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Hollow spaces get filled in time

You have probably noticed that I tend to turn to the Psalms, Proverbs and Pauline Epistles as my "favorite" places to read and re-read in the scripture. It is because I "connect" with King David - a sinner through and through, but intent on keeping God first in his life, not afraid to turn again and again to God seeking grace for his misadventures, much like me. I also connect with Solomon, a man seeking wisdom and intention in life, always open to the truths God would teach. Similarly, I find the honesty of a heart struggling to make a break from the past ways of doing things and reaching to do things in the newness of this Christian walk when I look at the walk of the Apostle Paul. Regardless of the place I go in scripture, the theme is the same - God's gift of grace leads us right to where we need to be - connected to the one who gives life! I particularly enjoy the any scripture that speaks to me of living out my life, not in some "religious" pursuit for purity, but practically, honestly, and dependently. 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2)

The first thing which "pops" out is the instruction to take the "ordinary" life we live and place it before God as an offering. Now, you wouldn't think the "extraordinary" God of the universe would be interested in the "ordinary" of our life, would you? Yet, the instruction is to bring the "ordinary" to the "extraordinary". It is kind of "releasing" to realize God never expects the "extraordinary" from you and I as an offering. He just expects the "ordinary" - in turn, when we bring that to him, he brings about the "extraordinary" in us! So many times we "work up" to giving something of "worth" or "value" to God. We find ourselves in the frenzy of "religious rule-keeping" and the resulting "busy-ness" of this practice, all the while missing the important point - God wants the ordinary, not what we can "work up" in our lives! God just wants us to embrace his work in our lives. We somehow get this confused, thinking God's embrace only comes as a result of some "work" on our part. The truth is, we reach out and his arms are already open wide to take us into his embrace. WE embrace what God DOES for us - not that we do something to make God want to embrace us. If we have God confused with humans, we might just think we have to do something that makes us "embraceable" in order to be embraced. Isn't this the way we humans operate? Someone does something "nice" or "good" and we return their "niceness" or "goodness" with our embrace. One of the things I worked hard to do in my kid's lives was to embrace them, and to do it for what seemed like "no reason" to them! Just doing it because I loved them - not because they did something well, or FOR me. I wanted them to see the unconditional love of God and to learn to embrace well. Both of my kids give awesome hugs and my daughter has taught my grandsons to do the same! What an awesome thing to pass along - unconditional love!

Do you have anything in your life that you kind of need to 'put out of reach' for a while because it has "consumed" all of your attention? Sometimes we can be more focused on the 'things' of life than on what would do us some 'real' good in our lives! Sometimes we just need a little "space sabbatical". We need to separate from those things that have acted as distractions to us. I think God has to take our attention away from some of the things in life we embrace so freely, often without thinking much about it, just to help us focus again on what is really important in our lives. We become so well-adjusted to the way we are doing things, and then God comes along and "messes with" our adjustment! Even this action reveals his tremendous love for us! Sometimes we need this "adjustment" in order to realize how "fixed" we were on the "thing" and how much this "fixation" was taking us away from what we need the most - connection! Connection with him first, and then connection with the people we love in life! Maybe this is why I like Paul's writings so much - because he was never content to see anything take the place of connection! It never ceases to amaze me how "drug down" I feel in life when the connection with God has been interrupted. It happens in the most physical sense, because when I have taken my eyes off of some relationship, allowing "space" to be created that should not exist there, I almost always feel a little "hollow" inside. That hollowness is really a sense of being "drug down" into some empty space. When connection is broken, with others or with God, there is almost certainly a sense of emptiness that occurs. So, maybe an early sign of needing to "reconnect" is the hollowness we begin to feel with the pursuit of whatever it is that has our attention so "fixed". Just sayin!

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