Skip to main content

things I want to learn...

In the past few weeks, a few situations have arisen that have caused me to feel frustrated, to be annoyed, to be torn about which way to go.  What this signals to me is that I have something to learn in these areas and the lessons are starting NOW!  The wonderful part of all these hard lessons is that in the middle of them, some understanding, some teaching, and some helpful insights always come along.  Kind of serendipitous how that always seems to happen when you need it.  In case you are taking the same life lessons that I am in the middle of, let me share some of them with you.

1.  WHEN TO SPEAK OR WRITE:  I thought I knew how to write a paper, but I found myself in a bit of a rush with the last paper I had due this past term and made one big error:  I started to write having only finished half of my research.  The result was a messy conglomeration of 10 pages that wandered here and there, saying a bit of this and a bit of that, but not really saying anything coherently.  Ugh.  I realised that I needed to stop writing and took a day to go over all the sources I had not yet looked at, a day that I thought I really could not afford to take. But I did, and after that I was able to write much  more quickly.  I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say, and was able to cut, paste, and edit the mess into a good introduction and first point.  The Lesson:  always take time to listen, read, be informed, get the whole story before speaking or writing.  There is never NOT enough time to be thorough.

2.  IN TIME:  I get annoyed at people who are late.  Not that I am never late myself, but I try to always be where I said I would be at the time I said I would be there.  Walking in late, to me, is disrespectful and an indication that I believe my agenda is more important than anyone else's.  Being late is asking other people to be inconvenienced so that I need not be.  Faithfulness is a really big deal to me, and that's a good thing, but this annoyance is ungracious when it surfaces, and is an indication that there is something I need to learn here.  In general, I believe there is something that we as followers of Jesus don't get regarding time.  For the most part, we simply adopt the values and attitudes of the culture around us and never think what it means to view time according to God.  While I was thinking about how we can go about aligning our times to God's times, one of my profs sent me the info for a new book coming out:  Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to Well-Ordered Way by Stephen Macchia.

Here is a paragraph describing the book:  "All of us have an unwritten personal rule of life. We wake at certain times, get ready for our days in particular ways, use our free time for assorted purposes and practice rhythms of work, hobbies, and worship. There is already a rule in place that you are following. Isn’t it time to give up your unwritten rule and prayerfully write one that more closely matches the heartbeat of God?"  Yes, please.  I will be ordering this book.  The Lesson:  there IS a way to line our times up with the times and seasons of God.  Teach me, O Lord.

3.  HEY MATTE, CAN YOU????  I get frequent requests to help others out in various ways: it could be listening to someone tell me their problems, connecting with friends new and old, hosting house-guests, providing food or gifts or skills, or participating in a project.  For the most part, I am happy to assist.  But lately, the requests have come thicker and my time and energy is thinner.  Just when I was beginning to feel conflicted about not spending enough time with the people who come across my path, or being a good hostess, I came across this post by a fellow introvert.  It helped me put things in perspective and realise that the small, hidden, private, pondering, silent things I do have a lot of value and should not necessarily be shuffled aside for the larger, more public demands.  Here is the link to: 10 Myths About Introverts.   The one quote I really like is this:  "A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers."  The Lesson:  nourish my gifts/skills and take the time to develop them.  Invite people into my life as God directs me, and do not neglect the gift which God has placed in me.  Through it, I can love and serve him and others best!

the photo:  my new office where most of my research, pondering, and writing happens.  Thanks to Dean for helping me set it up. I love it!


Shelley said…
this morning's devo at school had the comment that the phrase "my time is not my own" is true! That's a profound thought!

I LOVED the blog...and I loved his reference to 'my people' :D

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …