not increase, but joy always declines. Which is true abundance?

Whenever I suffer a loss, I always think of Job. I think: If I lost everything that I had- my friends, my family, my house, my material possessions, and my health, all would seem to be gone. But I would still have more than the rich and famous Hollywood Star who does not know Jesus. Regardless of my circumstances, I would still have the gift of salvation, and with that, an abundance of joy. Good news! This means that wherever we are at in life, we can all find joy and contentment in our lives.

Love, gratitude, acceptance, and compassion-- all wonderful qualities. I could do an in-depth analysis, but instead I will just say this: to obtain, we must strive to be Christ-like. When our ultimate goal becomes to glorify Christ, then we think Jesus, Others, Yourself.

Love you all!


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