Sunday, May 9, 2010

3 Questions that Set Me Straight

This time last year, I was mad about everything.  I was jealous of other mothers and their resplendent brunches, their new jewelry, and their country club life.  Why couldn't I just have more money?

I was jealous that Rob Reiner was filming a movie, "Flipped," in my old backyard (the one I left to move here).  I should have been there, serving coffee to Hollywood celebrities and awaiting my invitation to star in the movie.

I was jealous of other women (friends from college) who had political and academic power.  That was supposed to be me there on Capitol Hill or at that podium.  It was weird how jealous I was.  It was the kind of jealous that ate my insides and made me stomp my feet in the kitchen as I told my husband how wrong everything was.  I was supposed to be a different person by now.  Why was I here, in this town, with this life?

The rhetoric of my life was "if only." 

So exactly one year ago today, I sat in church, jealous and ridiculous.  I had just finished writing something about how if you ask yourself a good question, the right question, you could get yourself out of any bad mood.  I knew I need to ask spiritual questions.  That seemed right (after all, I was in church).  So I wrote:

1.  Is knowing God better than anything? (as J.I. Packer asks: "For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?")

2.  Will I live the life God asks me to? (Here, in this town, with no retail, no glitz?)

3.  Will I pursue wealth or godliness? (Seriously?  I need a whole new summer wardrobe with sparkly flip flops.)

These questions mattered so much to me because in a split second, like lightening forking through the roof and straight into my heart, they reoriented me.  They set me straight.  They reminded me that my happiness comes from surrender to the spiritual truth that governs my life.  

The first recorded question that Jesus asks in the Gospel of John is, "What do you want?"  I love this question.  I love the disciples' answer even more.  They essentially ask him where he is staying.  They want to be where Jesus is.  They would leave everything to be in his presence.  So Jesus says (strangely), "Come and see."

When God says, "What do you want," the answer from my heart is: "To be in your presence."

God, always the pursuer, always setting up a way to delight us, just says, "Come and see."

That morning, a year ago today, I imagined God asking my jealous heart: "What do you want?"  And I wrote in my journal: To be in your presence.  But is it really enough?  It is really worth it to pursue spiritual instead of material wealth?

And God said: "Come and see."

It's been a year.  What a year of enjoying the life God has given me.  Nothing more, nothing less.  When I open my eyes to see the wonder and mystery of God, the jealousy dissolves.  Living with flair today means I continue to "come and see" what God wants to prove to me about the sufficiency of Himself.


Elizabeth White said...

What a great piece. Exactly square on...

Amy Smucker said...

Wonderful. I want this to be my life-long flair, "to see the wonder and mystery of God."

Marcia said...

I love this piece, Heather! Would you consider writing for The Well?, a website for women following Christ in the academy and professions. would love to hear from you there.