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2016 Essentialism, Learning, Quick and Quiet: come and click

Friendly or Writing

September 19, 2016
suzanne-hillegas-friend

So much to say with so few words to compose my wild thoughts. July 4th I began painting our living room. It took seven days to complete this project. For seven days I painted and prayed. I even wrote a post about how I was thankful I got my prayers in for whatever storm lay ahead.

Now it is the middle of September. This is my birthday month. Fall has come. September is always my favorite. As I look back over the rest of July, all of August and the first few weeks of September I am beginning to see what the prayers were for. They were for me. Not for any great storm or any huge trial. They were for the inner struggle of recognizing who I truly am, acknowledging who I really want to be and the dissonance between the two.

I have been reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I am almost finished with it. I have every intention of returning to the first sentence the second the last sentence has been read. This woman is living my life. No actually Shauna’s heart peers at her life the same way that mine does. I have learned so much about myself, about my theology, about love.

Near the end of the book she talks about earning love. She doesn’t feel that others have to earn her love, but she does feel that she has to earn the love from others. Shut. The. Front. Door.

That is me.

I am an earner. My husband and I were having a conversation about this yesterday. He said, “That is a terrible way to think. You shouldn’t do that.” This caused tears to come. Through sniffs and rumpled tissue I said, “I know that is what I am trying to tell you. I am slowly discovering how to undo this, but at times it is a slow process, and that can be discouraging.”

Silence.

Long silence.

Finally I said, “I need you to say something.” He gently replied with, “That is a really good thing that you are beginning to recognize it and finding your way through it.”

Thus there have not been very many words on the blog because I have been finding my way through it. I have been making an effort to be present in the very moment I am in and I am still processing all that is around me and how it is changing.

One thing that has becoming shockingly clear in this season, is it is more important to be a really good friend, than to be a really good writer. Daily I have been making the choice to put my friends first over my writing. Friends are beautiful and messy. Truly time consuming in the best kind of way. As I weighed these two options of time with my friends or writing; I let friendship push over the writing.

Because I am an earner in love, it felt very bad letting Monday after Monday go by without a blog post. Then Thursday would roll around and I still hadn’t put any words on a page. But my friendships were thriving. I was connecting with friends far away. I was connecting with my husband as his friend and life companion. My son and I would race off to Chuck E. Cheese for an hour and play as many tokens as we could. I felt like a person again. I hadn’t even realized I wasn’t feeling like a person, but my soul was dry.

For the past few weeks I have had this question over my kitchen sink, “What is restorative to me?” I honestly didn’t know. But now I do. Being a true friend to the people in my everyday world is what is restorative to me.

What does this mean for the blog? I don’t know. Writing helps me be whole as well. So I will let you know when something is posted. But for now, my friends are going to get my regular Monday and Thursday times.

How are your friendships? Do your friends know they are important to you? Be sure and let them know how much they mean to you.

Fruit of the Spirit, Learning

Fruit Yes or Fruit No

March 21, 2016
suzanne-hillegas-tree-pacement

Over the next few weeks the topic of choice will be the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 has always been one of my favorite passages in the Bible.

Years ago my brother handed me a CD from a Willow Creek Seminar by Don Cousins. For the next 40 minutes he immersed me into thoughts about the Fruit of the Spirit I had never considered. Cousins went down the list and answered Yes or No. Yes if he consistently exhibited that fruit in his daily life. No if he did not. He had 2 out of 9. That isn’t even 50%.

Over the years I have often thought back to that CD. I loaned it out to so many different people, it became lost along the way. When I need a fresh awakening to my faith, and walking with God, I begin here in Galatians 5 with a short Yes/No inventory.

Read these three different translations. The New American Standard, the English Standard Version, the New International Version:

NAS

22      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23      gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

24      Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25      If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.[1]

 

ESV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.[2]

 

NIV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.[3]

As you read through them quickly you see that the wording is very consistent. As this is the Passion Week I think verse 24 is important. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus.” That is me. I claim to belong to Christ. “Have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Crucifixion is what the Passion Week is about. It is remembering that Christ died for me and you regardless of how well we exhibit the fruit, but if we believe then we are saved.

Verse 25 is the verse that really gets me though. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Think about walking through an airport or a crowded mall with someone. My husband walks really fast. We are the same height but for some reason his legs move faster than mine. I struggle to stay in step with him when we are walking somewhere. Keeping in step.

As we look at the list of what should be present in our lives, what will your Yes/No list look like? Is there a trait that you are quite comfortable with? What about that trait that always eludes you?

Take some time today, read through the list and take note of which traits seem easy and which ones seem impossible. May this passion week be one where our thoughts are on the Savior and we are reminded of His goodness, His faithfulness, and more than anything His amazing sacrifice.

 

References

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ga 5:22–25). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ga 5:22–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The New International Version. (2011). (Ga 5:22–25). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.