Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shalom Ya'll

Have you ever gotten to the point where you are standing in a room wondering what in the world you were doing there? As much as I've heard people blame it on age, I think something we forget to think is, "Have I bitten off more than I can chew?" Why do we do this? Is there just so much out there that we need to be involved in? Can we not say "No!" to anything? Will that project really not get done without us doing it? As I was changing my clothes over from summer to winter, opening boxes full of warm sweaters and sweat pants and refilling them with T-shirts and shorts, I stood there and thought, “There is no way I can do one more thing.” In fact, I am going to start dropping things so I can concentrate on what I really need to do. I am stopping choir. They don't really need me around, anyway. They are singing the same old songs that they have been doing for years and frankly, handbells needs me more. Within the next two weeks, I will have two Bible studies come to an end, and I'm not starting any new ones up. I am also not going to offer to teach something as silly as prayer. I think I will just pray by myself. If anyone feels inclined to join me, they can. I am going to put on hold the mentoring program with War Eagle. I feel that God is calling me to do something different there. It's not that I don't want to do it; it's just not God's time yet. I will be reading four books in the next four months and sending in a four- to six-page paper for each in order to do the work for spiritual direction. I have an eight- to 10-page research paper due in a month for Polity and Discipline, and I'm still so upset with the overbearing pinheads in that class that I don't even want to start it. We also have three weeks to rake up all the leaves and get them bagged for the big citywide leaf pickup time. The hickory nuts and acorns are falling out of the trees faster than the squirrels and dogs can eat them, so I'm sure something will have to be done with them.
The book I'm reading for spiritual direction is called What God Wants For Your Life by Dr Fred Schmidt, the cool guy I talked about yesterday. Now I am one of the slowest readers in the world, and I think it's because I want to get everything that's been put down. Yes, that means I have to re-read too. Anyway, I'm into the first chapter, titled “I-questions and God-questions,” and I come across this paragraph: 
Once we have surfaced this deeper reason for finding and doing the will of God, it becomes clear that it is not just direction for which we are looking. We are attempting - intuitively perhaps - to address a far more subtle constellation of  needs that are even more basic to us as spiritual beings: the need to have a sense of belonging; the need for the courage and conviction that come from living with purpose; and the need to have the experience of oneness with God that the ancient Hebrews called shalom. 
Shalom means so much more than our words “peace” and “authentic.” I wish we would all have to learn Hebrew and Greek just so we could start to grasp the real meanings behind the word. It's more about a oneness or wholeness. It can't be achieved. It's a gift and a divine gift at that. Shalom flows out of us when, in God's presence, we recognize that oneness as a gift from God. Peace we have confused with the absence of conflict. Jesus was right smack in the middle of conflict his whole ministry, and yet, He had a oneness with God that poured out of him as shalom.
So I ask you: What are you seeking? Is it peace or shalom? Are you too busy to know the difference or to even care? Or is there something different about you in the mist of conflict? People tell me all the time, "I want what you’re on." Well, folks, it ain't a drug that makes me different, and by all means, know that I haven't figured it all out yet. It's a lifelong process, this peace that passes all our understanding—but well worth seeking after.

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