Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

And I'm back. Ok I've been back for a couple weeks. But I've not had the words to start writing again, until right now. If you know me at all, then it's probably hard to believe that I don't have words at any point about something, but there it is. Basically, I just didn't know, and still don't know, just where to begin. Things are just so very different since my mission trip, and really the events immediately preceding it. It's difficult to pick that starting point and go. So, here. we. go.

My personal legend. This is the central concept of this whole blog endeavor. What is it for which I am living life. Ok, I cannot completely answer that right now. It's too existential. But, I can tell you that the way I'm living my life is changing, and my ideas of a legacy as well as just the simple day to day is fundamentally refocused. This is going to take me days to articulate.

This verse from Romans 12 keeps coming back to me. It came up before I left, then during a daily debrief/devotional time in Belize, and again and again. "Do not conform any longer to pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Cognitively I got was this was saying, but it took a while to really grasp what it means in my life. I think both my mind and heart have been undergoing the transformation and renewal. I'm seeing my world and priorities through a new lens. A totally simplified way of describing it is that I'm no longer happy with "normal". And really, I don't think I ever was happy with "normal".

I'm reconsidering "The American Dream" that we all work so hard to achieve. It's recently dawned on me that I have no idea what it even is, and I've been busting my butt for years to get it. Is it the 2 story house with a picket fence and 2.5 children and an SUV? I recently heard about a study that people who make $25,000/year say if they made $54,000, they would be living the American Dream. People who make $90,000/year say if they made $190,000 they would be living the American Dream. So essentially, the American Dream is described in monetary terms as twice whatever it is that you have.

So our dreams revolve around how much stuff we have? One remarkable thing I saw in Belize, is how much joy a person can have in their lives, when they literally have nothing material. We played with children who don't have x-boxes, TVs, ipods, cell phones, toys, or sometimes even shoes....and they were the happiest children I've ever seen. They are creative and imaginative. And social and loving and affectionate. They are poor and happy. How many wealthy, depressed people do you know?

This is what we'll call the tip of the iceberg of what's going on in my mind and heart. I'm tired, and getting sleepy so I want to take advantage of my fatigue. I've not slept well since I returned from Belize. Well, there are exceptions, but less than you can count on one hand. I'll get more into this another time. But when I get sleepy, I sleep because it's so difficult to come by these days.

One last thought on the renewing of my mind. Giving is a huge part of this story. Today, for the first time in my life, I gave $2 to a man holding a cardboard sign on a freeway offramp. I've had soapboxes and opinions on this. But I've realized that as a believer, when I'm stopped at a light, and there is a person asking for money or food or whatever, I tend to avoid eye contact and justify reasons not to help. Then I wrestle with the conviction I feel in my heart and try to explain it away to ease my mind. Today, I had the two dollars in my purse. Two dollars makes essentially no impact in my world. But for this man, it does. And perhaps he will use it foolishly, or perhaps he's lying or faking misfortune. But I decided in that moment I made eye contact, that I need only search my heart. Whatever this man does is between him and God. God asked me to help, and I did. That's as far as that story goes for me. I drove through the intersection without conviction, without apology, and without guilt. My heart was at peace.

The conviction I experience when I turn my head in these moments come from a warning and an encouragement in scripture:
Proverbs 21:13: "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."
I need my Savior too much to be ignored.
Micah 6:8: "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
What do I want to do with my life? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. (yes, this is the official "mission" of Mission Community Church. I don't think they'd mind my borrowing it. In fact I am confident they encourage people to live it).


  1. Matthew 25:31-40. Amen girl. Thank you for that reminder, especially at this time of year. If you want to get together and chat, call me :] Struggled with similar things when I came back. God will use that though, and change is not easy. Praying for you! Brush up on 2 Corinthians 1. "On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us." Love you sister!


  2. I needed this today :) I had a similiar moment with a homeless person, its amazing how much peace comes from just giving it to God. Hope you are having a wonderful time right now, cant wait for the next big story :)