Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Present Perfect Chapter 3

August 22, 2017

This chapter, Finding Home, is one of my favorites. In it Boyd discusses so beautifully what we all know, but still struggle with – the things we do to try to fill that longing we have, that insatiable hunger within us for significance and worth.

Boyd unpacks some common ways humanity tries to deal with this dilemma. He discusses the false gods of materialism, control, fame, religion, tribalism, and so on.  “Whatever we try to derive our core sense of worth and meaning from is our god.”

This is powerful. Take a moment and think about what gives you meaning and worth, and don’t be over-spiritual about it. For me, I’ve struggled horribly over my life to be thin. My value came from not being overweight. Maybe some time I’ll unpack this and its horrible effect on my life for so many years, but let me tell you that practicing the presence of God and becoming aware of His incredible love for me has begun to dissolve that shackle. It’s almost completely gone! All that matters is that I’m home in Him. I’m created by Him, I’m loved by Him, I’m rescued and healed by Him. I adore Him. That’s why I want you to take the time to think this through. What are you doing to try to feel valued and important and significant? What are you doing to try to fill the void and feel like you’re really alive?

What Boyd points out is the futility of chasing after anything other than God. “…our deepest hunger is only satisfied when we’re rightly related to God. Only our Creator can give us the fullness of Life we crave. Jesus’ death on the cross is proof that we could not possibly have more worth and significance to God. Despite our sin, our Creator thinks we are worth experiencing a hellish death for. In fact, it was for the joy of spending eternity with us that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). In other words, Calvary reveals our unsurpassable worth and significance. At the core of our being, this is what we long for.”

Wow. I had to stop and reread that and let it sink in. “Calvary reveals our unsurpassable worth and significance.”

Boyd then points out the difference between our beliefs and our reality. We can think we are living for Jesus and still be bowing to false gods. How can that be? This is his response:

“I’ve observed that we in the West – especially Christians – tend to attach great importance to what we believe. We treat beliefs almost as though they have magical power, as though merely believing something makes it so. For instance, many assume that believing Jesus is Lord of their life magically makes him Lord . . . The truth is, merely believing Jesus is Lord no more makes him Lord of my life than believing Kim Jong-il is the leader of North Korea makes me his follower.”

Wow again.

Just believing something doesn’t make it so. “. . . the belief is not itself the surrender.”

“The important question, therefore, is not what you believe. The important question is what you decide to do, moment-by-moment, on the basis of what you believe.” (emphasis mine)

Are we going to continue to ignore God’s wooing and keep trying to fill our “hole-in-the-soul” pretending we’re self-sufficient? The only outcomes to doing it our way are alienation, anger, anxiety, apathy, boredom, and depression, not to mention exhaustion! Trying to live as though real life “can be found outside a relationship with God” we continue in the “grand illusion” – life lived in the flesh, not the spirit. “Living as though God was not our only true source of Life forces us to live most of our life in the past or future,” not in the present moment, and all we have is the now, remember?

Boyd asks us to investigate our own soul. To examine how much time we spend thinking past and future thoughts. Where does our mind go when we aren’t focused on a specific task?

“Only a person who is no longer driven by an insatiable hunger can consistently live in the present moment, and only a person who has learned how to find Life in the present moment is no longer driven by this insatiable hunger.”

Home is our relationship with God, and our homing device is broken.

The life we search for is a poor substitute for the real Life God has for us. To give up the pursuit of the faux life is painful, for sure.  “As scary and as difficult as dying to the false way of living may initially be, nothing could be more liberating.” That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it,” and that’s why Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

“As we are freed from the grand illusion that we can meet our own needs, our built-in homing device begins to work correctly. We’re on our way home . . . The moment we surrender, we are home.”

“Yet, while the belief that the love of God is our home can be embraced at one moment and then forgotten about, the actual decision to release the illusion and embrace the truth cannot. As with everything else that pertains to our actual life, this act can only be done one moment at a time.”

Boyd concludes this section with these words: “The only thing that matters is that we – right now – cease our striving after false gods and become aware of God’s ever-present, perfect love.”

Boyd then gives a few exercises to help us continue in this process of practicing God’s presence. The one I’ll share with you is physical – an awareness of our body and it’s contact with our surroundings – a chair, a sofa, our bed. “Allow yourself to rest in that support and realize that every point of contact reflects the truth that you are held in existence each and every moment by the perfect love of God (Hebrews 1:3). God is personally holding you securely in the world…Throughout your day, turn your attention over and over again to these physical points of contact and transform those physical sensations into a deeper awareness of the great love of God.”

I’ll close this post with the prayer Boyd offers:

“Our ever-present Creator, you alone can satisfy the hunger in our hearts, for you made us for yourself. Help us to relinquish all idols and to find our fulfillment solely in you in this moment and in every moment.”

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 White Plates

April 22, 2016

I will have been married 34 years this June 1st. For special and marginally special occasions, I use the same white dishes that I registered for when I was a wee 20 years old. My mother suggested I choose a white pattern; I wasn’t sure I wanted white. My older sister had registered for some really pretty square dishes with seafoam green and mauve and some other fashionable color that escapes me now. My mother and she had disagreed about the wisdom of getting dishes that would be out of style in a few years. My sister won but my mother was right. (Those are some hideous dishes.)

This relating pattern was typical. My older sister pressing for what she wanted. Me rarely ever pushing back. I don’t know if it was because I learned from watching my older brothers and sister in their battles, or if I had no self confidence from my older siblings pushing me around. When it came to wedding dishes, I knew that maybe someday something would be worth the fight, but I didn’t think what I put on the dinner table was. So I allowed my mother’s wisdom to prevail. If she said I’d be glad one day, that these would never go out of style and that I’d always enjoy them, then I believed her.

I registered for 8 place settings because that’s what she said I should do. I don’t think I took my fiancé with me to make all the house stocking decisions, but rather, my mother. She’d raised 5 kids, worked multiple jobs, entertained and knew more than a thing or two about dishes and about life.

After I was married, my mother would scout the sales. I remember her telling me that my china pattern was going to be discontinued and she was concerned I didn’t have enough. 8 seemed like more than plenty, so when she rustled up 6 more dinner plates, I was amused. “Mom, when will I ever need that  many plates?!”  She told me she knew that I couldn’t imagine ever needing that many, but indeed one day I would. I don’t know how she knew, but she knew.

My husband was in grad school for 5 years and the dishes were stuffed in our small apartment. When he took a job in Omaha, NE, we packed up our few belongings and our 14 white Noritake Swan Lake dinner plates and the 8 place settings and headed northwest.

I have used those dishes for nearly 34 years and as she predicted, have never gotten tired of them. They go with everything. Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Crate and Barrel sell white dishes galore and none of them are as pretty as mine. Not too masculine, not too feminine, but just right.

I threw a baby shower for a friend today and pulled out the white dishes. They looked lovely stacked on the blue table cloth surrounded by white serving pieces of a variety of designs. Guess how many guests we had? 14.

FullSizeRender

Mom, you were right. You were always right.

Thank you.

I love you.

I miss you.

In awe,

Your grateful and impressed daughter,

Kris

home

October 27, 2011

I absolutely love the Switchfoot song This Is Home and could listen to it over and over. (Sometimes I do!) It touches something deep inside my heart. I mean, just the word ‘home’ unearths memories and feelings. It’s fraught with an immense gamut of emotions. It’s my guess that we all long to experience ‘home’ in the best sense of the word.

I think that’s why, especially over the holidays, we can get so emotionally conflicted. We find ourselves grieving at a time when everyone (it seems) is celebrating. We long for home while at the same time knowing ours wasn’t really a place of love or safety, or perhaps it was but we’ve moved across country or our parents are divorced or no longer living. We long for home to be static, to be permanent, yet it is neither of those.

Our hearts long for home regardless of our age or gender. Not necessarily our home, but a home to go home to, to be welcomed in with open arms and hugs and aromas of favorite foods made especially for us. We ache for a home that isn’t filled with anger and resentment, that isn’t pocked by emotional scars left by prior fights and arguments. If we do manage to go home, we tiptoe around to avoid setting off any land mines that might ruin another visit.

If that isn’t our experience, perhaps we wish our family was home long enough all at the same time to actually be together. We long for parents who aren’t so busy in their own worlds that they notice us, make time for us and value us. Maybe we yearn for what used to be but is no longer.

Inevitably, eventually our earthly home will be invaded by loss of some kind. Whether by growing up and moving out, job changes, aging parents, health issues, death or divorce, families change. Home changes. Nothing stays the same. If we could freeze a frame from our life to go home to it’d probably be a favorite Christmas or birthday or family meal of some kind that made us feel special.

my childhood home

Home is supposed to be a place where we are safe, accepted as we are, loved, cherished, nurtured, enveloped and valued. It’s supposed to be a place where our needs are met, our presence is enjoyed and our dreams are fueled and fulfilled. It’s supposed to be a haven, a refuge, a place of rest and refreshment and recuperation. In Isaiah 32:18 God says, “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Doesn’t that sound incredible?! I think this is God’s ideal for our homes: to be places that are safe, secure, peaceful and restful. Ahhhhhhh. Home.

I don’t need to point out the discrepancies between the ideal and reality. And, despite all our best efforts to hold those longings at bay, to tell ourselves to be logical and analytical, we still find our hearts wistful.

We’re on the brink of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years. We’ll be making or feeling the pressure to make trips back to the homes in which we were raised or to attend meals with family. These activities have the potential to be catalysts for reopening old wounds or creating new ones. This time of year inevitably focuses our attention on what we feel should have been yet isn’t and perhaps will never be. It yanks our hearts back to aching for Real Home.

The other day I came across these verses in the Bible. Psalm 90 verses 1-2. Moses was talking to God. “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.”

The very next psalm begins this way: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Ps. 90:1-2.) Here’s a verse to hang onto as well, Malachi 3:6 says, “For I the Lord do not change.”

I have said before that the only thing in my life that never changes is the fact that nothing ever stays the same! But there is one other reality. God never changes. He is the same yesterday as He is today and as He will be tomorrow and forever. There is a home that is perfect and will never change!  That encourages me! God is my safe place. As I put my trust in Him, as I believe that He is my Ultimate Home, I will experience home even though my home of origin is no longer in existence. My parents and oldest brother have died. The home pictured above is inhabited by another family. I have memories but that’s all that remains of my childhood home. I know you can relate in some way yourself.

I have a little framed print that says, “Home is where your story begins.” I love that saying and I look at it pretty much every day. I love it because I think of my precious children, now adults.

Our home is where they found their beginning. It wasn’t a perfect one, although we tried and gave it our absolute best. But the beautiful reality is that word ‘begins’. Their stories began in our home, but they aren’t set in stone. The same is true for me. I had a good home, yet I suffer the effects of life begun in an imperfect one. But my story isn’t over either! It is still being written! And the best part of the story is that my home of origin is not my final home. God is my safe place, my Home. I am safe in Him. In Him I am secure, loved, cherished and nurtured.

Ultimately, heaven will be my final destination and it will be Home like God intended from the very beginning.

In the words of Switchfoot:

“Created for a place I’ve never known, this is home . . . I’ve got my heart set on what happens next . . . it’s not over yet  . . . Oh, this is home, now I’m finally where I belong, where I belong, yah this is home, I’ve been searching for a place of my own, now I know this is home. . .”