Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LIVING FAITH as if Jesus was a "Drive-Through" God

Relationships fascinate me. They always have, and they always will. I stand back and realize how easy it is to take relationships for granted, misuse them (if only unintentionally), and think everything is "fine", when in fact it is not.

Relationships are a joy, the fabric of my life, and what makes me get up every morning and think, "Well, today will be interesting and never boring." :)

I am a student of relationships, my own and others. I look at relationships at home and at work trying to understand how I need to make relationships better. I am always on the look out for what it takes to make a relationship healthy, growing, and meaningful. What kind of open heart and communication is called for? What kind of time commitment makes a difference? While I may miss the mark, I am always trying to improve the relationships that matter to me.

One question that has surfaced a lot this summer is...

Does this person I truly care about REALLY know that their relationship with me is a high priority in my life? Does Bert know? Does Amy know? Does Jessi know? Do my grandchildren know? Do other family members know? Do my friends know?

How about my relationship with God? Does God know?

In a recent sermon at our church our Pastor challenged us to look at our relationship with God, with Jesus, and see how our behavior met the qualities of a healthy relationship here on earth.

He asked:

Do you regularly talk to God and thank Him for all of the blessings He has given you?

...Or do you only come to God when you want something and you want it "soon please".

Or maybe we often even leave off the please.

Do you talk to God every day or only in a crisis?

..."Please God, (even though I haven't talked to you for five years or even really had a relationship with you)..."please save my child (my job, my marriage, my life)."

Our pastor asked us to consider what would happen to our earthly relationships if we treated them like we often treat God. Yikes!

Pastor Lonnie then gave, what was for me, the ultimate analogy.

"Do you see Jesus as a drive-through God?"

You drive up, give your order of what you want, and expect Jesus to be at the window fulfilling what you want, when you want it, and how your want it. Your "prayers" consist of telling God HOW to do His job and WHEN to do it.

"I'll have ketchup and mustard, but no onions please, Jesus."

"I'd like a better job, better marriage, and all my ducks in a row...and could I please have that NOW. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the great day and all my blessings. Sorry I haven't been to church, worshiped you, or read your Word in the Bible."

Our Pastor then asked, "Are you living your faith as if Jesus was a drive-through?"

I could barely breathe at this point in the sermon.

Oops! I hesitated to look around to see if Lonnie Mitchell was talking to everyone or just me.

Am I really that arrogant with God? If I asked God for the highs and lows in our relationship what would He say? Would He feel like a real priority in my life or just a side dish ordered at Taco Bell?

I felt my knees go weak.

How does He feel when I tell Him what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done?

More importantly...Am I really talking to the creator of the universe, the Almighty God, the Alpha and Omega, the Giver of all life and blessings as if He was an employee at a drive-through restaurant?

I felt like I was going to throw up.

This summer, following this sermon, I have been re-reminded that my prayer life needs some revision, my time in the Bible needs some revision, my attitude about going to church and fellowship with other Christians needs some revision, and my overall relationship with God needs some time, love, energy, communication and revision.

I do NOT want to live my faith as if Jesus was a "Drive Through."

Your thoughts?

God Bless!

Love, Linda

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Double Standard of the "HONEY-DO" List

I love teaching. One of the MANY reasons I love teaching adult students is how much I learn from them. One of those "AHA!" moments came in my Gender Communication class this last quarter.

We were having a "fishbowl" exercise where a group of women became part of an inner circle for discussion. As part of that group, we sat on the floor in the center of the room while other students sat around us listening and taking notes. The goal of the women's discussion was to offer "tips" to the men in the class about communication, attitude, and behaviors that might improve their relationships with important women in their lives. 

We also had a "fishbowl" where the men got to talk and the women listened and took notes. The men's fishbowl went first. To be fair, the men displayed much better manners as listeners in the fishbowl exercises. They not only listened respectfully, they asked amazing and thought-provoking questions.

In the women's fishbowl one gal talked about how everything is better when men really help at home. She inferred, and we might have an "Amen, Sister!" from any women reading this blog, that men don't really do their fair share at home. Women work at outside jobs, just like their husbands, but they are then expected to do the majority of kid care and household care. All the women in the group agreed that men helping more with the household chores and children would make women in general a much happier group of people.

After the fishbowl was over, and the men could ask questions, one well-respected and older male student asked if he might participate in the conversation. This was someone who dearly loves his wife and had been sharing all of his class information on improving gender communication with her. Everyone in the room really liked him.

Quite simply, and sincerely, John asked,"I've always wondered about the double standard of the "honey-do" list. Could you ladies help me with my confusion?" He went on to explain that he always helped his wife around the house. He felt that was part of being a good husband. Yet he also had his own list of things to accomplish. While his list might not be written down, he had one. 

What puzzled him, he said respectfully, was why women always seemed to feel that they could give a guy another list of their priorities to do, the ever famous "Honey-Do List!" and expected men to re-prioritize and get the new list done ASAP. What, he asked, would happen if men started to give women those kinds of lists? 

He went on to ask how many of us gave our husbands a "Honey-Do List!" We all raised our hands. He then asked how many of our husbands gave us regular "Honey-Do Lists"? No hands went up. "Is that a double standard?", he asked.

Our mouths dropped open.
We were speechless.

It had never occurred to me that the famous "Honey-Do list" was one-sided and a double standard. The "Honey-Do List" was a cultural phenomenon, passed from generation of women to the next generation of women. It was a cry for help from busy women, desperate to have their spouses help them out at home. But was it a double standard? Would I be shocked to have Bert write a "Honey-Do List" for me? Food for thought!

Yup, I love teaching!
I love learning new things!
Thanks John!

What do YOU think about the famous "Honey Do Lists"??? Is it a double standard?

God Bless!
Love Linda

Finding Comfort in Kindness...sharing from the heart

                                If every person made it a rule that                          wherever you are, whenever you              ...