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Showing posts from May, 2010

tripping towards maturity

I had a discussion with friends a few days ago and this question came up: What is the main thing that trips you up time and time again, that keeps you from moving forward and making progress in the direction you want to go? What is the signature weakness (or sin) that you have a hard time overcoming? The honest responses that people offered up, without hesitation, revealed a level of humility and courage that amazed me. These were people who were committed to doing the hard work that maturity requires. Unlike growing older, which happens whether we want to participate in it or not, becoming mature is a voluntary activity. It is a school that not everyone enrolls in, because the assignments are notoriously difficult and the pop exams always on stuff you haven't studied yet.

So, back to our discussion. Some people mentioned pride. One mentioned procrastination. Another listed cynicism. One person said they have a tendency to avoid things. One person suggested that perhaps the place w…

why I have a cat...

Some people wonder why I still have a cat. Jazz in particular. She has a reputation of not-so-nice behaviour. She attacks people, she tries to intimidate and dominate, she can be anti-social, she often tries to escape, and she is always ready for a fight. Plus, she has allergies and bad eyesight. Frankly, I don't think anyone else would have her. She is not a pet for the faint of heart. And that's one of the reasons I like having her around: she demands a courageous master.

Since I was a young girl growing up on the farm, I have always had a great affection for cats. Yes, I was the cat whisperer. I could tame the wildest feline with patience, love, and consistency. I learned how to read them by spending hours watching them and playing with them. I received a lot of scratches in the process, but I also gained a lot of insight. Every life situation is a learning situation, and those things we are particularly fond of can touch us and teach us in particularly significant and profo…

respect

I just returned from 4 days in the East, over half of that time spent with 149 other people. It is at times like this that I get to see those areas of my life that are not yet totally surrendered to love. The occasion was a church conference, pastors' gathering, visit with friends, and road trip all rolled into one, and a bit more intense than usual because I was assisting with registration and had a few added responsibilities. We had a great time worshipping God and hanging out with some pretty cool people, but by the end I was fatigued in body, mind, and spirit, and pretty tired of the constant stimulation that goes with the group dynamic. And that's when I began to focus on the lack of perfection around me.

This time I found myself becoming annoyed at the lack of respect that people exhibit. Excuse me while I let my petty grievances hang out for a bit. I was annoyed at people who don't respect the law: they think it's perfectly fine not to wear a seat belt, and they …

morning prayer

As I lay in bed this morning, contemplating the tasks of the day ahead and knowing my tendency to put things off that are complex, demanding, or not clear, I asked God if he could help me be efficient today. And then I thought about that request for a bit and realised that it was rather lame. Efficient? Really? That's what I wanted this day to say about me? This was what was going to bring a sigh of satisfaction to my lips when I slipped underneath the same covers 16 hours later?

This is what I want to hear? Matte was efficient today. Well done, Matte. Hey, everybody, this is Matte. She is a very efficient person. You should get to know her. And by the way, God is extremely impressed that she got everything done. Efficiency was at the top of his priority list today, too. (that's sarcasm, okay.)

When I thought about it, efficiency does not rank among the virtues or the fruits of the spirit. Instead, there are things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfu…

in the classroom

On Wednesday morning, I talked to three classes of grade 7 and 8 students in an inner city school about Christianity. This was part of a course on World Religions. It was challenging. Bringing something to a group of people who don't necessarily want to accept what you are offering always is.

In the first class of the day, distraction was my main opponent. The kids were sleepy, perhaps hungry, and more interested in untied shoelaces, bruises, and verbally sparring with each other. At one point, the teacher had to tell a group of noisy older students playing right outside our window to move somewhere else. I kept my presentation pretty basic and we managed to make it through all the points. I hope that a few of them actually stuck.

In the second class, the kids were older and much more able to focus on the topic at hand, but it soon became apparent that a few students were not only disinterested in what I was saying - they had disdain for it. A handful of girls with an attitude parti…

coasting

Do you ever feel like your spirit is on vacation? Or a bit neglected because you are concentrating on other parts of your life? For a few weeks now, my spirit has been very quiet. Don't misunderstand me: I am not sad. I am content, and things in life are generally good. However, the passion to pursue God and connect with him are not there to the degree that I know they can be and have been. My prayers are short, and my thoughts wander easily. More than once I have found myself pausing to make tea in the middle of reading the Bible and never returned to the words on the page. Why is this?

When I am overwhelmed and constantly challenged by the tasks and relationships of life, I find it much easier to come to God. Because I really, really need him. I recognise that he is very present and near. My spirit is ever quick to turn to him and listen, to respond and engage. The nattering of worry, fear, insecurity, and stress all serve to drive me to God. He is the only one who makes it possi…

strike one

You don't always hit a home run the first time you swing a bat. When I look back at a lot of different situations in my life, you'd think I would know this by now. But many times I still have the unrealistic expectation of getting things right and making it all come together on the first go. This miscalculation has cost me a lot of hope. And made me drop my faith at times. I have also wasted precious time wallowing in dejected disappointment instead of readying myself for the next swing.

I remember the first time Dean and I visited the model condos in an up and coming neighbourhood in Montreal. We loved the open floorplans, the hardwood everywhere, the mezzanine overlooking the living space, and the vaulted ceilings. We also saw the price tag and realised that we could not afford to live there. It became that illusive dream home that we would never have. Ten years after that initial visit, I sit here under my vaulted ceiling a few blocks from that model condo and write this blo…

does this only happen to me?

You'd think that a stick person wearing pants and a stick person wearing a skirt would make things clear enough, but apparently not. I had just come back from a day downtown with friends. It had been a wonderfully warm day, and humid, too. We had gone to the park to play frisbee and I had consumed several yummy drinks (non-alcoholic). The meandering trip home meant that by the time I got to the end of the metro line, I really had to go to the bathroom. My bus was going to be another 20 minutes, so I thought I would run across the street to the Macdonalds and use the bathroom.

I had never been in this particular Macdonalds and didn't really know the layout. I felt slightly guilty about going in to use the bathroom without buying anything, so I strode in, stood 10 feet back from the counter, scoped out the place, and scoured the menu to see if anything appealed to me. Nope. A girl was wiping trays at the counter and eyeing everyone that walked in the door. It made me feel even mo…