November 14, 2012

Obsession

     We live in the technology era. To have technology, we are told, is what makes a person normal. We are expected to have it. We are expected to have cell phone (a smartphone of course), be on Facebook (and have tons of friends), have a computer (a laptop also), and maybe even have a tablet. I am living proof that a normal person doesn't need those things to be normal and to connect with people..... or am I?



     For me, not having a cell phone disconnects me from my friends. They know all the recent updates about each other. It kind of makes me feel like a lousy friend sometimes, but really, I'm glad I don't have one.

     There are always those people who rave about how terrible technology is, how it makes us stupid, how there are better things for us to spend our money on etc. You've heard them. I've also heard from others how we need to take advantage of these new inventions and how we should be like the hipsters (or you're doing life wrong). I've also hear that technology can be used for the advancement of God's kingdom. 

      In my mind I gravitate towards the arguments in favor of technology. Technology is an important thing. I love all the new modern ideas and the modern style. I don't know why I really like modern things, but I do. There is a reason God gave us knowledge to make these things. What I don't like, though, about technology is that it hinders my relationship time with my God.

     Before leaving for home after going on the mission trip to Nicaragua I was a different person than I was when I left. I mean living surrounded by bat poop can do a lot to a person's psyche. I no longer cared what people thought, I no longer cared about technology, I no longer cared about a lot of things I cared about before. I had my mind fixed on the things it should be on all the time.

     My mind was fixed on God. It was fixed on heaven, dwelling in truth (not just speaking it), not letting people put masks on me, and loving others. In Nicaragua all I had was God. Even my I-Pod had been wiped clear of any music even resembling non-Christian. We were living surrounded by nature and truth. We were living simply, if you can call truth simplicity. 

     Something changed once I got home. My focus slowly has been shifting from being in God's Presence to living comfortably. Sometimes I've taken notice and stopped the shift for a while, but then it just keeps on going after a while. I've been trying to figure out what causes a person to feel so close to God out in the middle of nowhere, but yet so far from God when they are back at their house. Even though I am homeschooled and spend more time by myself in my room then I did while in Nicaragua, it still happens. It make no sense unless you think about technology and all of our American comforts. 

     Here at home I have all the food I want, I have carpet on the ground, a trash can, beautiful running water, books all around, a computer at my fingertips, pretty clothing items and accessories to look at and think about, hygiene to constantly worry about (I can worry about it because I can actually do something about it, unlike while I was in Nicaragua). If you think about it, all these things take up so much of our energy. 
I could blame all my problems on my circumstances instead of on my possessions. I have a bunch of school, my social life is crazier than it has ever been, I have a bunch of student council stuff to worry about and I have various things I do at church. Those things aren't much different than the things I did in Nicaragua though.

     I need a simple life. My possessions take away from that. Those possessions in turn rob me of my energy for quality time with my Savior, and they rob me of my peace, joy, truth speaking, and love. What can I do?
I could decide to cut all ties with my possessions, but as I said in the beginning, there's good in them and I have been given them by God. I should actually be thankful for them, not discard them as trash. I could force myself to go on mission trips all the time and then to be a missionary. The problem is, I don't know if that's God's will for my life. In fact, I'm not suppose to go on more mission trips for the time being. I'm meant to be at home for now. So I can't do that.....  What can I do???

     I read this book a while back. It is by my favorite author, Ted Dekker. I have loved his books for a long time and have almost read all of his books. This particular one I'm thinking about is titled The Slumber of Christianity. Unlike most of his books this one is non-fiction. The gist of the book is that we need to be obsessed with Heaven. Our hope for Heaven is what will keep us from being a sleeping Christian. The problem is that we need to be like the brides in one of Jesus' parables and we need to be ready for the bridegroom is coming at anytime now (See. Matthew 25:1-13). The book goes on to describe different ways we can get obsessed with Heaven. 
  • Seek the Light 
  • Use your imagination to hope (dream of Heaven)
  • Meditate on scripture about Heaven 
  • Study books about meditation (The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and The Way of the Heart by Hinri Nouwen are a couple books Ted Dekker suggests)
  • Read passages of the Bible to ignite your hope for Heaven such as Revelation, Isaiah, Ezekiel  Song of Solomon, and the teachings of Jesus near the end of His ministry. 
  • Celebrate communion (celebrate to show your hope) 
This is an answer to my question. Hopefully I can begin to be like someone who is obsessed with Heaven. 

     Today I was reading a blog by Katie Davis author of the book Kisses from Katie. She is an inspiring woman to whom God gave a big heart to for the children of Uganda, Africa. From what I remember right now from the book, she has adopted 13 African girls and continually cares for the people of her African village. In her blog post she describes how hectic and depressing her days are, but yet she still manages to maintain such a lovely view of God.
     
     She writes,"God is on the throne. All the angels and all elders and all the saints and all the believers are gathered at His feet. And they can’t stop worshiping Him. They can’t stop worshiping Him. Forever.
And so this week life is hard and it is heavy. Because I love so many and I want them to know Him and I want Him to heal them. I want the hurt to be over, but I know that one day, it will be. And in the mean time I just ask it, I beg it, that we would be people who cannot stop worshiping the Lamb who is worthy. That through the hard and the struggle and the moments that just seem so hopeless we would cling to the hope that He’s already won and our only response would be adoration and praise."

    She leads a life I would like, a simple and truth filled one in which God is the  number one, whom you turn to in your mind constantly for insight and encouragement. It's just so difficult for me to do. I go into a day claiming I will do it, but I loose track so easily. I even did this while in Nicaragua, but I succeeded in talking to Him more throughout the day there than I do now. Maybe it was the fact that I had nothing else to think about or do other than let God be glorified through what I did. That should be the goal of any Christian.

Can you all think of any other ways to be in communication with God throughout the day?