I was beginning to think that I should have titled this series “Life” since it seems like I mostly have time to write up a quick post about our day or share a picture or two, but then if I go all connector-like and slow down, I realize that really becoming the beloved is partly about embracing this every day, ordinary life. There’s so much to find in the little moments of grace and the moments of struggle. I get to be the beloved in both places.
In much of this series and in life, I’m finding the “both and” instead of “either or,” which leads me back to thinking about the prodigal son story. The prodigal son and the older brother were both loved dearly by the Father. The Father wanted them both to experience and enjoy in all His goodness. He had gifts and experiences for them. He did not live by “fair” standards nor did He buy into a scarcity concept. No, indeed, the Father promoted abundance. There’s more than enough to go around. There’s more than enough for everyone to be loved fully.
When I find myself forgetting that there is enough, I find myself stepping out of that fully loved place and into one of jealousy, envy, and fear. Mostly, I fear that by someone else being promoted or lifted up or complimented or loved that the equation then flips around to equal that I am not whatever they are. Instead, there is room for both of us. The older brother missed out on that. He and his brother could be celebrated and loved. His brother didn’t need to be a threat to his security, identity, worth, or celebration. I’m sure there were enough calves to be eaten and hugs to go around. The Father was willing to celebrate and enjoy this life with both of his sons. He didn’t need to chose only one. He included them both.
I’m not there yet, but that’s where I’m headed. I’m jumping into, “becoming” aware, and embracing just how I am the beloved and others can be too. There’s room for us all at the table.
Thanks to my roomie’s friend (who happens to be her sister’s fiance’s sister–do you get that?? heh) we get to take care of this lovely outdoor bench/loveseat for the summer. I’m stoked. Now we just have to find lots of other deck furniture like a table so that we can entertain! I have been able to sit and eat breakfast on the deck for the last two mornings thanks to this little chair. I love it! Perfect place to eat cereal and read the Bible 🙂 I’m really hoping this will help me improve in my consistency in reading the Bible (aww yeah and thus begins the performance review references). Either way, I’m happy to have a spot to sit outside!
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
The balance between truth and love in relationships makes a BIG difference.
Here are some thoughts from group discussion on the varying levels of truth and love:
- Cactus Christian–always poking and pointing out wrong things or “truth”
- Minnesota Nice
- No Vulnerability
- Passive Aggressive
- Two-Faced (in instances where someone is nice to the person and then talks about them behind their back)
- We shy away from conflict
- Anger doesn’t have a place at the table even if it’s just–“If I take anger to the table, I will sin”
- Healthy balance
- Getting so intensely angry that we shut down and refuse to let relationships and conversations happen
- Mercy included
- Making mentoring and relationships a priority–addressing conflict or issues
- Matthew 7
- Power of prayer!
Finally, we went through a sheet on confronting sin. The examples happened to be 3 situations regarding sexual sin. After the examples, I was thankful that one of the people in the class made a point to address the fact that the church so often obsesses and focuses so much on sexual sin without addressing other issues like pride or greed.
Also, something that I found interesting was how in classes like that we really DON’T know where a lot of the people are coming from and the experiences they have. This is beneficial to the class because then we can learn so much more. A couple people shared about their experiences dating non-believers and one even was currently dating someone. Then there’s also the question of who in the room has dealt with sexual sin. Plus, this isn’t even counting the day to day struggles each person deals with.