Two things about our culture that make me sad…and mad.
Maybe it’s the weather.
A bleary, dreary, rainy, cold, gray January. I have been melancholy and some things have been stirring in my soul. I don’t have anything figured out, but two things are bothering me this week.
One: I am not getting outside much.
I was reminded of Romans 1:20 this week: For His invisible, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
God’s power and divine nature are evident in His creation. Yet as I examine my life…
I stay indoors at my job.
I look down as I walk from parking lot to office so as not to trip on the curb.
I look at the road as I commute to-and-from so as not to have an accident…
and then I go indoors again when I get home.
I don’t look up. I don’t stop. I don’t even think about His creation for insanely long stretches of time.
I wonder if Satan is smiling smugly as we in America have driven ourselves into a frenzied, busy, driven culture that has no time to contemplate or process anything….or see God’s eternal power and divine nature in all that has been made.
It makes me mad. It makes me sad.
I want to go outside.
Two: I am not parenting emotions enough.
Last week my Sunday School class revolved around material from Emotionally Spiritually Healthy by Peter Scazzero. Basically, the author ponders the role of emotions in our lives. We can’t run our life by our emotions (I went to work this week even on mornings I didn’t feel like it), but we can’t ignore our emotions either. In fact, we need to honor them. We are emotional beings created by God. Our focus last Sunday was on emotions being huge triggers to what is going on inside of us. For example, why am I sad? Instead of forging ahead and ignoring that sadness, or grabbing things to make me happy, I can investigate what is going on in my heart with the Lord. I can dare to look in my heart and find some sin festering there, or be honest about a relationship that is not healthy, or realize my job is not feeding my soul.
I almost panicked as a parent who has raised two adults in this busy culture already, but am still raising a little guy (round two of parenting). Being emotionally healthy requires time to ponder and contemplate. Yet how can I raise a child to pay attention to what is going on inside of himself if we are always rushing on to the next thing? Like me, my little guy is mostly indoors and mostly scheduled. Our culture drives us there unless we deliberately steer elsewhere.
I have a sneakin’ suspicion that emotions are being ignored in many of us. They are building up. They leak out in every sentence in the form of our tones. They blow at all the wrong times. And when they blow, we sometimes don’t even know why. I wonder if the angry driver at the red light who screams and yells at a person caught texting when the light turns–who honks and gestures with a finger–I wonder if he even knows that his anger is probably not about the texting driver who didn’t move when the light turned green. I suspect that because the display of emotion exceeds the situation. It’s an overreaction. I wonder how long it’s been since he has contemplated his emotions. What has he done with the hurt from his dad as a child, or the stress of his job, or the state of his marriage? It’s all sat in his gut, and he may not even know.
I wonder if Satan is smiling smugly as we in America have driven ourselves into a frenzied, busy, driven culture that has no time to contemplate or process anything…or spend any time just enjoying our children and teaching them to pay close attention to the condition of their hearts so they can be emotionally healthy.
It makes me sad. It makes me mad.
I want to go pick up my son from school and enjoy him tonight.
Satan is called the prince of this world three times in John (12:31, 14:30, 16:11). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” (Matthew 4:8) and Satan said, “All these I will give to you, if you will fall down and worship me,” (Matthew 4:9), Christ’s response began with, “Be gone, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10). I am so thankful Jesus didn’t trade in His eternal kingdom for this temporary one. It’s why Christians have eternal hope. We have options. We can live God’s way.
I noticed at the beginning of this new year that many people were adopting words like, simplify, embrace, #banbusy. I think we should listen to such longings in our hearts.
I think the God who created all things is trying to tell us something.
There are four deer in this picture.
See them now? I love how God made deer the color of tree bark.
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