Friday, June 29, 2007

Out of the overflow

Okay, my brain is turning to summer mush. Just today I've attempted like three posts, all of which have remained in the draft pile due to total lack of coherent thought. You know how Jesus said out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks? Well, all my mouth speaks is the following:
Leave your brother alone.
Go outside.
Stop that now.
I said, leave your brother alone!
Please go outside.
What part of "leave your brother alone" do you not understand?
Go outside NOW!
Do not touch your brother! Don't even look at him!
LEAVE YOUR BROTHER ALONE AND GO OUTSIDE ALREADY.
See what I mean? There, my friends, is the overflow of my heart.

Joking aside, wait, who was joking? I am convicted as I consider what my words indicate about the condition of my heart. I long to have a heart so enthralled with Jesus, so full of passion for His glory and His renown, that I cannot help speaking of that which I've seen and heard.

Too often, I am more consumed with the things of this world, the tyranny of the temporal, my own selfish wants and desires and perceived needs--how do I know? I must ask myself: what do I think about, talk about, blog about? What do I wish for? Where I am placing my faith and affections will be reflected in the words I say, in the things I pursue and the desires I cherish. To my shame, sometimes Jesus has little to do with it.

I don't think I'm alone in this struggle. I think one of the great problems of modern Christianity is we look just like the world. We live the same, we talk the same, we want the same. It's the persuasive and pervasive nature of our culture.

I occasionally find myself glued to the computer screen, surfing all over the blog world, stumbling in and out of blogs not on my usual bookmarked list (by the way, I am a new Google reader user and I love it!). You know how it goes; no doubt you've done much the same on occasion: you click this link which leads you to this blog that links this other blog and on and on it goes and before you know it you been in front of the computer for far too long. I'm not confessing how long exactly; suffice it to say it's too long.

As I've read and clicked and read and clicked, I've been intrigued by the number of blogs written by young women claiming Christianity, yet their blogs are full of tv shows, name brands, and trendy restaurants. And no, I do not have a specific blog nor blogger in mind. I'm merely making an observation, without judgment nor condemnation.

There's nothing wrong with blogging on "24" for example or doing a mall meme. I've done both (no trendy restaurants here though). What concerns me is that pervasive and persuasive nature of our culture, and blogs that are supposedly written by Christians reflecting all thing cultural. And nothing else.

Of course, I cannot sit in judgment (and do not presume to) because even as I type these words, conviction falls. How often have I failed to proclaim Him with the spoken word! It's easy to type out my faith, all the more difficult to speak it, and even more to live it. Can I just confess that sometimes my life reflects all things cultural. And little else.

It's out of the overflow of my heart that I speak. How I pray for a heart overflowing with love for my Lord and an overwhelming passion for Jesus that I am compelled to talk and live different. To be in this world, but radically different from this world...

19 comments:

  1. Oh, have you voiced the thoughts of my heart with this post. Even the lighthearted part at the top - every one of those statements is about all I can get out of my mouth most days the kids are home. I also have several blogs that are not making it out of the draft folder due to lack of coherent though. And ditto the too much time reading blogs, sister. I cannot tell you how many days I've been crushed with the guilt of realizing just how much time I've absolutely wasted there that should have been spent elsewhere.

    I want that heart of passion for Jesus to consume me, too. I want to be different, oh, how I long for that!! Excellent post, Lisa.

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  2. oops - that would be "lack of coherent thought....." See what I mean?!

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  3. I totally relate to too much time at the computer. About Christianity/Culture--One thing I've learned by working in a youth ministry is, you have to stay culturally relevant. It's difficult to relate to nonbelievers if you will not broach or participate in talking about certain subjects, including cultural stuff that we might not agree with. We come across as living in some other world or era. For instance, how can we make videos that appeal to youth if we never watch any popular videos? Regarding blogging, an example would be that in a random, pointless meme, a person can naturally and subtly work in a principle she believes in by comparison/contrast, etc., and it doesn't come across as preachy. I just think we have to be careful of labeling things as Christian/NonChristian. But yeah, there are certain movies that I will not watch, for example, that other believers find no problem with. It's tricky.

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  4. Ok, I'm laughing because I just found your blog during one of those sessions of clicking from blog to blog! (I came via The Preacher's Wife). But I'm also laughing and grimacing because I so identify with this post. Thank you for making me think. I'll definitely be coming back.

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  5. Linda:
    I totally agree. By no means am I intending to suggest that we somehow totally separate ourselves from the culture that surrounds us. I totally concur that God can be reflected even in a silly meme. I am speaking more of the pursuit of my heart: am I pursuing only the things of this world...or Jesus? If Jesus is my Life, my life will reflect Him, and I will be different and live different. In the world, yes, but not OF the world.

    I was careful to say I was not judging...and by that I meant I was not seeking to label this blog or that blog. My intent was only to confess my tendency to blend in with our culture.

    You summed it up well: it's definitely tricky. Thanks for commenting!

    Blessings to you,
    Lisa

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  6. Ouch, Lisa. Get out of my business.

    But seriously...I have wondered this week why I am studying and writing for my blog...what's it all for? I definitely have better, more important things to do. I guess I should just chalk it up to selfishness--I want to do what I want to do. And I much prefer reading, thinking, and writing to mopping and laundry...though my blog doesn't serve my family. I have decided that I either have to stop blogging or employ better time management rules for myself. I am giving myself two weeks to straighten up. If this blogging thing has such a hold on me that I cannot control my time on the computer, then it has to go. And I will really hate that, but I think I'll hate having heathen children and a filthy house even more. Know what I mean?

    About the cultural thing...I have done the "24" quizz and the mall meme, but I don't think I mentioned any brand names. Several women did and I found myself (the next time I went shopping) wanting to go into Anne Taylor or one of the other upscale, trendy places. After looking through the price tags I quickly remembered why I never go there. Not that those women are bad for spending that much on clothing, I just can't do it. I splurge on books instead. We all have our inconsistencies and weaknesses. We are all in different places toward the goal of becoming like Christ. I do hope, though, that my blog is more about Jesus than anything else. If not, then that only gives me one more reason to quit blogging.

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  7. Just stumbled upon your blog (you know from someone else's) ;-)

    I hear you and agree that there should be a difference. Loved your post.

    I will be back. :-)

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  8. Lisa, I really appreciated this post because of your passion for a distinct and dynamic faith to be represented in the overflow of the life of a believer. I totally get that you are not judging anyone, but simply observing that sometimes Christians don't reflect the recreation going on in their hearts but can get caught up in our culture.

    I definitely related to your plight of being easily consumed by the temporal. I think Christians need to be careful about trying to walk some line between God and the world. Our goal needs to be boldly preaching Christ to this lost world and how can we do that if we are just blending in. Thank you for this challenge. I'm going to make that my prayer today too...

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  9. Honestly, Lisa, what has driven me to appreciate your blog so very much is how you apply the thoughts, the struggles and even the "tyranny of the temporal" to the plumb line of fervent passion for Jesus. From whence you and everyone who reads is able to walk away knowing that He alone offers Living Water to cleanse and redirect our current overflow that isn't so much living.

    And this is exactly what this post has done today for me as well.

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  10. Excellent post, Lisa. You summed it up perfectly, in my humble opinion.

    Of course, I say this as a fellow summer-brainer. So take what I say with a grain of salt. :-)

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing that. I just recently started to Blog (just for me at first) but as time goes on others have stumbled across it. I want this blog to do more then just show pictures of my kids and have recipies. Not that there is anything wrong with those things. I have done both. I pary that it also points my friends to the Lord.

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  12. Excellent post Lisa. I wish I could not relate so well to: 'Can I just confess that sometimes my life reflects all things cultural. And little else.' There is a fine line between being culturally relevant and loosing our saltiness. For me it is SO easy to get caught up in the world.

    I was just talking to a good friend fresh back from a mission trip to Costa Rica and she said to me in tears 'Jill, we waste so much time on things of no value'. Oh, Jesus make our lives count for much of You.

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  13. Oh so GOOD!!! AMEN, Lisa, AMEN!!!! Thanks for writing that EVER needed truth to our hearts!

    I just recently found your blog through Leslie, and this post gives me a glimpse of why she loves you! ; )

    I'm reading Don't Waste Your Life right now, and the nuggets I kept form this morning for the day were from James (already convicting...right?!) 3:11-12 "Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, by brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."

    and from Don't Waste Your Life pg 122
    too long to type, but the quote from Douglas Groothuis that explains the connection b/w our minds weakness and television....and Piper goes on to explain that even the man who avoids the "big/gross sins" but comes home from the office and spends time with his family watching TV will not be able to escape that he too wasted his life,
    "Jesus rebuked his disciples with words that easily apply to this man: 'even sinners work hard, avoid gross sin, watch TV at night, and do fun stuff on the weekend. What more are you doing than the others?' Luke 6:32-34

    You are pressing in, Lisa, that you might not waste your life living like the world, but striving and calling others to live as one set apart by grace, for eternity!

    You are an encouragement to me!!

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  14. Wow, what a lovely post. (And I'm here from visiting Everyday Mommy and then clicking on her link to Sweet Tea With Lemon and then clicking on your link. ;-) )

    I have a post in my draft pile at the moment about trying to prioritize my bloggy time and how I've become overwhelmed with all the blogs I follow. I was going to ditch it, but I might dust it off and see where it leads.

    Thanks for a transparent and thought-provoking post.

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  15. Have you been hanging around my house??

    I'm an only child so this leave your brother alone stuff is totally new to me. How can I teach and train without sounding mad all the time??

    I think the biggest way to separate ourselves from the culture is to value children as the blessings they are, not as the distractions and financial burdens the world makes them out to be. Perhaps that's where I'm most influenced by the Enemy, not so much in media, but in my attitudes towards family life.

    as always, great thoughts here.

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  16. Linda:
    I totally agree. By no means am I intending to suggest that we somehow totally separate ourselves from the culture that surrounds us. I totally concur that God can be reflected even in a silly meme. I am speaking more of the pursuit of my heart: am I pursuing only the things of this world...or Jesus? If Jesus is my Life, my life will reflect Him, and I will be different and live different. In the world, yes, but not OF the world.

    I was careful to say I was not judging...and by that I meant I was not seeking to label this blog or that blog. My intent was only to confess my tendency to blend in with our culture.

    You summed it up well: it's definitely tricky. Thanks for commenting!

    Blessings to you,
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ouch, Lisa. Get out of my business.

    But seriously...I have wondered this week why I am studying and writing for my blog...what's it all for? I definitely have better, more important things to do. I guess I should just chalk it up to selfishness--I want to do what I want to do. And I much prefer reading, thinking, and writing to mopping and laundry...though my blog doesn't serve my family. I have decided that I either have to stop blogging or employ better time management rules for myself. I am giving myself two weeks to straighten up. If this blogging thing has such a hold on me that I cannot control my time on the computer, then it has to go. And I will really hate that, but I think I'll hate having heathen children and a filthy house even more. Know what I mean?

    About the cultural thing...I have done the "24" quizz and the mall meme, but I don't think I mentioned any brand names. Several women did and I found myself (the next time I went shopping) wanting to go into Anne Taylor or one of the other upscale, trendy places. After looking through the price tags I quickly remembered why I never go there. Not that those women are bad for spending that much on clothing, I just can't do it. I splurge on books instead. We all have our inconsistencies and weaknesses. We are all in different places toward the goal of becoming like Christ. I do hope, though, that my blog is more about Jesus than anything else. If not, then that only gives me one more reason to quit blogging.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lisa, I really appreciated this post because of your passion for a distinct and dynamic faith to be represented in the overflow of the life of a believer. I totally get that you are not judging anyone, but simply observing that sometimes Christians don't reflect the recreation going on in their hearts but can get caught up in our culture.

    I definitely related to your plight of being easily consumed by the temporal. I think Christians need to be careful about trying to walk some line between God and the world. Our goal needs to be boldly preaching Christ to this lost world and how can we do that if we are just blending in. Thank you for this challenge. I'm going to make that my prayer today too...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ok, I'm laughing because I just found your blog during one of those sessions of clicking from blog to blog! (I came via The Preacher's Wife). But I'm also laughing and grimacing because I so identify with this post. Thank you for making me think. I'll definitely be coming back.

    ReplyDelete