Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let Go

Some say "let go and let flow" others say "let go and let God."

In the book I'm studying, A Call to Die, David Nasser says, "[God] will always amaze us with how He'll use us. We have to keep our eyes open because He will blow our minds with where He will lead us.  Sure, He lets us get into patterns that will give us some stability, but as soon as we are established, He leads us in new directions to new experiences of enjoying Him and letting Him use us."

Below are some definitions I find helpful.

Devotion - earnest attachment to a cause or person

Diligence - constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.
Discipline - activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training;
the rigor or training effect of experience Freedom - exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc., the power to determine action without restraint.

The three D-words up there are words that many people use interchangeably.  I found it really helpful to compare and contrast them.  

I realize now that I am devoted, but since devotion is more of a feeling (attachment) than a course of action, being devoted is not the ideal.  You can be attached to a cause or person that you don't spend a lot of time pouring into - like me and health and fitness.  That being said, devotion means a little something, because there are tons of things to which each of us is not devoted.  Like I am not devoted to American patriotic rhetoric and ideology.  I am not devoted to secularism, godlessness.  I am deeply devoted to religious ideology. 

I am only diligent about a few things - God, personal relationships, and writing (in that order).  Those are the only things for which I will stop what I'm doing to go fix it or go nurture it. I lost a lot of sleep last night with my writing partner Kashlee Banx.  I have lost some sleep and some gas recently with a new friend.  But I cannot count the number of times I have been unavailable to work or to go out or to join in because of a church function or a Bible study or a conversation with someone about God. 
I will have to become more and more diligent to teaching, to my studies and research, to planning and executing.  I seriously wonder if I will ever be diligent at exercise.  Devoted, perhaps. Diligent? I'm just not sure. 

Discipline is what I lack in all areas.  I hate being stuck in a rut.  I get bored with processes very easily.  Even though I spend time with God every day, reading the Word and journaling, reading devotional books, etc., it is hard for me to finish a book cover to cover.  It is hard for me to complete the same process day in and day out.  It's hard for me to follow a Bible reading plan.  I like to jump around and be spontaneous.  This is a problem because sometimes the payoff doesn't come if you don't complete the whole process. I think this is more true spiritually than in any other area.  I need to be more disciplined to finish what I start. says freedom is about lack of external control or restraint.  I am free, perhaps a bit too free.  I am great at responding to the world around me, taking immediate instruction, helping in crises.  Many people are not.  Have you ever met someone who can never do anything that wasn't on their to-do list?  They can't meet you for coffee because right now is their scheduled study time; are you available in two hours? Maybe they can schedule you in for next Monday? There is nothing wrong with a structured life, but it has its downfalls just like an unstructured one.  I think sometimes (external) diligence infringes on (internal) freedom. Sometimes we don't see the forest for the trees. We sometimes take the beauty and adventure from life with the implementation of structure.  

Here is a story to close:

I am devoted to, diligent in, and fairly disciplined at maintaining pure relationships with men.  I believe that a lot of the problems in my culture can be traced back to an excess of freedom about purity and sex.  High demands, low standards, low expectations, low responsibility and weak will.  So I don't really date.  I don't spend much alone time around men.  I try to keep text messages and hang time regulated to daylight hours.  

Recently, I met a man while I was out performing.  We had a deep conversation with some other people one night and each realized that the other was intelligent and insightful.  He began starting conversations with me over social networking and invited me to spend time with him.  Because of our work schedules, the best time for us to talk was when I get off after 9 p.m.  This made me leery at first.  My perspective was that it simply is not proper to spend time with a man at this hour.  But our conversations are very pure.  He has never made a pass at me.  Nothing inappropriate has happened or even been hinted at.  And I recently have felt more and more comfortable talking with him about spiritual things.  I recently shared with him a sermon that I heard at church.  

I am not advocating lowering your standards or your level of responsibility.  Not all men are respectful or trustworthy.  Not all women are pure or innocent.  I especially don't encourage too much after-hours hang time between teenagers - there are too many hormones and too little experience with the world.  There is so much more to learn about yourself as a young woman or young man.  But I am glad that, as an adult, with a healthy foundation in discipline and diligence, I did not let the three D's keep me from being free enough to perhaps really encourage my new friend and plant some seeds for positive change in his life.  

Learn the limits of freedom and the beauty in structure. 
(Please comment or respond in whatever way you want to or can on this topic - even if you disagree.)

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