June 13, 2010

When to Go and When to Stay

My SIL is in town to help care for her (and my husband's) parents. My MIL has been ill the past few weeks, and was hospitalized for a short time. She is doing much better, but is still in need of some extra rest and care. My SIL has come in for the weekend to help take care of some things, and generally, just give her some comfort and companionship. It is nice that she is able to do this -- not everyone can fly in on a moment's notice. I am glad that she not only is willing to do this, but often does make the trip regardless of the expense to her and her family.

I am in a strange boat right now. I am not really part of the family anymore. Though I am still married, and still living with my husband, something clearly has changed within the family -- dynamics, I mean. I was up at my inlaws last evening and again this evening, and something was just off. That is probably the easiest way to say it. I don't think it was a strangeness over my immediate position or situation; but rather, it was just a distant coldness, an unfriendliness, and a sense of "I am not interested in you." That probably doesn't make sense, but perhaps you have experienced something similar at an event or gathering. You just seem to be like a flower on the wall. No matter how much you jump in, chime in, and try and make conversation, you are simply being ignored. You are there, but not recognized as being there. It was really weird for me (not unusual, mind you -- but more noticeable than at other times). Perhaps I am more aware of the strangeness of the relationships or perhaps it is because I am now acting like my own person. I am no longer being pulled and cajoled into doing what other people want me to do; no, I am pretty much set in my own way and doing what I want now. If someone tells me to do something, I typically say "no, thank you." I am more critical now of the "telling" aspect and pretty much say "no" when I am told to do something. The only one who has the authority to tell me to do anything is the Lord. Other people can ask, and I am always willing to consider their request -- but I no longer respond to people telling me to do something.

So there I was, in this weird setting, trying hard to fit in, and seeing myself as a "duck out of water." In fact, I said that to the Lord, "Lord -- I really am a duck out of water!" I cannot explain how this is, but it seems to be more and more the case. The more I am determined to be what God calls me to be; the less I am willing to be anything other than what He wants of me. I am changing, that is for certain, and I am getting more vocal about my position on things. I am trying not to be too assertive, but I am also not being a wall flower any more. I guess my extended family are not quite sure what to make of me anymore. I mean, I am no longer "Complacent Carol" and now have become more of a "Confident Carol." I am my own person, thanks to the Lord's doing, and am finding that I am no longer willing to spend idle time doing idle things.

Don't get me wrong -- sometimes it is OK to be idle. I just like to choose how to spend my idle time. For example, I don't really enjoy watching sports on TV, so for me, sitting in front of a TV set and watching some game is really boring to me. And, furthermore, add to this a family gathering where everyone is doing this same thing, well...I would rather stay home. The same is true for conversations about politics. I have never been political, but come from an extended family that is very political. My inlaws and husband are conservative in their views (as am I), but they tend to be very vocal about what they believe and such. My views have shifted over the course of the past year, and I have taken a more apolitical approach to government and law. I am no longer partial to one party or even to one set of views. I choose the Bible first, God's law second, and governmental leanings last. I am glad for my government, and I am glad to be living in this country -- but I don't believe that we have the right or the power to change our government.

Some Christians are politically active, and they believe that it is their right to change our nation back into a Christian country. I don't see this as ever being possible nor do I believe that it ever was really true in history. A country is not Christian. The people who make up the country may be Christian -- but the nation state itself is null and void -- it is nothing. I believe that God is Sovereign and that He establishes the nations. He is the final authority on who rules and because of sin and sin nature, man has the free will to choose to obey or disobey God's law. Our nation is ruled by lawless, sinful people. They do not make wise decisions, and they do not seek what is best for the people. Some of our politicians are Christians, some are other faiths, and some actually do try to do good. Most are power-hungry, lust full, and seeking fame. I don't place any trust in them or in the government or in any person in authority. My trust rests in God alone.

I think I am strange because truthfully my views have radically changed. I now see the poor as needing help, the sick as needing healing, and the oppressed as needing liberation. God has shaped my worldview so that I see what He sees and I am glad for it. I am no longer seeking what is right based on a political party -- no, I am seeking what is right based on God's word. I don't mean to sound arrogant in this point, it is just that for so many years I really believed that to be a good Christian meant that I needed to be politically saavy and active (signing petitions, voting a certain way). I just have come to see things differently lately. I read God's word and then want to do what it says -- regardless of the person's color, race or faith (or political position). I have been accused of being a socialist in my desire to see the world fed, children given clean water, and medicines provided to help with rampant disease. Hmmm...I know what it means to be a socialist. I have studied Marxism. I have studied Rosseau's Social Contract. I guess my views are this: what would Jesus do? Would He be accused of being a socialist when He gave living water to all the Samartians? Or would He be accused of being leftist because He healed the multitudes who were dying of sickness? I don't think so, but it sure sounds that way if you try and state your views and say that you believe God's will is for Christians to minister to the sick and needy. I guess my question is this: who qualifies as sick and needy these day? Do the Mexican immigrants who come illegally into this country qualify? No, they need to be sent back home to their own country (some would say). I tend to think that they need our help regardless of where they come from or go to -- that is Christian charity IMHO.

Oh well...this post has digressed into politics and that is not where I wanted it to go. I just was put off a bit tonight because my views are no longer consistent with the political system in my country. I am glad for our system of government, I am just more interested in doing things God's way.

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