Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From My Commonplace: What does it matter?

"…What does it matter what committee you serve on?  What promotion you get?  That book you labor to write and push to publish, someone will end up resting a coffee cup on, without any care as to your sacrifice.  Your children are only young once.  Your marriage provides you a chance to put someone else first daily.  Such things refine your soul." (p.285)
~Carolyn Weber, Surprised by Oxford
Another little gem from one of my very favorite books.   I struggle with this: wanting to do something that "matters" – something that "counts".  Some of that is pressure that I've felt in the missionary/ministry culture I've been part of my whole adult life, and some of that is pressure that I put on myself.   If I'm honest with myself, what I really mean by that is something that other people notice and recognize.
Our church women's group recently finished a four-session study on the Proverbs 31 woman.  Our conclusion was that God doesn't ask us to do all of those things mentioned in that chapter at once.  We all have different gifts and different callings and are in different seasons of life.  Just because God has called me to do one thing in this season, that doesn't mean He won't call me to do something else in a different season.  So…no pressure.  Bottom line: do the thing that God has put in front of you to do today.  Do it faithfully.   Trust Him for the outcome.
Such things refine your soul, regardless of whether or not anyone else noticed.

My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Galatians with the Paul for Everyone Commentary (NT Wright)
The Daily Office Lectionary Readings and Prayers from The Trinity Mission
 Theological: You Are What You Love (Smith)
AO Book Discussion Group: I Promessi Sposi (Manzoni)
Personal Choice:Gilead (Robinson)
Poetry: Collected Poems 1909-1962 (TS Eliot)
With my Hubby: Emma (Austen)
Family Read-Aloud Literature: Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)
*I am also reading Charlotte Mason's Volume 6 for a local CM book club, but these meetings are infrequent, and it is my third – or fourth? – pass through it and so I just read the brief section assigned as our meetings come up. 
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  1. Oh, I needed this, Jen. I've been tussling over some things and I've come to the point where I think God's telling me to let go and as you said, trust God for the outcome. I just started reading Tozer's Root of the Righteous. He says we need to stop worrying about the fruit and take care of the root - the hidden part. Refining the soul - yes! Thanks for your thoughts. X

    1. Yes - I love that way of putting it. Take care of the root, and quit worrying about the fruit. I'll have to keep that image in mind.

  2. Wow. Now I REALLY need to read this book!! I picked up the Smith book last week and read a few pages - it IS really good. Since then, though, I was loaned a copy of Pat Conroy's The Death of Santini which necessarily had to be placed on the top of the book pile. Since I am loving it, I know this will be a "binge" read so that I can quickly return to my previously scheduled list:). I will be pulling Gilead off the shelf soon to read as well, but have to finish a few novels I've started before I can add that in (Island of the World, I Promessi and The Mill and the Floss).

    1. Yes. Yes you do need to read it. I just finished Smith. Fantastic. Makes up for any and all deficiencies of Desiring the Kingdom. I'm sure I'll be writing more about much of my summer reading dovetailed together so very nicely (and for whatever's it's worth, tied right in with our church retreat speaker on 2 Timothy too). I am enjoying Gilead too, although it is definitely a slow-simmer type of book, not a binge-read. So much to read, so little time...sigh...

  3. Ooh, such a good quote! I sometimes wonder... how much of the work that we think needs to be done (or other people want us to do!) really needs to be done? We can get so wrapped up in all the various forms of service out there - and the need for *something* certainly is real - but is the work we think we are supposed to do actually filling that need? Or is it largely busywork that makes us feel important and doesn't really serve in the end - or perhaps does help in some degree, but something simpler would have served just as well or perhaps even better?

    Obviously you've struck a cord in me as well... :-)

    1. Hmm...good thoughts. I'm going to have to mull over that one too...