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Sunday, August 9, 2009

julie & julia

I just saw the movie Julia and Julie and have been inspired to blog. 

Now...what to blog about? The film was sort of inspirational. It took something seemingly mundane--cooking--and turned it into a passion. It reminds me of Caedmon's song "Sacred"

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time everything i've dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

I guess as of late I have been feeling less like myself. I feel like I've lost some zest for life, not in a suicidal sense, but in a way that makes me feel like I might need to just stop trying. I know it sounds awful, and, indeed, it is. 

There have been a number of times in the past year that I have wondered, "What am I doing, really?" And I have two different perspectives about this question of mine, and I think both are valid and can be true simultaneously.

1. I'm doing what God created me to do. (Or I'm sucking at it.) Either way, God has given me gifts and passions and opportunities that are particular to me and my life. He saved me to do good works. Sometimes you feel like shit because you foul up real bad. And sometimes you feel like shit because you're actually right where you need to be and the Enemy recognizes it before you do and he does all he can to screw it up--for example, deceiving you into believing that you are worthless and it is all your fault. Whether you're being honest or being deceived, you can't do your good works perfectly, so the solution is resting in the gracious arms of God.

2. God doesn't really care what you do. He loves you. When we try to make the Gospel about anything other than God loving you with an unmerited, unfailing and unending love it ceases to be the Gospel. You have the freedom in Christ to take a year out of your life and cook through a Julia Child's cookbook, because chances are (and actually there's no chance about it) Jesus is the one who knit that heart together in your chest that takes joy in creating something out of a lot of nothing, and making it taste real good. I mean, isn't that His heart as well? Taking a lot of nothing and throwing it together in a way only He can? As long as you love God and you let Him love you, it really doesn't matter what you're doing. Tim Keller writes in The Prodigal God, "Nothing, not even abject contrition, merits the favor of God." If you can't earn it then you certainly can't lose it, can you? What a freedom! Go cook and write songs and enjoy doing math problems. If that's the way God created you, what would bring Him greater joy than to watch you passionately pursue it? What kind of a Father would He be if he gave you great joy in making music, but told you that you had better things to do with your time than sing? If colors bring you joy, then paint. If wine overwhelms your tongue, then go and taste fine wines. Live life to the fullest. Jesus did not set us free to be boring, passionless people. He set us free to be like Him and He was never boring or passionless. He's quite the opposite. And so we should be as well. I think I'm starting to learn that those good works He created us for come a lot easier to us when we live in the freedom He bought and start living in it--by being fully who He created us and redeemed us to be. Yes, fight your flesh. The heart and the Enemy can be very deceitful. Don't just do whatever you want to do. Do what you were created to do. If you're good at cooking. Cook. And pray, wait and watch what God can do with that. I think there is beauty in experiencing the joy of God in the mundane. So what if you never feed 5,000 homeless people with your food? That doesn't mean it was pointless or un-Christlike. Jesus delighted in His Father and in being who He was created to be. We should do likewise. And this freedom and joy and healing and acceptance are things Christ desires for us and died to give us. What are we telling people when we make the Gospel about moralism and legalism. That's not what Christ offered broken people, so we should stop offering people that. Let's start offering who Christ really is. A Lover, a Healer, a Redeemer, a Creator, a Fighter, a Father....the list goes on and on. Let's let him be who He really is to people...He'll do the same for us. In fact, He already has, we've just refused the gift. 

oh and something else I should add, so people don't start doubting my Christian convictions so to speak--Until you start believing (therefore living in it) that this is the way Jesus really loves you, you will never change and you will never be like Him. When we believe Him is when we begin to live in Him and as live in Him we can love Him and when we love Him is when we start to act like Him. We have to stop thinking that we do the stuff then we get love and freedom. No. No. No. The love and freedom always come first or the stuff we do is meaningless and fruitless. 
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