NT was a bit different today.
Matt did a good job this morning going through 1 Corinthians. Kat’s outburst at the ‘women submitting’ point was rather predictable 😛
The difference however came in the afternoon.
Instead of a lot of um well New Testament stuff, they had set up various stations to promt thought/worship/prayer. From bit’s of playdough (God the shaper), to finding a leaf to represent you/God/rest, to area’s for reflecting on your journey/relationship with God. The few that stood out to me, was the area with the clocks and thinking about time and rest. Simply because I do not know how to stop very well, furthermore I do not know how to ‘play’ very well. I find it relatively difficult to relax. The last areas I went to, both for prayer and listening to God were also very good. They had paper there. If Mark’s comment about it looking like an essay is anything to go by…
One of the points was looking at expectations that pressure you (this is how I understood it), this back-reflected the playdough point where there was some text about being in a ‘niche between acceptance and expecation’.
I was walking through my mind seeing if I dragged myself under the crutch of anyone’s expectations and came to the conclusion that if I am, they are my own, or my percieved expectations of God for me.
Just to clarify, I’m not condemning expectations as a whole, because they can be useful when correctly used and are good points of reference for self development or achieving goals. Expecations are however not always healthy, as the drive can deprive you of learning through the process of actually reaching something, they can be unrealistic, and condemning.
The dictionary refers to expectation (one part) as:
1. Something expected: a result that did not live up to expectations.
2. expectations Prospects, especially of success or gain.
I was not thinking too much about personal expectations for myself – that have dragged me down or lead to burnout, more so about what I percieve as ‘God’s expectations for me’. Re: the above clarification. Unhelpful expections. I came to a short (maybe a little tentative) understanding, that God simply does not have particular (driving) expectations for us as he stands outside of time and knows everything already. It could be vastly different for other people, but it is relatively important for me to actually stop, to rest and to comprehend that I have been created by God and that is simply enough. I cannot earn God’s favor or any extra of his love.
I do not know how clear I have been on this. My often misunderstood expections of myself from a ‘God point of view’ (yeh right) contribute to the drive to ‘be better’, ‘do more’, ‘challenge self’. I am continually on a self analysis, whether I am entirely aware of it or not. This is not to say it hasn’t improved.
I think of late, this is actually why I’ve had a little of the ‘lost’ feeling. As in, that I cannot see anything immediate to redeem. It sounds prideful almost – I don’t exactly mean it in that way. I like to work on character building and yes, I suppose changing myself. I can tend to get legalistic about it.
The ‘lost’ aspect has come, perhaps in realising (probably for the millionth time) that what I am doing is far from being very important. I have had been yet again redirected back to God and away from myself. God does the making and changing – without my specific input. I lose my way on the track of jungle of being moralistic or self righteous or something, and now I have nothing much to do! Correction: I do have stuff to do, but it is in looking at God and who he is.
Much of today tied back to the ‘rest’ thing. How I do not allow God leeway because it is always challenge and push forward. There is to an extent nothing wrong with it, but when it comes to taking my eyes off the ultimate point – well. There is everything wrong with it.
It seems I am continually being slapped in the face to this stuff. Despite it, I am very grateful. It is better, even if I don’t know exactly what to do, and haven’t quite filled this spare area in my head.