I find myself in a book jam. I have too many good books started at the same time, and when I have time to read I can't decide which to pick up.
Reading is the one area of life I usually can keep free of compulsion. I read because I can, not because I have to, and I usually read what I like, not what I think I should. If a book doesn't catch my interest, I stop reading.
But then there is everything else in life nearly always predicated by a should.
It is in the world of books, which I pick up purely for enjoyment, that I find the most life and satisfaction; often within a randomly chosen book or poem or blog I will find a word or glimmer or some thing I didn't know I was searching for.
I assume that for people who run or make music or study or bake there is this same sense- the satisfaction of doing something purely for the joy of it, and by chance stumbling upon some deeper meaning or value in the process.
I think there is an application to the Christian life here, but I'm not quite sure what it is . . .
I really love this by Frederick Buechner, and it is the way I am trying to learn how to live:
"Thus, when you wake up in the morning, called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.". . . where your feet take you. There is something liberating about this, if only I could learn how to trust it.
I wrote about this tension before, of being dead to self but mostly alive unto God. That was in 2009, and I am thankful for this thing I still am learning, maybe growing a little more comfortable with- being alive.
I wonder how to teach my daughters how to live in this tension; right now we are in the obedience stage and we are trying to teach them to obey their parents because it is obedience to God. "Choose what is right even when it's not what I want." . . . I think that is what we want to teach. . .?
But really what I want them to learn is to love God and love good things.
I hope they will love wisdom and peace and that they will somehow recognize and follow good things-- that their feet will take them there.
How do I teach that really it isn't about "not what I want" but about yes wanting- the true and lovely and honorable things?
Yes they need to do what is right but it is more important that they love what is right. And sometimes what is right might seem like the wrong thing, to some people,but it is the heart that discerns, not the shoulds and shouldn'ts but the heart, and the living, the breathing Word of God, the Spirit who says Come.
I don't know how to teach my kids this, but I pray for it. I'm not sure I understand it myself.