Learning to breathe

We’ve now been here for 8 months. It has been the quickest 8 months of my life… but also the slowest. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever really been forced to slow down.

When we first arrived, oh I got bored!

Bored – of looking after the kids,
Bored – of there being nothing to do that wasn’t at least 20km away,
Bored – of being hot,
Bored – of myself who grew bigger and bigger as the quieter days continued.

We persevered and what has happened is a simpler more contented perspective.

I have grown to enjoy reading again. I now consume 2-3 books a week if I’m in the mood. This has gone hand in hand with spending time with God. You see, I’m perhaps odd in only enjoying non-fiction at this present time – if it’s not feeding me, then it’s a waste of my energy reading it.  I am listening and hearing from God more. He is becoming more and I am less…and more.

There’s a lot less television. We have enjoyed watching re-runs of Friends and more recently Spooks, but it’s not my automatic “go to” any more. I now ask myself “Is there something I could be reading?”, “Is there a conversation I’d like to have with Chris?”, “Should I spend this time in worship?”

I appreciate nature more than ever before. Nature is more interesting and weird here than back home, but it is amazing to see the small worlds operating around us that we are never normally aware of. I even sit outside everyday. Obviously the weather has a huge part to play in this, but Chris would tell you that back home I never really liked to sit outside much, even on sunny days.

I notice and appreciate my husband and children a great deal more. I have my hard days, but I have fantastic days where the kids constantly amaze me by their exploration of life, learning and love of each other. I’ve enjoyed seeing how teaching Joen a little at home now means he knows the alphabet and asks me most days to “do some learning”.

I’m at the point where home schooling doesn’t seem like such a ludicrous idea and am mulling over the idea of flexi-schooling. I’ve enjoyed seeing Chris in his context and walking with him on his journey.

Living here has shown me that life isn’t about endless projects and deadlines. Yes there are seasons of God given busy-ness, but if we aren’t coming out of a true intimacy with God then what really is the point?

You see as a Christian I get caught up with what I should be doing – praying, reading scripture, sharing God with my kids, helping others… but then this scripture has been hitting me hard:

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.…”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

So I could be doing all the right things, but still get it completely wrong. I don’t want to get to heaven to be told “Sorry, I just don’t know you.”

God created the world to get to know us and us Him, so maybe the relationship part is really important to Him. But He doesn’t want us to strive, He knows it just doesn’t work. Grace is amazing, it covers everything and allows us to breathe. Breathe God in and out in everything we see and do.

God doesn’t want to be compartmentalised. He doesn’t just want the slot on the toilet, or before we start our day or before we go to bed, he wants to consume our day. He wants us to recognise the holiness and majesty in everything our senses allow us.

Washing the dishes – holy.
Changing my child’s bottom – holy.
Looking up at the stars in the sky –
Hanging up the washing –
Looking for my husbands keys (again!) –

Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a way of life.

I’ve read a book recently by Bob Goff called Love Does and he talks about being uncomfortable with ‘following’ Jesus – it sounds like being a stalker.  He points out we are to be walking with Jesus – not merely following Him. For me that looks like sitting on the sofa whilst we both have a cup of tea and having a chat…or not. My heart is only going to be changed if I spend time with Jesus; in doing so, traits tend to rub off onto you! Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a way of life.

That’s the great thing about God: he loves us for who we are, and where we are at. He knows striving to achieve doesn’t work, that’s why we have His Son, so we need to be better at breathing. Breathing Him in and breathing Him out. As a result I strongly feel that God given busyness will feel more like fullness.

So I look forward to the next 8 months – where I worry I shall be overwhelmed by life’s busy-ness – but I am determined to keep breathing God. It’s the only way I can see (at the moment) we can live well, with Him, not trailing behind.

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