Friday, May 30, 2008

Chartreuse is the New Black

Yes. I’m going chartreuse. To say I’m going green is probably pushing it a bit much. But part of God opening my eyes to what’s going on in the world around me (see previous post) has been Him opening my eyes to the way I treat the world He created. And if I’m going to really live what I believe, I’ve decided I need to start taking care of the world and living more consciously. (And by the way, taking care of the world doesn’t just mean the physical planet; it also means human beings!) I was definitely one of those people who thought that the green way of life would be tedious, time consuming, and boring. I thought environmentalists = eco-nerds. But I’m learning that taking care of the planet doesn’t have to be weird granola/hippie stuff. I’m taking baby steps. Just one little change makes a difference! 

So today, I made my second trip ever to Wild Oats. (The first time I went to try out an organic salad…I felt like I was eating dirt). Anyway, I went today to see what alternatives were out there for some of the products that I buy without ever thinking about them. And I experienced two little surprises while I was there – one good, one bad. The good surprise was that there were actually normal people shopping there (which confirmed my belief that I don’t have to be an eco-nerd to care about the environment). The bad surprise was that going chartreuse is stinkin’ expensive! I was only able to make a few purchases…we’ll have to take it a little bit at a time.

I do have only one plea for all who read this: buy a FEED bag! If you have a Whole Foods near you, they sell them there. Or you can buy one online ( Each FEED bag provides 100 school meals to hungry children in Rwanda through the UN World Food Program…and the bonus is that it’s a great bag to have as an alternative to paper/plastic when you go shopping!

So the things you can do to start taking better care of the world are endless. But like I said, I’m taking baby steps. Here’s my current list of things to do/not to do (I'm probably gonna need some accountability around some of these things, too...).

Things done:

  •        Bought a reusable water bottle and coffee mug (no more paper cups or plastic bottles)
  •        Bought canvas shopping bags for groceries (again…no more paper/plastic) and a FEED bag
  •        Started recycling cans and bottles
  •        Bought CFL light bulbs
  •        Bought a few natural/organic products at Wild Oats 

Things I still want to do:

  •        Avoid supporting companies that use sweatshops (which is definitely going to require some research…)
  •        Buy more secondhand items (thrift store shopping is so fun anyway!)
  •        Buy a recycling bin and start recycling paper (along with the cans and bottles)
  •        Buy a couple of houseplants
  •        Start buying from free-trade coffee shops (this one’s painful…WHY, Starbucks, WHY?!?!)
  •        Stop buying air fresheners (apparently they are the greatest evil)

Things I refuse to do:

  •        Compost
  •        Grow my own vegetables and herbs (I would kill them all…)
  •        Stop burning candles
  •        Stop using deodorant
  •        Stop eating meat (I love burgers and steaks too much)
  •        Selective flushing 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

To the Full

the first official blog pressure...haha

So God has really been waking me up to a lot lately. He loves to do that...and I love when He does, even when it stings. He's been waking me up to what's really happening in the world around me, popping my little "bubble of comfort" that I had created for myself...and breaking my heart for all the pain, suffering, and injustices of the world. If we really take a look around us, we'll see that we are living in a world of zombies, in a world of people who are breathing air, but not really living. And sadly, it’s a deadness that has infected even the church. Deadness is in the air. You can see it in people’s faces. They’re searching for something more.

I’m thinking that there’s really three ways you can “be” in the world. There’s existing…there’s living…and there’s living to the full. 

I was one of those grew-up-in-a-Christian-home, in-the-pews-every-time-the-church-is-open typical, nice Christian girls. I said the right things and stayed out of trouble. I thought I was doing everything right. But I knew down in the depths of my being that I was missing something. I looked at other Christians who were living passionate and purposeful lives, and I knew they had something I had missed. There was very little about my walk with Christ that brought me true joy or passion or fulfillment. It wasn't until I started actually falling in love with the Lord (when I was about 19) that I realized I had never really loved Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I had followed the rules and the religion, but had completely missed the relationship. 

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Notice that the verse does not say,  “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have belief…”. Christianity was never meant to end at just believing in God. He came to offer life! It’s very possible to exist, but not be alive. You can do all the things that existing entails – you can go to school, you can eat food, you can get married, have a family, have a job -  and never really be alive! You can exist without ever knowing the depth and meaning that God created you to know and experience. So this invitation to know and follow Jesus has very little to do with staying away from beer and curse words and rated R movies. He didn’t come to offer rules and religion. He came to give us life, and life to the full!

But in the past few months, I’ve started to realize that there’s a difference between “life” and “life to the full”. I think I had somehow fooled myself into thinking that there was an end point to this – that once you fall in love with Jesus, you’ve found life to the full, and that's the end of the story. But God has really been challenging me lately - challenging me to look at my daily life and determine whether or not it is truly reflecting His Word (all of His Word). It’s been really hard and really humbling, but so good and so necessary. 

The most challenging Scripture for me over the past few months has been Isaiah 58. The people of Israel were a good people. In some ways, they were like me. In many ways, they were better. They kept up their religious practices and regularly sought God. They went to Temple every day, devoted themselves to learning about God, prayed faithfully. In them, I saw myself…keeping up with the religious practices, seeking God, eager for Him to come near. And the Israelites rightfully asked God, “Does this not please you?” And His answer to them hit me right between the eyes. He wasn’t impressed. He answers, “Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?” It’s a crushing thing to hear…and I was hearing it in my heart. What does God want from His people? He tells them “to loose the chains of injustice, to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked to clothe him.” That is some messy stuff. But what if what God wants is messy? What if, like the Israelites, my spiritual service was a bit too tidy? A bit too contained in the white walls of religion? A bit too focused on me? What if all this time I’ve been polishing myself up to exhibit spiritual excellence when what God really wants is something completely different? Not to stay home perfecting myself, but to go out into the world. To transform it through action, in service and in love. And while being in love with my Maker and growing spiritually are so very important, I’m starting to realize that I’m on this planet for more than just that. We are here to be tools of restoration, to restore broken places. But we just tend to get stuck and let it end at redemption, at salvation. If we let it stop there, we lose our place in this world. 

I believe that when you start to re-connect with your true purpose, you start to get a taste of what life to the full is all about. But I’m also starting to realize that there’s not an end point to this. Just when you think you’re experiencing “life to the full”, God shows up and says, “ah you think that’s good? Let me show you something else!”…and then He starts to open up another world of life to you! It’s a never ending journey. God is changing the way I view my life, the way I view my money, the way I view my time. My entire perspective on my purpose here is changing…it’s been off track. And I believe that God is calling me – is calling us -  to do something about it, to get in the game, to take a risk for His kingdom. The Body of Christ is starting to wake up from its sleep. There are many people who are ready to rise above a world that no longer dreams and no longer feels, that only exists. And this is where I believe “life to the full” begins to be realized…

okay, okay...

I'm such a sucker. I'm finally giving in. Shara, Jackie, didn't take too much effort, I know...but you sucked me in. And if history repeats itself, I'm sure I'll be a full-on blogging addict within a few weeks...maybe days. :)  But I love to write too much to not have one of these. And I love hearing what's going on in other people's lives...especially when they involve here I am. A "real" post soon to come...