I used to LOVE buying cute clothes for my girls. But now that my girls are dressing themselves, I'm over that. In fact, I'm tempted to throw out every article of clothing that isn't pink. That way, at least when they get dressed, they will match.
I like volleyball. I've been playing it for well over 30 years now. I may not be as quick or jump as high as I did when I was in high school, but I have gained some wisdom that still makes me a decent player.
My daughters do not recognize this, however.
Last week, they came to one of my games. I play on a women's league. On my team, everyone is younger than me. No problem. That's where the wisdom part is helpful. The girls were sitting with a friend, watching me play. During one of the matches, I dove a couple of times to save the ball. The girls started talking quickly with my friend. She was laughing.
When I had a chance, I asked the girls what they said. E was relatively concerned. She said, "You are too old to play volleyball. You had a birthday, remember?"
I did have a birthday this month, and it was a big one. I didn't think it had affected my game play so quickly, so I said, "Why do you think I"m too old?
She replied, "Because you fall down on the floor when you play!"
I'm so glad she said that, and not, "Because you're slower than the other players," or "You make more mistakes than the other players," or something equally as depressing.
So I told her, "You're supposed to dive on the floor when you play volleyball." And she looked slightly less concerned and a little more confused.
Whew. Dodged a bullet there. Can't wait to see how she critiques me when she gets a little older.
A friend and I tried out a new Pilates class at the community center today. When we got there, we realized we were the youngest by about 15 years. The other women commented they had hoped no cute girls in tight clothes would come to the class. I agreed with them.
One of the ten commandments. One that I apparently have been subconsciously thinking on. Because most of my deep thoughts happen in the shower. Or in my twilight sleep just before I go to bed or just as I am waking. And my deep thought for the day, while I was getting into the shower, was a paradigm shift. At least for me. I am no theologian. Not even close. So forgive the simpleness of my thoughts.
Anyway. We who were raised in the church have heard this commandment. We have heard of the idols-money, power, accomplishment, other people, etc. All things we are to put after God, not before. This morning I realized that really, the idols are idols because we make ourself an idol. Lemme explain. Money, power, accomplishment, other people are not evil. They are not idols. Unless we make them idols. And our decision to make them idols stems from our decision to put ourselves before God. We are the idol we are running from.
I understand the Buddhist idea of "I want to become nothing." because that is the opposite of making ourself an idol. It ignores the God-given worth we have, but I understand it better now. (I do not condone Buddhism.)
I guess this is all coming from articles and blogs and comments I am reading from people who put themselves before God. I know. Shocker that people would actually do that. Especially people who have rejected God. But there are some who are Christians, who have turned the Bible upside down, to their advantage. Who want God to be what they want Him to be. Not who He says He is. And although we can't put God in a box, neither can we ignore what He says about Himself. He was, He is, He is to come. Forget death and taxes, God is our only constant. Our beliefs that He is other than that is either arrogance, ignorance, or conflict avoidance.
I know I'm a list person. Somewhat black and white. I love that in my reformed faith, things are spelled out. I love the clarity of God the reformed elders seek. I love that we define scripture with scripture. I love that we don't add, and we don't take away. I love that God is sovereign. In control. Unchanging.
I wonder what He does when people try and smudge His word into their agenda. Is He amused? Is He angry? My guess leans towards the latter. Anyone who doesn't speak truth about God is leading others away from Him. How is that good? I am totally fine with doing something difficult in the short term to reap the benefits in the long term. I am distraught that people are telling lies about my God. And feeding our egos. And helping us become better idols. And contrary to my "judgemental" rant, I am one of those people.
So, excuse me while I go ponder my idol attitude. I really thought it was OTHER stuff that got in the way of putting God first. Now I realize it is ME that is getting in the way.
There are few people that I know really well. People that I know deeply, either because of time spent or because we have gone through something together. I know every nook and cranny of their personality. I enter into their space, play in their corners, explore their privacy. I do this because I have been invited. Because I feel at home in them. Because I want to know them better.
Then something changes.
I am rushed out gruffly with a judgmental bark, an inaction, or a short-sighted decision.
It's disconcerting. And isolating.
I can't help but wonder what happened. Did I take advantage of their hospitality? Did I assume too much? Did I misunderstand the freedoms I thought I had been given?
Is there something they are scared of that I accidentally tipped over in my attempt to know them better? Something forgotten. Something hidden.
Or are they just having a bad day?
I don't know.
All I know is the boundaries have changed. I reel with the insecurity of the dotted lines that I once thought were solid. If this relationship changes, where am I safe? Who do I really know? And who really knows me?
When time has passed, I will be invited back again. Back into the warmth that is love, acceptance, and trust. The question then becomes, do I accept the invitation? I think most likely I will stand at the door and peek in. But I will never feel free to poke around the way I once did.
Sadly, as I ponder my diminished access, I realize that I do the exact same thing to the people I love. Especially to the people I love. And as I understand this, I understand them. Which is helpful. But no less hurtful.