Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PDL Day 1

I never came back and finished my Feeling Nostalgic Today post and as usual, I've lost all the other stuff I was going to say. I think what was really in my heart on Saturday was that the summer spent in Belize should have been a turning point in my life. In fact, I guess it was a turning point in my life, but I chose the wrong turn.

I've been listening a lot to Susan's pastor and one of his sermons really spoke to me. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which one it was, but please listen to them all (Community Bible link is on my right sidebar). He is FANTASTIC!! If I remember correctly it was one of his Ecclesiastes sermons, which taught about how we should encourage the young, the unattached to try new things, to go places they won't be able to go when they are married and working. That if you are currently in a place in your life where you can go and do things for God - missions or other, that you should take the opportunity of your place now and do those things. I'll listen to his sermons again today and try to give you a direct link. But seriously, listen to him! He's a lot of fun! Thanks for turning me on to him, Susan!

I started reading The Purpose Driven Life this morning and will be reading one chapter a day until Easter Weekend. I think this allows enough time to take Sundays off to reflect on the previous week.

Chapter one is "It All Starts With God". There were three sentences in particular today that jumped out at me (maybe because they were italicized? :o)

the first was "Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life."
Isn't that what we all crave? A free life, dead of obsession and worry. It must start with realizing it is not about us! There is a good book written by Max Lucado called It's Not About Me that I really liked. I recommend getting the workbook, too.

The second sentence was about self-help...and this is an area that I totally get caught up in, but the Bible says "Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self." HUGE CONCEPT for me to grasp today. I understand it and believe it, I just need to practice it.

The third theory I liked was on P19 where he says "it is not about how to cram more activities into an overloaded schedule. Actually, it will teach you how to do less in life - by focusing on what matters most."
This is a concept I think many people today do not get, I know I for one struggle with it. ~ Living in the moment and experiencing (without rushing through) it all so that you give meaning to all you do. I have really been trying to slow down, not rushing, thinking about whether or not we need to run a particular errand at this particular time or if by eliminating something we can gain more benefit out of the other things we are doing. I think there is a lot I can eliminate that would help us do less of the unimportant and focus on God.

I don't know if I will blog about each chapter every day, but I will post the Question to Consider each day and try to come back and give my own answer.

Question To Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?


Anonymous said...

Hey Julie,

I JUST had gotten done reading chapter 1. The same things stood out to me. And also the part that we are here for God's purpose, He's not there for ours. Sometimes it's easier to seek him when we need Him, but we are here for Him.

For the question to consider: How can I remind myself? there is a song we used to always close with at church, I think it's a verse too but I don't know where, I should find that out. But it says: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Julie said...

Oh my gosh, Abby! I love that song/verse - I'm going to write it out now and tape it on my car dash and my computer so whether I am working at my desk or out running around today, I will keep that thought it my mind.

It gave me goosebumps when I read it!

Shellene said...

I, too, tend to get caught up in the self-help issue. Even with spiritual books, I sometimes feel like a self-help junky. But I get the most peace and joy when I just serve.

It takes a lot of conscious effort on my part to not live "in the world." I do try to control what goes in (what I listen to on the radio, what I watch on tv, what movies I watch, what news I read). But I need to work harder at dying daily to "self". It's not about me. I want to find "my" purpose because it will fulfill "me" and "my" life will be more rewarding for "me", blah, blah, blah. How much more can I focus on myself? ha I think that I need to focus on becoming more selfless during the next 40 days.

Susan said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying the sermons. The kids really connect with him as well. He is very entertaining to say the least. You can also sign up for his podcasts. Love listening to them during my long runs. Catch up later. Susan

Anna with Revolution said...

Answering question for fun:

My strategy for happiness has been to not watch TV, or listen to mainstream radio, and to carefully control the input I pay attention to so that I am sensitive to the input I get that I am not paying attention to (be being influenced by).

I am MUCH happier since I started doing this...

Julie said...

I'm not sure I'm ready to answer the Question To Consider yet so I think I'll wait until tomorrow after I've taken more time to reflect.

I did re-read the chapter, though and another sentence or two really stuck out to me on P18. "You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God - and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end."

I have to say that I realized a lot about myself today and how I am so willing to shut God out when I feel in the mood to let my emotions run wild. As soon as something got on my nerves today, I was like, screw it. I can worry about God tomorrow...I can be a better person tomorrow, I can care about Him tomorrow, but in this moment I do not want to give up my misery. I want to wallow in my anger and let it fester because something about it is making me feel something that I want to feel.

It was something to do with feeling wronged in my business and I really need to address what I'm getting out of the anger and self-righteousness and bitterness and self-promotion.

Julie said...

Anna - are you not watching tv at all?
I've been considering giving it all up - I've done so in the past for a month here or there, but nothing long term.

I think my reason behind wanting to give it up is not the same as yours. it's not necessarily the input I'm getting from it, but rather, some bad habits associated with it. THIS is definitely a choice that I think would improve my life and that of my family immensely - will def think on it a lot.

Visionquester said...

Hey Julie,
I left a 7 page comment earlier but it didn't take.... obviously it wasn't meant to be. lol

I am listening (for once) and learning from you.


Julie said...

Hi Cynthia ~
Don't you hate when that happens? Grrr.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! Better late than never. It may be that I do the whole weeks worth of answers on Sundays as they are my least busy day. yes, getting rid of some things in my life to be LESS busy and focus more on God is necessary! Like Anna, I don't watch much TV and I really can't stand listening to the news. I used to be a self-help junkie, but now I think I'm just an aimless wanderer, with so little time for true devotion. I also need to figure out what exactly that is for me...the relationship with Jesus.

Julie said...

Do it all on Sundays if that works for you! Now we all know when to come back and check for your responses :o)

Thinking of you,