Friday, May 28, 2010

LOST in Thought

After Sunday night's finale, so many people are confused, upset, or both. I thought they did a great job with the ending- that certainly wasn't what anybody was expecting! And I must admit that it has caused me to really be thinking about things this week. Given the final outcome, there are a number aspects to this final season that are making me ponder my own life and how I'm living it. 

Now, if you don't watch LOST, and don't have any idea about what happened in that world...well...I'm sorry for you. The past six years have been a wild ride for those of us who immersed themselves in the show. I actually had to stop watching because of how much time I devoted to watching and reading about the show and all of it's intricacies! I caught up this season, though, so I could watch the finale with the rest of the world. I'm not going to explain the whole show, but I do need to explain the final reveal in order to share my thoughts with you.

One of the great things about LOST was the way in which they told the story. The basic timeline of the story is intermingled with scenes from one of the character's lives from a different point in their life. At the start of the show we had flashbacks, which was an awesome way to reveal character backgrounds. Then we had flashforwards, which showed us that some characters DID indeed make it off the island, and the two finally intersected. Then there was some time travel, which was hard for me to follow, since that was during my "break" from LOST. And this final season was what the world called "flashsideways" which depicted how the character's lives could have been if they had never crash landed on the island. Most of this season's discussion has been about how the two timelines would converge and which one would be real. 

Well, as it turns out the flashsideways timeline was actually the afterlife. A place that they created to reconnect before crossing over into the true afterlife together. Each person had to remember their life and death before being able to cross over. And after that reveal, a couple of key things struck me. Now I'm sure these are not the messages that the writers intended, but it's what I've been thinking about anyways.

Charlie- "None of this matters." The first person to start seeing the flasbacks saw them as so real and so much more than what his current life was. This phrase is repeated by Desmond before jumping into the light cave. Because of these thoughts Charlie drinks himself into a stupor, and Desmond does something extremely dangerous. There was no value given to the life they were living. 

Life as a Christian looks forward to the hope that is in heaven. Consider these words written by Paul "For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better." (Phil 1:21) That expresses not necessarily the meaninglessness of this much so much as how great heaven is. There is no fear in death. Charlie destroyed himself from the inside out because he saw that the things he had been valuing were meaningless. 

Jack- "It's all real and it all matters." (or something like that) He says this as Desmond is preparing to jump in the light cave. He has found a meaning and a purpose to his life. 

I'm still not exactly sure what Jack became when he drank that stuff. But he had been searching for meaning. He had been searching for value. I HAVE IT! I have meaning and value in Christ! My relationship with Christ is one thing that will be taken with me to heaven. A wise man once said, "Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person." (Ecc 12:13) It's true that this life doesn't matter given the all-surpassing glory of what's to come. But what's also true is that there is value in the living of my life and the knowing of my God.

Jin and Sun- "We are safe" How much at peace were they once they remembered! When Sawyer came in and said he was there to protect them, Sun just smiled. They had no fears of a murderer coming after them- what could he do to them?!?

This is exactly as I should be living "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31b) I have the eternal hope that is found in Christ Jesus. What matters is what God thinks of me. What matters is that God is taking care of me. What matters is that God and I are on the same side and nothing can stand against Him. If I believe this, then I should have no fears, anxieties, or worries in this life.

Desmond- "I have to show them something." Desmond was the first to come to a full realization of where he was and what was happening. It became his goal to show his friends the truth. He didn't want to "leave" without them. He risked everything in order to do this. He used everything to his advantage because he was aware of the truth. He used his money to make it happen. He even had himself imprisoned to make it happen. His mission was clear and that was all that mattered.

As a Christian, I know the truth. Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again. He took the punishment for my sin. He did this so I could enter into a relationship with the Father. Eternal life in all it's glory awaits me. Fine and dandy. But that's not all. It becomes my RESPONSIBILITY to share it with the people I'm close to. In fact, Jesus told me to, as well: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." (Matt 28:18) Expending my time and energy towards this goal is what Jesus is asking of me. 

At first I got stuck on the "None of this matters" part. Most of my life is spent doing things that don't seem to matter- washing dishes, folding laundry, bathing children, vacuuming, etc. Even the things I do for various ministries were not stacking up under the weight of this thought. But my wise husband shared with me that God thinks they have value because he created us to do them. If God asks me to wipe a runny nose or make dinner, there is value in that. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31) The mundane tasks of daily life are given meaning. My relationships with others have eternal value. I have absolutely nothing to fear. And I have something to show you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Boycott

I'm boycotting "quiet times." You know, that thing that Christians are supposed to do. When you sit down with a Bible and read and pray. This is supposed to be about developing my personal relationship with the Lord, but that's not what it has become. It's become a test. Have you done it? What did you read? Check and check, let's move on to the other things on my list.

I have my idea of a perfect quiet time. I would spend some time praying and worshipping, then moving on to reading the Word. Of course, I would devote several pages in my journal for meditations, and I might even pick a verse to start memorizing. It takes time! At least an hour....and I don't have an hour.

What?!? Everybody has an hour! No, really, I don't. You see, I have five kids. Two of which don't take naps, and the other three don't always sleep at the same time as each other. When am I supposed to find this hour of "quiet." Well, it doesn't have to be quiet, you suggest. Ahem. Have you ever been in the same house as my kids? I love them, but they're loud, they make messes, and they fight a lot. Intentionally leaving them alone for an hour so I can focus on something else is not usually a good idea. They're awfully close to twenty minutes of quietly reading their own Bibles, but pretty soon I'll have to start training Roselyn to do that, and then it won't be about me and God, any more.

And if I can't have my quiet time the way that I want it. The way that I did it back in college when I was single and had lots of blocks of free time. Well, then, I just don't see the point in doing it at all. And I tend to believe that this is where most people who struggle with consistency tend to fall. If I can't do it "right" I just won't do anything. (great plan)

So, what's it all about, anyways? It's not about checking something off of my list. It's not about how much time I do it. It's not even about reading the Bible. What is it all about? It's about connecting with the Lord. 2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Get to know Christ. Now we do that through prayer and the Word, but prayer and Bible reading is not the end goal. The idea is getting to know Christ so I can become more like Him (Phil 3:10) And that just brings it up to a whole other level.

I was thinking about what people did before they had Bibles. The printing press was inventing in like the 1500's and even after that not everyone could read. Surely people were still growing in their knowledge of Christ without a Bible in their homes. And what about countries where there isn't a Bible in their language, or it's illegal to own one. What do those people do? What would I do to connect with the Lord if my right to a Bible was taken away from me?

And I was thinking about what my other relationships look like. Good girlfriends, former roommates, current mom friends, my husband. How do I connect with them? I don't spend an hour a day on any of those relationships. What sorts of hints could I glean from them to apply to my relationship with Christ? I thought primarily of the concept of "couch time" that time of day after Daddy comes home, the fifteen minutes that are spent catching up and chatting before continuing on. I thought about our dates where we go out together- sometimes for serious discussions, and other times just for the fun of being together. It could look like that would God!

Living life with God is first about recognizing Him and acknowledging Him. This could be a five minute prayer as I get dressed (because we all know moms don't get in the shower every day!) or even spending a couple of minutes looking over a verse as the coffee percolates. I can have Christian radio playing in my home. I can talk about Him with my kids (Deut 6:4-9). Couch time is ten or fifteen minutes reconnecting with Him. It could be something as simple as taking a walk down to the mail box and purposing to lift up a prayer while I do it. I could brew a cup of tea after the kids are in bed and just meditate while I sip it in the semi-quiet. And date nights- getting away for a couple of hours to restore a connection getting lost in daily life. I could spend my time on deeper thoughts or Bible study. I could go to the bookstore and listen to the latest worship cd. I could go take a nap in the park :)

It's also about avoiding distractions. The lure of facebook, the mindless novel, even cleaning can become a distraction. It's also important to remember that other people's relationship's look different. It's the same God, yet He relates to me differently than He does to my friends.

So, I'm giving up quiet times. Instead, I choose to have a vibrant relationship with my Lord that lives outside of a one hour box. I purpose to live my life so that each and every day is about true intimacy with Jesus. I want to be friends with Him. And the next step is to teach that to my children.