Tag Archives: Jim Palmer

Tearful performance.

I’m reading a book called Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer and tonight I’m absolutely crying. I mean I’m not much of a crier, you won’t probably ever see me cry. Don’t let that fool you though, I’m a softy, and I do cry often when reading books or watching movies alone. Well, actually even then I don’t cry often, but I definitely tear up and get a little emotional. I’m not bragging that I don’t cry in front of people, I know that it’s the machismo culture that men have been brought up in that makes me this way. I’m fully aware that crying is not a sign of weakness and there are several men that I admire that I see cry often at sentimental moments, but still it’s engrained  in me to not cry easily in front of others. I know it’s silly.

Anyways, tonight I was really hit by a story that Jim shared about a young woman who was sitting in the library with her father as he read her a book. She was an angelically beautiful young woman who had cerebral palsy. He talked about how she sat with her face against her father’s shoulder, enamored as he read to her. By no fault of her own, she can’t express to her father all that she feels in the ways that a typical child would, yet by her father’s actions, it is clear that he adores her and loves to be with her. It’s a beautiful picture and I believe Jim’s point was that the father’s love for his daughter has nothing to do with what the daughter can or cannot do. He related this to the fact that so many people are caught up with trying to “perform” for God instead of loving God and loving others.

I wonder how long I will keep trying to perform for God before I realize that what God really wants is for me to just live life in love with Him. I believe we will bring more of the kingdom of God to this world out of response of living in love then in trying to perform for him. When will I ever realize that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more?

C.S. Lewis expresses it like this in Mere Christianity.  There’s a story where a child asks his father for a sixpence to buy his father a gift. The father gives the son the money and is happy with the gift that he gets. But he realizes that he’s not any richer, because he gave the child the money in the first place. It’s a reminder that we can never really “do” anything for God. He has made us, and we are just to live in response to that love, by loving God and loving others.  I’m done trying to perform.

love_is_blind_

 

 

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Change the world?

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change –
So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country,

And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

– inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey

I really like this thought, and yet tonight, for the first time, I’m realizing that my entire adult life has still been lived trying to change the world. I feel bad about it, the fact that I’ve lived trying to change everyone else instead of trying to change myself more often. It’s not like I’ve grown up never hearing this sentiment.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Jesus

Still I find that I’m so quick to try to change the world and others instead of focusing on being who it is that I believe I’m meant to be, who I’m trying to be. The crazy part is that at this point in my life, I feel as though I really have something to say, something to contribute to the conversation of life, but realize that most of us are too wrapped up in our own lives to have the conversation anyways. So for those of you that I’ve tried to change, instead of enjoying the conversations in life that are worth having, I’m sorry. I’m working on it, and I’m learning to listen and understand before trying to be understood. This will be an ongoing process though, so please be patient. I’m learning how to live life all over again. Learn how to live as I believe is best and yet to not impose on others. Learn to live my life in a way that hopefully does inspire others and yet be ready for when no one takes notice.

On the other hand I’ve been pretty excited lately and for several good reasons.

1) My half marathon training is going well and I can already feel and see a difference with my running and weight lifting. My blisters are healing nicely now that I’m using two pairs of socks. I have changed my training program though; I’m using Runners World smart coach training now.

2) I’ve just got six new books and I’m excited to read all of them. (authors: Jim Palmer, Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, Mark Steele and 2 by N.T. Wright.)

3) I got information on Noe Israel, the kid I’m now sponsoring in the Dominican Republic, and his family, along with a photo. (I’ll scan it soon.)

4) The next two months of my life continue to blossom with more and more fun excursions with great friends who will be coming to visit me and of course Lesley and Bruce’s wedding.

5) I found the blogs of two authors that I’ve really enjoyed reading lately: Jim Palmer and Brian D. McLaren.

The sum of these things has really kept me in pretty great spirits. That being said, here’s to being a world changer, the right way.

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