Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Superhero Cape

There is a problem that I see with myself and my lady friends. Perhaps it is generational, or this point in our lives, because we all have it to some degree. We, apparently, all have our superhero cape stashed in the front of our closets just waiting for any opportunity to seize it and fly.

Indeed, I do see this as a problem because when I pull this out of my closet everyone around me sort of cringes and backs up. They know that in order to do my new monumental feat, I have to go beyond myself and take on things outside of the natural realm.

Superhero thinking: In my mind, I am about to leap off of the cliff into a lovely glide, as I jet off to save the day. In everyone else’s mind, I am doing what does not belong to me. Thus, why I need the cape.

My cape is lovely. It has crystals…no, it has diamonds and opals (that is my birthstone). So, at a moments notice, I seize my cape and instill fear in the very ground I stand on, as I leave the earth behind.

Being a Christian woman only makes it worse. I have so many good causes around me, worthwhile ways to spend my time. It can’t be said that I am wasting my time. I am making meals or planning activities. I am teaching…what is so wrong with teaching?

So, today I found myself in 1 Corinthians 6 and 7. In these chapters, there is an underlying reason for everything Paul says, and it is a really simple message. We need to do what is good for us and what promotes peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15, says, “…It is to peace that God has called you.” 1 Corinthians 7:32, says, “I want you to be free from anxieties…”

Peace sometimes feels like a far off planet, which actually does require superpowers to reach. Paul tells us that this peace, this lack of anxiety should be found in our everyday circumstance.

1 Corinthians 7:21-23, “Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.”

Superhero thoughts: Reading this, I might think that my real obligations are in my current circumstance, without the superhero cape. Maybe I should just hang it up in the back of my closet for emergencies…it is pretty, after all.

So, what about the things that are in my ‘present condition’? Notice that Paul is speaking to slaves. So, could he be saying that being free is in your mind? You already are free. You already have the power to change the way that you think about your circumstance because of who you are in Christ.

I had a job, once, that I enjoyed on occasion. I viewed that I was chained to it. One day, I just looked around and saw that I was the only Christian there. That night, I stopped referring to it as my job and started calling it my mission field. It changed everything. In my mind, I had a different reason for being there. It made that time valuable.

Paul is telling us to take advantage of our situations, literally to avail ourselves of the opportunity inside of our circumstance. It might look like a ball and chain, but it is up to us to bedazzle it!

Let’s take this mental challenge one step further…1 Corinthians 7:29-31, “I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.”

What hinders you from thinking about your current circumstance differently? Our spouses should not hinder us, our sufferings should not hinder us, our euphoria should not hinder us, our possessions should not hinder us…and, certainly, this world should not hinder us. It is going to be over in a flash.

Does this even sound realistic in your home? My dishwasher has been broken for almost three weeks. I can tell you that I do feel hindered, and I am sitting here trying to think of a way to change this thinking to freedom. Help me out, here.

So, why should we live like it we are not really bothered by these things? Why should I bother to hit the reset switch in my brain?

1 Corinthians 7:35, “I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.”

There are two things that Paul gives us as reasons for this beneficial instruction. It leads to order, which is a good thing. My house is ALWAYS more peaceful when it has order. It, also, allows us unhindered devotion to the Lord. Our current circumstance needs to be defined as peaceful, so that we can completely be His.

So, let’s look at our lives for a second. I told you that I was trying to decide where the Lord was leading me to serve this fall. I realized that there are certain tasks that are so natural to me (ones that I think of peacefully)…and then there are the ones that require the cape (ones that make me anxious).

The cape makes my life stressful. It makes me levitate. It makes my husband retreat. It makes people look at me and say, “I think she might have too much on her plate”.

These verses in chapter 6 & 7, are Paul’s little instruction book that says, “Don’t sweat it. Be free”. They have been good for me to soak in, this morning. So, I think that I want to be free. I am going to have a cape burning. Want to join me?

Father, thank you for FREEDOM! Thank you for giving us a life which is not tied to our circumstance. Let us not be mastered by any human, or any thing. Show us where your freedom lies in each of our lives today.

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