I have a notecard taped inside one of my kitchen cabinets, placed where I will see it several times each day. On this card is written: Don't spiritualize everything!
Maybe it's the way I'm wired or something - My brain seems to be constantly whirring, churning and tumbling thoughts over like a spinning basket of BINGO balls. For example, I am what I've labeled an "active" listener. My husband and kids ("passive" listeners) can have a radio or CD playing nearby while their minds are busily engaged on some school- or work-related project or while they're having a conversation. But, if the radio is playing, I am listening to the radio....and, more often than not, commenting on what I'm hearing. "I really like this song's music, but the words are such bad theology." "Where is this singer from? She has a distinctive twang, but she doesn't sound like she's from the South." "Who is singing this song? He sounds just like a fellow who used to sing on the HeeHaw show years ago."
Not infrequently, my kids will respond, "Mom! Stop commenting on the songs and just listen to the music!" To which I've replied, more than once, "I am listening - are you?" Okay, all of that to say - I am prone to concentrate too much on the music, instead of just letting it float around in the background. I pay way too much attention to details, and miss much of the enjoyment.
Sadly, I approach most things in life the same way I approach radio music...over-analyzing, giving way too much thought where, honestly, not much thought is due. Don't spiritualize everything! In the cosmos of my alien brain, everything is spiritual or has some spiritual quality. Every thought, every decision, every action - everything must be mulled over, given a whirl in the BINGO basket of my mind. "What are the spiritual implications of this decision?" "What are my motives?" "Is God trying to teach me something here?"
Another example. I am currently the study leader for our monthly Women's meeting at Grace. I LOVE our meetings - yummy food, studying God's Word, sharing life experiences, encouraging one another, growing in intimacy. Good-good-good stuff. Doesn't take my squirrely brain long to figure this one out - I want to spend every 3rd Saturday of the month with my Grace sisters.
But, I am also the mother of a high-school senior - one who, the 3rd weekend of this month, will be interviewing and completing the application process for a college scholarship. And on Saturday, the Honors Department at the university is hosting a lunch for parents of prospective students. This may seem like a no-brainer to most of you moms - do the thing involving your child. But, to the over-analytical mind, things are never so obvious....so, let's look at the facts.
Women's Brunch: This month's topic is one I particularly need to address myself. This is the one chapter out of our book that I want least to discuss, that I need most to confront. It speaks to a tender area where I long for the input and guidance of sisters in Christ. Tell me, sisters, what are the practical implications of the Gospel concerning ______? Also, we are a young group - Grace is only about a year and a half old. Every opportunity to develop deeper relationships and to work together in living out our faith is precious. And this month, we are meeting at Mrs. Kay's. I LOVE Mrs. Kay.
Scholars Luncheon: I've been to these with my two oldest kids, and they are a lot of fun. It is an opportunity to get acquainted with the Honors Department staff, to put faces with the names of campus professors, to meet other parents and students who may be part of my son's life in the near future. Current University Scholars give presentations about their participation in the program and about the interesting projects they are working on. But, Steve is attending, and my presence isn't an essential part of the application process.
So what's the dilemma? If I choose the Women's brunch - is it because I have a heart for the Gospel? Because I love my sisters? Because I see this as an opportunity God has provided to address an area of struggle in my own life? How would my son interpret my choosing the Women's brunch over Saturday's luncheon?
If I choose the Scholars Luncheon - is it because I love my son? Or, more selfishly, is it because I just really like these things, meeting and talking to other people on campus? Or, is it because attending the lunch on campus gives me an out from the difficult lesson in our Bible study, addressed in an environment of accountability?
Can you hear the BINGO balls bouncing?! Do you see how spiritualizing everything can hamper the ability to make even simple decisions?! I have two choices before me for this coming Saturday. Either choice would be a good choice. Looked at from another angle, I could also choose either for the wrong reason.
But here is the beauty of the Gospel - I am free to choose, even to choose wrongly, and to do so without fear. I am fixed securely in God's affection. He is sovereign over every detail of my life - even if I make good choices for bad reasons, or bad choices for good reasons. Praise God, Christ's blood covers my BINGO basket brain! Do you, Dear Reader, tend to overspiritualize everything in life like I do? Run with me to the cross - let us find peace in the sufficiency of Christ's work on our behalf. Then, let's go out and live boldly!
4 weeks ago