How many times have I listened to one, single story of a people group or a country or a family or a person and that one, single story became everything that I know about them? I judged and believed and repeated that judgement all too often. All based on one, single story.
I am ashamed. I am ashamed of being so narrow minded and ignorant. For a person who has a passion for justice and a passion for all to be heard and not judged I can be so closed.
The following video is life changing. I literally wept when I heard this woman speak. We need to listen. To everyone. No more labels or judgements. I know, as humans, we so easily fall back into that pattern. I know I do. I am a constant work in progress. 🙂
May this woman speak to your heart as she did mine:
I was struck deeply one day by a story I heard from a friend of mine. It was about worship.
I’m not talking about the act of worship, which I’m sure has different meanings to many of us. Some think of the music portion of a church service or perhaps music that moves you deeply when alone with God. That’s what I always thought of it as. And there is nothing wrong with any of our perspectives of worship. But I found a deeper worship after I heard his story.
It went something like this:
My friend was in a country in Africa. A small village. A group of people who worked hard physically and also held a deep love of God in their hearts.
One day my friend was helping to shovel sand/dirt into or out of a truck. He worked alongside a man he was growing a close relationship with. The African man was able to shovel hard and fast. My friend, quite physically competitive by nature, saw it as a competition. The harder his African friend worked, he worked harder, and harder. Faster and faster. He realized that no matter how fast he shoveled his friend got more accomplished.
This frustrated my friend. So much that he stopped shoveling and grabbed his friend and tossed him on the ground. He asked the African how he can shovel so much more than him?
The lovely man from the village took my friend up a hill nearby that overlooked a field. There, below them, was a man plowing a field with his beast in tow. He simply told my friend to look at the man working the field. That is his worship. The shoveling I do is my worship to God.
That simple act of doing what you do. Very possible doing what you were created to do……. that is your Worship to God.
I thought long and hard and deep on this one. I’ve been a worship leader, guitar in hand, etc. But when this story penetrated my heart I realized that there is more to worship than I was taught or shown.
I realized that this journey with God that I have been on has been my worship. The molding and shaping He is doing in me and the revealing of my true self and who He created me to be – the talents, the personality, the gifts, the skills, the whatever – this is my worship to Him.
This is by far one of the most freeing experiences I have ever come to realize. And I don’t feel that I’ve totally grasped the deepest meaning. I am so caught up in my discontents in what He has me doing at this point in my life that I do believe I miss the wonderful, loving, truly joyful act of worship with Him – my life that He gave to me.
Find your worship, Dear Reader. I guarantee that you will find peace and love and joy when you do.
I have a Christmas Tree story. Many years ago, when the kids were quite young, we lived in a mountain town in California. The town and outlying neighborhoods rested at about 3500 feet in elevation. We were in a valley, of sorts, and the higher peaks went up to about 6,000 to 8,000 feet. They say the elusive California Condor nested up in the higher heights. I never saw one while we lived there, but a friend of mine did.
Back to the Christmas tree. A family we knew asked our family to join them in cutting down our Christmas trees. The man’s parents owned a cabin and land higher up the mountain and we could go up and each get a free Christmas tree – and a very fresh one at that. Of course we said yes!
Our family piled into our gigantic four-wheel drive, older model, Chevy Blazer and their family into their four wheel drive pick up truck.
It had been snowing in the higher elevations -really snowing. When we got to the road, that led us to the cabin, the man got out and unchained the gate. The snow was deep. We both set our vehicles into four wheel drive and up we went. Our friends truck slid into a rather deep ditch. Thankfully, we did not.
We tried pulling them out, etc., but realized he was very stuck and we all piled into our vehicle. He assured us his dad could help him get the truck out the next day – and they did.
Here we were in a real live Winter Wonderland. Kids were running around and playing in the snow. Our friend was putting on some belts and such and wielding a hand saw. I was wondering which trees do we pick? All seemed very tall and I couldn’t find those cute ones on ground level.
With those thoughts running through my head I turned, and saw our friend halfway up a very tall pine tree. He had his belt around the trunk and off he went – much like a phone repair man on a telephone pole. Boy did he go high! I had to ask his wife what the heck he was doing!?! She calmly, and proudly, told me that he does this every year. He saws the top of the pine off and there you have a beautiful tree.
I was wrapping my mind around that one, when I heard a cry and a tree came tumbling down from the sky. He then proceeded to climb another tree for ours. Amazing. I had no idea that someone actually did that.
Here is a pic (not mine) of one climbing a tree:
Here is my previous experience, and what I saw in my head – commercial Christmas Tree Farm:
Well, we strapped the trees on top of our vehicle and loaded two families (total of seven children) into the vehicle and down the mountain we went. We loved it.
Now, for the best part. That tree was so fresh, and by fresh it was FULL OF OOZING SAP, that when we placed it into the metal tree stand, well, it flattened the stand. Totally. The legs rendered useless. So, we had to build a stand out of wood, like an X.
We decorated it and kept wiping the sap off of our hands. It was beautiful and perfect and fresh.
One evening, as we were finishing our dinner, a friend came by, as he often did. He made himself comfortable on the couch right next to our beautiful, ever so fresh, Christmas tree.
That was when we heard a creeeeeek, and our friend say, “Oh no!”
We looked, and there was Brian, buried under our ever so fresh Christmas tree! It was so heavy from the sap that it could not stand on it’s own. I had visions of us going to the lot down the street and buying a not so fresh tree to replace this one.
No worries, we dug out Brian and he went to his truck and screwed an eyelet in the wall and we tied the tree to the wall. Yes we did!
That experience has left us with a wonderful memory of a Christmas past.
It is Friday. The weather has warmed to a normal temperature. The sky is blue and the sun is bright.
Tomorrow an old friend is stopping by for a night, with her daughter and doggie, on their way to a new adventure in the eastern part of our country.
I love catching up with old friends. Facebook just isn’t enough.
I must go and prepare. Here is a picture of a building I found in The Burg. Honestly, I have no idea of the history of this painting. If someone knows, please, let me know. I have been fascinated by this since we moved here.
I love old brick buildings. I love the hidden stories that can come from them………