This is the story that I overheard our 13-year-old son telling his little three-year-old sister, when she was tucked in for bed tonight. And of course in the middle he included her name specifically, which caused her to beam from ear to ear, and with sparkling eyes, respond "that's me!!". And of course my own eyes were grinning and heart was weeping as I witnessed this from across the room. What an amazing big brother! And what an amazing story!
And how fitting, considering it's been the topic of the week for me. Living out our God given purpose with our God-given talents, by pushing away any obstacles that may lie before us. Personal obstacles such as shyness, pride, ambition (driven)....or perhaps external forces...the material world, people, chaos. With a modern world that does not allow for very much quiet, the constant chaos itself can so easily distract us from not only seeking our purpose to serve Him, but from having any kind of personal relationship with Him in the first place. A daily dialogue. I have just started a new study with a group of ladies in my neighborhood. The study is called "restless". And as women, so many of us do feel restless, and that we need to be doing more. Are we living out the purpose God has given us? Are we using all of our natural talents, or letting obstacles get in the way? Just a century ago, the majority of women were spending their days cooking, gathering food, tending to the children, cleaning without the modern conveniences, and praying. Praying together as a family was a natural part of daily life. And although things were so much simpler without the level of chaos and busyness that there is now, most of their day was spent on necessity. I feel like it's a stark contrast to where we live now. The material world alone consumes so much of our time, even though all the modern appliances get so much done for us. We have so much stuff, which takes time to organize, clean, sort through, donate, collect, organize again, and clean!
My nine-year-old daughter and I are a tad bit romantically attached to the Little House on the Prairie series right now. This utterly simple way of living, though hardships were ever so present, is so appealing. All of the little things stood out as the best things... the best moments. A simple dessert was the highlight of a Christmas celebration, verses a room full of expensive gifts. Now everything is bigger, bigger, better, better, and the thrill factor has been overdone. It's hard to know when we will hit the ceiling! We continue to seek bigger and better as a culture, yet we are really just seeking Him. Simple. And as for taking that restlessness, and doing something with it, I do recognize that it will be an intentional daily calling. Living radically in this country means living counter culturally. It means going back to simple. It means not having attachment to the material. It means parenting intentionally. It demands praying daily for His will to be done, and for us to gracefully accept His will. And as in the beautiful fairytale story, hopefully someday, we will see His smiling face looking down at us. And we too will be grinning back at Him, knowing that we gave our best for Him.