Funny how our culture is so infatuated with new. Seems like once a week you hear of someone buying a new house or getting a new car or finding a new app that they love or desperately needing a new phone. In most situations, the old whatever was probably just fine- but my, how we love the new.
So as I sat today in my living room, my mind wandered from the topic of the game changing reality of 'God with us' to this concept of new. And a verse floated through my mind, reminding me that the mercies of God are new every morning.
New mercies. New year.
And I thought, If God can give me new mercies each day, what if He would make other things new? He is in the business of redemption, after all. And so perhaps this new year, maybe instead of listing out the ways I just so desperately want to do better, maybe instead I could think of the things that I desperately want Him to redeem?
At that point it was a bold and brave and hopeful thought. But now, with the DP10 in hand and the house asleep, right now as I type it, it's a much scarier thought. But here goes.
I would ask the Lord to redeem my friendships.
I took Child Development in college and studied the phases of life in various ways. I remember specifically the development of socialization in toddlers, moving from parallel play to shared play.
Parallel play is defined as "a form of play among a group of children, primarily toddlers, in which each engages in an independent activity that is similar to but not influenced by or shared with the others. So one child feeds her baby doll while sitting next to another child who is pretending to make food. They are playing next to each other but not with each other.
Shared play is actually playing together. The kids might decide to play house or superheroes or just piddle around the play kitchen together- but they are in the same game.
Sometimes I feel like my friendships are more like parallel play than shared play. Sure, we touch base and talk about our lives. I lend her my 3T boys tote and she e-mails me her recipe for carrot cake. We commiserate over sleepless nights or homeschool weariness. But it feels kind of like "an independent activity that is similar to but not influenced by or shared with others."
Ask yourself, do the people you are really living life with know more about you than the people who faithfully follow you on facebook and instagram? We bought a house in this neighborhood so that we could share life- not swap stories or talk weekly or be friendly- with the people here.
I don't want to play house next to each other; I want to be characters in a shared story.
Lord, redeem my friendships. Give me a heart that cares more about the things happening in my neighborhood than the things happening on the internet. Let me be someone who loves generously, who extends my arms even when those arms are tired, who shifts my gaze constantly to the needs of my friends, who prays for us to love you more each day and for me to love them more each day.
I would ask the Lord to redeem my compassion.
I have been to parts of the world that are in poverty. I have lived in a home with teens raised on the loneliest margins of society. And I don't like to watch the local news because it just depresses me.
Honestly, I'm tired of it. I don't want to know that more teens in north Omaha were shot or that 1 out of 5 kids in my community doesn't have enough food for their family or that more people are in slavery today than during the entire course of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Puh-lease. I just want to get through my day and finish the dishes and relax a little before a short nights sleep and it all starts over.
Is that really what I've become? What happened to the girl who was broken for the world, who believed God was at work, who longed to be part of that work?
Lord, redeem my compassion. Give me courage to feel and to read and to hear the stories of the oppressed. Let my heart break again and again. Please open doors here and now for me to move in compassion towards the poor, the lonely, and the hurting.
I would ask the Lord to redeem my view of myself.
I don't know what to say about this one, really. I didn't even really know it was true until I typed it and then suddenly I couldn't stop crying.
I think I feel, in subtle ways, disappointed with where I am in life. I thought I'd be farther in this faith journey by now. I thought that the spiritual disciplines would be a seamless part of my day. I thought I would be more brave in the things I say to others. I thought I would be done feeling the insecurities of junior high and done wondering what the cool kids think of me and done believing the lie that the right outfit just might fix the way I feel about myself. But I'm not.
As a young person, I so desperately wanted to give my life to something that was important. And I know that motherhood is important, but there are a lot of days that it doesn't feel very important. Somewhere between the loads of laundry and the peeling of clementines and the trying hard not to cry over spilled milk, somewhere in there I get a little bit lost and forget who I am.
I am a disciple. I'm not giving my life to motherhood- I'm giving myself to Jesus. And though life as a mom is (quite honestly) awfully mundane, it is also quietly sacred. And that's OK.
Lord, redeem my view of myself. Free me from my own unmet expectations and let me wake each day in the full and freeing knowledge that this is what You chose for me. Give me truth to guard my thoughts, grace to guard my heart, and wisdom to raise my little people as warriors of grace and truth.
I know there are more but, quite honestly, I feel spent from just those three. I think that is all for tonight, maybe all for 2013, but we'll see.
I want to ask you- to challenge you to think of the things God could do in your heart and mind this year that might breathe life into the dusty corners of your soul. The year is new, laid out ahead of us. 365 days of wonder.
Just think- if God could make the whole world in 7 days, what could He do in your heart, your house, your marriage, your children, your community...in 365 days?
Thanks for reading, friends. Thanks for sharing this journey that we're all stumbling along. I hope this new year will find you hopeful and longing and trusting in the goodness of God for good things to come.