When I wonder I awaken wonder...

Soul stirrings this morning:

1. What is that thing inside me that desires greatness?  I can deny it or disown it, but it still pesters me on the inside.  (Is it something that God grants or gives like he promised to Abram in Gen. 12?)  Is it my flesh?  Is it my spirit?  Is it a part of the call or fall of humanity?  Sometime I just block it by pursuing humility, but is this a copout?  Are greatness and humility enemies?  What is this instinct?

2. Why do I default so easily to "many, much, more, most" in all aspects of life.  "How many...How much...What more...Am I making the most?"  What in me bends to ask these questions to rate my effectiveness and equate my value?  Even as I have this time away from the pressure of producing, I am hounded by whether my life is moving toward or away from these words and what they signify and signal.  These words seem to be the dashboard lights of whether I am a success or failure, whether my future is secure or susceptible.  Hmmm?

3. How is drivenness redemptive and when is it ridiculous?  What would ambition have looked like in the Garden of Eden?  What is the difference between working hard and workaholism?  It is good to 'want'...this is hardwired into us...but when does it become wanton?

4. What is the difference between self-control and being controlling.  I want to be able to exercise dominion over my thoughts, attitudes, and actions...but I don't want to be obsessive about it...I see the self-destruction of that kind of self-control.  It's so odd, I'm so easy on myself and hard on myself all at the same time.  I am unaffected and unyielding as it relates to slacking off...why the disparity?  There's something here...I just can't put my finger on it quite yet.

5. Where have I lost the essence of the Gospel?  For many years I thought it was as simple as Christ...dead, buried, risen, and coming again.  Where have I made it too reductionary...where have I made it too expansive?  Where have made it too exclusive, where have I made it too inclusive?  How will I know if I've lost the gospel and begun to follow a "different gospel" as Paul described it in Galatians 1.  What's the difference between believing in Jesus and following Jesus...I think this is at the heart of the difference between 'gospels' out there.

6.  Are my children learning and living a devout discipleship or have they simply been raised in a safe home and church that hasn't equipped them for the real world?  I don't even know if I'm devout, so I'm not blaming my children...I'm asking myself the tough questions about my own sense of devotion.  I feel in American Christianity faith is more about emotion than devotion.  More about feeling good than being good.  More about having faith than being faithful.  I'm nervous that it won't stand in the heat of battle someday and, worse yet, it won't hold water when they stand before Him who has eyes of fire.  Is this a chimera I'm passing down to them...my American habitat makes it hard for me to even know what I don't know about the legitimacy of my faith.  Jesus said, "Those that think they see are blind, and those who think they can't see are the ones who do."  Sobering.

7. Is the church a family?  I have been thinking about how the Bible calls it "the family of God" and the "household of faith" and it makes me wonder: Do we function as family?  What are the dynamics of a family that need to always stay front and center in the church culture?  How would the church function differently if it was trying to be a family rather than trying to be a flock?  How would being a family change the vision, strategy, and execution of "being the church"?  I want to be a family, but how do you facilitate that within a culture that is so insular, isolated, and independent?

8. How am I reading the Bible wrong?  Where am I missing meaning, worse yet, making mistakes with it's interpretation?  Why did God arrange the Bible in such a cryptic fashion meshing history, poetry, prophecy, genealogy, geography, and story shared with unique personalities as the mode of transfering truth, his heartbeat?  So much need for interpretation which opens up the the possibilty and probability of misinterpretation leading to heresy...he must have known this was the risk of choosing this mode of communication.  So why did he choose to construct it this way and where am I reading it wrong and, thus, teaching it wrong?  I truly am concerned about this.

9. What is freedom?  When you struggle with anxiety, what is the definition of diliverance?  Complete calm or surpassing peace?  Calm seems to be the absense of anxiety, peace seems to be the presence of God in the midst of choas. (thus, surpassing.)  Ease is not peace in my mind, and freedom is not deliverance in every case.  I have found that certain conditions still exist in the physical realm all the while I'm embracing victory in the spiritual realm.  "Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwarding we are renewed day by day." 2 Cor. 4:16-18 kind of stuff.  How did the early church have peace in persecution, faith in fear, life in death, and joy in suffering?  How can I live the fruits of the Spirit when I'm in the middle of the mess down here on this plagued and perverted planet?  I want to know what true 'freedom' looks and feels like...and if I have it and this is what it looks and feels like, I want to embrace it and be thankful in it instead of always wanting, waiting for, and wondering about (something more).  I think the enemy uses this to vex and perplex me, stealing precious time from my life.

10. What does God long for me to do and be in this next season of life that I have never done or been before?  Not being somewhere different, but being someone different in the same location.  Same place, new person. Where does he want me to "forget what was behind" and "strain for what is before" so I'm "pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling" just like Paul did?  What success do I need to respectfully leave behind, what failure do I need to intentionally forget?  What modes of operation need to change and grow so that I can move into the 'high calling' of what God is inviting me into?  What mentalities do I have that stunt and stifle me that need to go?  What disciplines do I need to initiate to take my mind, body, and soul to a higher place of consciousness and conduct?  How has slacktivism replaced activism...where am I living a dumbed-down version of myself and life?  Where am I not challenging myself to chase new things...new dreams?  Where has the gaurantee of what I have kept me from the goals of what I don't yet?  Where do I need to "strain" like Paul did for the things that really matter for eternity?  How can I not settle and still be content, not be okay with mediocre and still be thankful, not coast but still rest?  God, help me to "redeem the time" you've given me.

Just some jumbled ramblings of my searching and lurching soul this morning.  I love that I get to wonder and in so doing somehow awaken wonder.


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