Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Theology of Checking Out

Today's topic is not so light as fussing over shoes laying all over the place.  I'm just trying to figure out how to trek through this life holding fast to what I believe to be true.  So, please be patient with me and forgive me if I step on your toes.  Just a warning- if I do step on your toes, I may ask you if you've put your shoes away properly.

Given a choice, I will almost always stay at home.  There are a few exceptions.  I will go out somewhere if it's just Jamey and I.  I will go out to spend time with a girlfriend.  I will load up the kids and go hang out at a friend's house to visit/play.  I will go to church and church-related meetings.  I will get groceries (but I prefer to do it alone).  I will take my kids to play at a friend's house.  I will take my children to the doctor and/or dentist.

That's about it.

I wasn't always this way.  When Jamey and I were first married, I wanted to go out, out, out.  Granted, it was just he and I, but it was different because I wanted to go out to eat.  I wanted to go to the movies.  I wanted to go shopping for no reason.  I wanted to go to a concert.  I wanted to do something.  I wanted diversion.

Over time, I've lost this need.  I'm almost never bored at home like I used to be.  There are kids to look after, meals to plan and prepare, a house and yard to take care of, books to read, produce to freeze and can, kids to teach, blog posts to write, bills to pay- the list goes on and on.

But, it's become more than just not being bored.  I've started checking out society a bit.  It no longer appeals to me to shop, spend money on movies, listen to music that doesn't support my world view, or eat a ridiculous portion of rich food that puts fat on my thighs and leaves me running to the bathroom immediately afterward anyway (I've been blessed with a mild form of IBS).

It's the world that says we need things we don't, have to go places we don't, and have to experience things we don't.  If I am going to try to be in the world but not of it, I need to draw the line somewhere.  I need to be content and the world does not foster contentment.

I'm not advocating becoming a hermit.  We need each other.  And how else are we going to impact this world for Christ?  I just wonder what the motives are for the things we do.

Are we trying to fill a void that only Christ can fill through time spent with him?  (This is always a challenge for me.)

Are we trying to buy up things and experiences that we think will make us happy?

Are we buying up things and experiences because that's what everyone else is doing?

Are we showing our kids how to live in the world and be of the world?  Or, are we showing them that just because everyone else does it, doesn't mean it's a good choice?  Are there really neutral choices anyway?

So, what can we (corporately) do instead?  We can save that money we did not spend and give it to missions or to poor and starving people in other countries or next door or across town.  We can use our time to make meals for those in need or who are going through rough patches or welcoming newborns.  We can sew bags for health kits and school kits, make comforters for disaster victims, send funds to purchase the items needed, volunteer, visit shut-ins and the elderly, or invite neighbors for dinner.  We can teach our kids from the Bible and let them help discern which activities would be worthwhile or not for our families.

We can be like Christ to others.  Is that what we're doing when we're shopping aimlessly, being influenced by movies and music that promote the world's agenda, buying overpriced and unhealthy meals and participating in all manner of activities because that's what everyone else is doing?

I certainly don't have it figured out, but I cannot help but react to what many of us are letting ourselves get sucked into as Christians. We should not be passive.  We are smarter than this and we know better.

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." 
Romans 12:2, New Living Translation
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22 comments:

  1. Amen sister. I feel the same way.

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  2. well said, lady. thanks for encouraging us!

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  3. once you are out of culture for a while - and then you go back to it.. you find its just. plain. ugly. we dont go to a lot of movies and dont have cable so we are always horrified by what is "cool" and what goes for entertainment. people seem to be in a 'who can be the snarkiest' contest and putting each other down seems to be a sport - and forget good manners. sheesh!

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  4. It recently pained me to read a Facebook comment from a friend, saying that the meanest people he knows are "church-goers." Though I wholeheartedly believe we are saved by grace, James reminds us that faith without works is DEAD. We must be Christ to others - our children, family, neighbors, friends, strangers...the list goes on. Thanks for the reminder!

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  5. Very nicely said, and a great reminder! Thank you. I couldn't agree with you more, though I do occasionally get "sucked in" more than I'd like to.

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  6. Well said! Staying at home sure does help me focus on what's really important.

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  7. This post is perfect. I could check out too if life would let me. I have a feeling that once the boys are gone...Chris and I just might! (Move to a mountain town or something)

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  8. Hats off to you- I love this post and fully agree with you. I lack the desire to participate in "consumable activities". My heart desires purposeful events- I love to be at home with my family- busy in the daily events. I think you did a great job challenging us today, thank you!

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  9. Amen sister, such words of wisdom, could of been my life history too, hugs my friend and thank you for this reminder, have a very blessed day, Barbara

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  10. Thank you...great reminder of our true goals and calling!

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  11. So true and really well-written. Thanks for calling us out and reminding us to stay strong:)

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  12. Wonderfully said! I'm in full agreement.

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  13. I agree with you.

    Once I take a step back and slow down - I find that being home and caring for my family and our household is so much more satisfying and makes me much more content than aimless shopping, etc.

    That said, it is still an annoying struggle for me to ignore what the world says will make me happy versus what I know makes me happy...thank you for the encouraging reminder and the scripture.

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  14. I am blown over and so grateful that i have found your blog via 'little whitehouse' blog. I am a very disillusioned mum of 5 in the U.K and battle to keep commercialism and the ways of this country from taking over. Its nice to find like- minded mums even if we are half the world apart.

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  15. I've been wanting to take the time to leave you some comments. You've had some great posts that I really want to respond to! I'll start here.

    I'll tell ya. I'm with you. I've checked out too in the sense that you talked about here. Sometimes I wonder if I've just become too removed. But, I think you summed it up so well.

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  16. love what you said, dear... i agree whole-heartedly. and, well, when you think about our ancestors from the past, they did not "go out" a lot and did just fine... :) seriously, they were blessed to travel a few times a year, if that...and they turned out just fine (as we are the fruits of those decisions and lifestyle :)) as for the "being a good Christian thinking," i think that God has us here for good reasons...and we should constantly strive to find those reasons (or reason, for some :))... in the meantime, park yourself in the love of your home...and believe me...your songs will ripple out and you will touch others in ways that you could never fathom :)

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  17. So much in our society today is meaningless. Unfortunately, there is a whole generation (or two?) who has lost touch with the basic values in life that count. Karen questions if she (or we) are "too removed." I don't think so. We NEED to pull back in, re-establish family values and faith and hopefully start to rebuild some important and basic things we've lost. We can start by raising our own children instead of expecting the schools or day care centers to do it.

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  18. Thank you for this reminder. We are on this path as well, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. Love the way we're more at home, more jsut together, more available to those in need...but I still do fight sometimes to be satisfied. Reading this post was a breath of fresh motivation for me!

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  19. Sometimes I think you are destined for two other paths in life. The first is to be the next Food Network Star. The second is to be Amish. :)

    Bec

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  20. What a great post! It seems like we chase after all the wordly things, but then they don't make us happy...they don't fill the void that can only be filled by Christ. But the sad thing is, we often go right back to trying to fill that void with the things of this world.

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  21. Ooooh, you are GOOD. SO true...and I feel the same way as you about going out. Nothing refreshes me more than a lunch with a good friend, or a nice dinner with my husband, or, if ever at all possible, to watch a good decent movie. (SO incredibly rare.) BUT I find myself home so much more.

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