Monday, May 17, 2010

Look Up!

Does it bother you when your kids, friends or coworkers, or employees say: “Is this enough?” “Can I quit now?” Or “I’ve already done that.. once.” Matthew Kelly in ‘The Rhythm of Life’ calls these “minimalist,” “just getting by,” questions.

Have you heard yourself say: I fed my kids breakfast this morning, I kissed my husband when I got up, I exercised yesterday, we talked yesterday, I visited with my friend last week, I practiced … last week. Everything we do requires constant recommitment, constant “redoing,” constant work if we are going to be “our best self:” if we are going to be the “best mom, have the best marriage, the strongest relationships, or be the healthiest.”

Because we are human, we also tend to ask God questions which suit our human wants and desires, so that we can “just get to heaven.” We want an easy answer to “will I be saved?” We hope that saying a prayer when we think of it, answering an altar call, going to church when we have time, or saying we believe in God is “enough.”

Are we asking the “wrong questions” so we get the answers we want to hear? Or are we asking the “right questions” so we get the “right answers, God’s answers?” Do I say, “What can I do?” or do I say, “What does God want me to do?”

We ask and expect God to answer our every prayer, to perform miracles with our “minimalist” attitudes. We tend to say “God, what can you do to help me, or to fix the problem?” or “God, what is my purpose in life?” or “Why?” “….God, why did you let this happen?”

Unfortunately, when we ask these questions we are asking and expecting someone else, or God, to do our work for us, so that we can “just get by” on our faith journey.

What we should really be asking is “God, How can I serve you?” or “God, what is your purpose for MY life?” “What/who do you want me to “be?” or “What can I do for you?” “What, God?” (These are the same questions that both spouses should ask in marriage so that we can better serve and take care of each other.)

When Jesus ascended to heaven Acts 1:1-11, his disciples were left looking up to heaven. “I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” …

“When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Even the disciples, knew they needed to LOOK UP. They knew Jesus had offered them the “right answers.” And yet they too, had to be reminded by the angels, to “get to work.” That, “looking up,” was the answer, not the solution. They needed to let the Holy Spirit guide them, they needed to continue working, to continue Jesus’ mission. They needed to recommit, to remain constant, to continue to tell the stories and remind the people of the miracles God performed.

How many times have you asked a question and gotten an answer that was completely unexpected? Was it because you asked the wrong question? Or was it because you didn’t like the answer (the truth) that you were told?

Being our “best self” has to do with asking the right questions of ourselves: What is God’s purpose for my life? How does God want me to live my marriage? Treat my family? Serve my husband, my friends, my community, my world? What is the individual gift I have been given to complete God’s picture here on earth?

Our purpose is to LOOK UP, to reach for heaven. His answer to us is for us to be our best self: To use our talents to serve (and love) as Christ did, every day, selflessly, with no limits, no boundaries. Like the sky is endless, “looking up” gives us infinite possibility; like the stars are countless, our dream to “be our best self” should have no boundaries.

Dear God, Praise be Your answers, Your truth. Help me to ask the right questions and to be open to answering your call. To hear, not what I want to hear, but to listen to what you are telling me and teaching me. Thank you for reminding me that Your purpose is for me to LOOK UP. Thank you for giving me Sunday to rest and to refresh my soul. Amen.

So am I asking the “right” questions? Or are my questions asked so that I hear the answers I want to hear? Am I truly “looking up” for Heaven, or am I searching for the happiness and success our culture has to offer? Am I looking for inspiration or confirmation that I have done enough, so that I can “just get by.”

Blessings, Charlotte

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