Monday, July 19, 2010

Everyday Necessities

What do you do every day?

I shower every day. You might think of it as a necessity. I’ve just gotten accustomed to being clean. After a hard day’s work at a construction site, I would reward myself with extra time in the shower. After walking around Portland all day, I would have the occasional bubble bath.

I had the chance to go to Kaho‘olawe once and I took it. There were no showers on Kaho‘olawe for our use; we bathed in the ocean. It was an amazing experience, being washed clean by God’s creation, well, with a little help from Ivory soap, what was allowed. I don’t mind getting dirty if I have an idea that I’ll be able to get clean at some time [there’s an idea for another entry]. Basically, I think I could do alright as a missionary in a third world country, but probably not if I was a POW.

Do you shower every day? Do you read the newspaper every day? Do you say “I love you” to someone every day?

What do you do every day? Why do you do it? What do you gain from doing it?

Somehow, for some reasons, we build up certain disciplines. These disciplines have a tendency to become habits that we don’t often think about. Some are more necessary than others, like eating or bathing compared to watching our favorite show when it comes on. Some become traditions, like going to dinner to celebrate a birthday or singing “O Holy Night” every year at Christmas.

We used to live in an apartment. I had a big bedroom. I didn’t know, or maybe just didn’t care to put things away. My mom would get upset and yell at me to clean it up, but without much success. Eventually she would have enough and clean it herself, which didn’t teach me to clean my room.

We moved to a house; Mom always wanted a backyard. I got the second biggest bedroom. I chose it because the smaller room had the door to the attic in the closet ceiling- Brother didn’t mind that feature.

Over the years, as I’ve grown up, Mom has become “the messy” and I have become “the cleaner,” though I don’t tell her to clean up her room! I don’t know why, perhaps something built up inside me to seek order and stability, and I’m steadily becoming more organized. When we first moved here, my books were lined up on the floor because I had no shelves; several years ago, I built shelves for my books. This leaves room for other things to be on the floor though.

I have always been able to find what I’m looking for in my room, generally, yet recently I have been building up the discipline of putting things back where they were as soon as I’m done with them. I come home, I change into my “home clothes,” and hang up what I just took off [I don’t always fold things right away, that may be next in the step]. If I wore jewelry that day, I put the items back in the jewelry box instead of leaving them on the keyboard tray of the computer. I’ve gotten better at clearing my pockets of change and placing it on the desk to be put in the coin bank when I sit down, or it goes straight to the coin bank.

As a result, my room maintains a higher level of neatness than it previously did and I can get to my projects sooner than before because I don’t have much to clear off at my desk. When I am getting ready to go out, I can easily decide on what pair of earrings I want to wear because they’re all together, or if I know which pair, I can find them.

In my spiritual living, at the Holy Spirit promptings, I’ve been [and still am] building certain disciplines, like daily quiet time and devotions or attending Sunday service. The result has been a deeper faith and a maintained closeness with God. When I pray, I expect God to hear me, as I would expect my best friend to hear me. I expect an answer, and expect that I might not like the answer, like I would expect from my best friend who looks out for my best interest. I believe in miracles and changed lives, because I believe in my own changed life. It’s like having quicker and easier access to God.

I have lapses in the disciplines at times. I’m becoming more aware of the consequences of such lapses, like losing [or loosing] my grip on hope. To maintain the closeness in my relationship with God, I need to maintain the disciplines. If I don’t, I have to do more or “work harder” for access to God.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to “take up [my] cross daily.” I don’t have it quite figured out yet; I never think I will “figure out” such wondrous things, though I’m always up for trying.

I think perhaps the daily disciplines of praying and reading the Bible and quiet times have something to do with it, as they are a practice of giving up of my desires, a dying to self as some say, in favor of giving to God.

I think when we are willing and actively taking up our crosses daily, God is free to bless us, better than we ever expected.

Do you discipline yourself to watch your favorite show as soon as it comes on? Do you workout every day? Do you eat an orange every Friday?

What are the results of this discipline? Why did you build up the discipline?

What if the vibrancy of your spiritual living depended upon the disciplines of things like daily Bible reading? Would you do it? Would you at least try? What would you gain? What do you stand to lose?

If you were able to become disciplined in something like watching your favorite show, you are able to become disciplined in something like reading the Bible daily. This is something I’m learning.

I’m learning to make such spiritual disciplines every day necessities. It’s better than taking a shower.

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