Monday, October 21, 2013

Is Jesus at home? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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Jesus became tangible.

Jesus touched people.  He healed people.  He ate real food and drank real wine.  He walked on real water and He spoke in a real voice.  He cried real tears and spilled real blood.

And while I'm grateful to live in an era where I have a machine to wash my dishes and my clothes, I'd really like Jesus to come knock on my door in the flesh.  I want to feel His arms around me.  I want Him to dry my tears off my cheek. I want to audibly hear His voice when I'm confused and frustrated and alone.

The truth is, I was planning on skipping this verse and move right into the identity of John the Baptist. In fact, I had the whole class planned.  But then, the next day, I rediscovered verse 14 and God spoke to me, while not audibly, in a very real way.

As I reread it, I was struck by the word home.  Jesus didn't just appear and order people around.  He didn't just stand at the pulpit and delegate responsibilities.

He made His home among us.  He dwelt among us.

I know what it's like to make a home.  To arrange things to make it comfortable, inviting, and warm.  I display things to remind me of important lessons I'm learning and to help us all remember for whom we live and why.  I know how to make people feel welcome and put them at ease.

But this verse makes me pause and ask myself this:  Is Jesus at home with me?  Would He feel at home with me?

I think Jesus is always comfortable with who we are.  He's God.  He doesn't get intimidated or self-conscious.  But I think we can learn a lot from taking stock of how we treat Him in our life spaces.

(What follows is the exercise we did in class.  Join us?)

Picture Jesus at the door to your house.  He knocks and you open it.  Do you invite Him inside?  Do you step out on the porch with Him?  If you ask Him in, into what area of the house do you go?

You notice He has something in His hands.  Gifts of love and faithfulness, but we'll call them flowers and a warm loaf of bread.  He holds them outstretched.  What do you do with the gifts?  Do you receive them?  Do you say they aren't necessary?  Do you immediately put them away?  Do you hold them close?  Do you say "thank you?"

He's still standing at the front door, but He wants to see the house.  What do you show Him?  What do you not show Him?  What doors do you open?  What doors remain shut?  

You choose a room and sit down.  What is the first thing you would say?  Do?

Your family begins to come home.  What unfolds?  Does Jesus become part of the family or does it feel more like He's an awkward guest?

You think back to that phrase in Jesus Calling:  "Because I am always by your side, the briefest glance can connect you with Me."  Do you catch yourself looking at Jesus as you go through your day?  Or do you stay in your own head, working out scenarios, fixing your own problems?

There aren't any right or wrong answers here.  It's a process of exploring your relationship with Jesus and where you are right now.  We all have parts of our hearts that we've walled off at times, but we must keep revisiting those doors with Jesus to check in to see if we're ready to fling them open.

When I did this exercise, I found a door that was closed.  It's called Pleasure.  It might sound rather silly to you, but the truth is, I don't really know how to pursue fun on my own.  I haven't entertained that life should be enjoyable for me.  It's one of those things where I totally believe it for other people, but haven't been able to go there for myself.

And to be honest, I've felt a bit like a robot lately -- a machine that exists to do things.  And this can happen, apparently, when one gets so focused on work and productivity and need-meeting.  When one doesn't know how to make one's own fun, or know what is truly enjoyable and leisurely, it can be easy to turn to just what comes easy and for me, that's work.

Jesus wants me to open this door called Pleasure and enter in with Him.  But this takes a willingness to give up some time for work.  To risk missing deadlines and planning time.  I fear I'm going to lose my self-motivation and my house might get a little too messy for my liking.

But on the other hand, this robot life is for the birds.  It's time to fling open the door and be free.

Thoughts?  If you go through this exercise, would you share what happens?  Just a glimpse, perhaps?


Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
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photo credit (words added by Jen) photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

27 comments :

  1. Oh such good questions to ponder. I like the illustration of whether you'd just join him on the porch or invite him inside. I'll have to think about what doors I might have closed. I'm sure there are some!

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    1. What I love is that not all the doors are these dark spaces. My door leads to a gift I have been rejecting for quiet some time.

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  2. That's a great exercise you did with your group.I've done a similar thing walking through the rooms in my house and praying scriptures and inviting Jesus there. I want him to feel welcome in every room, even (maybe especially?) the yucky ones.

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    1. I think we also assume we really know what is behind those doors. But with God, we often see them in a whole new light when we view them with Jesus.

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  3. A couple of decades ago, I memorized a dramatic reading as part of our church's drama team that basically was a picture of this exercise. I acted out a scenario where Jesus came to visit my home -- except the "rooms" were different parts of my inward life.... The point was that Jesus wants entrance into every space... but he is not going to demand entrance...we must invite Him in...

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    1. So true. He's not pushy. And I am thankful that He has so much grace.

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  4. Hey lovely, I made a change to my link, so my first one is now broken. Can you delete it? I'm sorry - I shouldn't try to post things after a certain time of day! :)

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  5. So much to think about here. Good words!

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  6. Awesome exercise, Jen. Love this stuff. I am always surprised by what God so lovingly shows me when I let Him in deeper, and deeper still.

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    1. He does do it in such a gentle way, doesn't He. And I am often pleasantly surprised with how He shows me things.

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  7. Wow! This is heavy! I can see Jesus coming to my door and I have all the hesitations with Him that I do with any other guest. I see myself reacting hesitantly to Him as I do with someone who doesn't come to my house often or has never been there. Yikes. That's just my first take. I'll have to spend time with Him to see where He wants to go in my home. Like the pic even if it is flicker.
    Blessings,
    Janis--Please pray for me. Cataract surgery on Tuesday at 9 Pacific time. Recovery real important!

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    1. Lord, I pray for your presence as Janis undergoes surgery. Please be in the hands of the surgeon and please help Janis recover quickly and painlessly. Amen.

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  8. Just read me some Jesus Calling this morning. Love that you read it too. It makes me feel connected to you.

    I can relate to what you are saying about feeling robot-like (love that term I just may steal it). That's usually how I exist, but lately I've really worked on connecting more, and you know what? It's helped.

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  9. If Jesus came into my home, He would see a kitchen I cannot keep clean if I actually use it. I don't have that gift. He would see piles tiredness and grumpiness - and joy trying to scratch its way through. He would see the family machine not working like a well-oiled, precision to the second machine. He would see two brothers baiting each other, 2 others trying to figure out the college work thing - and my husband and I trying to shepherd what seems like a herd of cats - but I would invite Him in, apologizing all over the place, fixing him a cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea - and wanting to cook for him - because cooking fixes everything except the kitchen - LOL. I've never had a problem opening my door and wanting people to come it - it's just living with the ones there:)

    However, I have learned that when I invite Him in - oh,it makes all the difference - the mess, the shepherding, the grumpiness:)

    Awesome message today, Jen - it blessed me!

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    1. This family isn't a well-oiled a machine often, either! But it is much more bearable with Jesus. Perhaps He is the oil?

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  10. Great exercise, Jen--one I'd like to put into practice throughout the day. I love the way you made it tangible. And I love the reminder that we are reading Jesus Calling together over coffee in our mornings.

    Now I just need to get together with you in real life and introduce you to some pleasure and fun!

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    1. Yes, Nancy! Seriously. We need to make it happen. I can't come to Laity Lodge this year because of the SDG retreat (my family doesn't like me gone 2 weekends in a row), but maybe next year?

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  11. I can definitely spend way too much time on auto-pilot. This fall, doing the Color Me Rad run with my kids helped me remember how much fun it is to have fun! And it's helping me keep my eyes open for more opportunities, even in the small things. Like playing playdough with the kids.

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    1. I love that -- thinking about the small interjections of fun He puts in my path. LIfe is always better with eyes wide open.

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  12. Great post Jen! It brings to mind John 14:23 "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode(home) with him". But no one will want to visit if we don't make them feel welcomed! Btw, I'm so glad you're deciding to have FUN my friend!!

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    1. I used that verse yesterday when I was teaching, too! God gave it to me after we had been through the exercise!

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  13. Ok, so much to love in this post... first of all- the verse you began with is totally one of my favorites, and the image of Jesus knocking on the door and stepping into my home- YES, I LONG for that so often. Just told Him this morning when I woke up, "I just want to FEEL YOUR ARMS around me!"- Jesus in the flesh- such an amazing thought. And then that little door called pleasure? I know what you mean by the robotic life- funny, last year the Lord took me on a journey of sabbath and the primary way He invited me to celebrate Sabbath was through "play". I think Jesus is playful, indeed! Go for it, Jen! Join Him in pleasure.

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    1. You know, I am so glad you pointed out that there was a connection between Sabbath and Play for you. God is showing me the same thing and it is really nice to have some confirmation about this. Thank you, friend!

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  14. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for the lovely opportunity to link-up.

    I so loved your post. Very close to my heart! There is a lovely song by Kim Walker Smith and her husband Skyler called 'Home'.

    I enjoyed thinking through the exercise and the images that came to my mind. I spent time considering each one before commenting. I also spent time comparing what I would do with a friend, and a family member, and there are rooms I tend to keep shut with them (particularly the messy ones), I am so thankful to say that as I invited Jesus in, He was welcome in each room (even the messy ones) as I glance and hold my gaze in His direction. I will be thinking further on this an noting it down in my journal. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

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    1. I will have to look up that song -- hope to find it on YouTube, maybe? I love how you took this exercise and made it your own. Welcome to SDG!!

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  15. Wishing you joy in your new play-ing ventures! Thanks for hosting & God bless!
    Laurie

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  16. You certainly have left me a lot to ponder today. I also will work toward flinging open the door of _____ and be free with what Jesus has called me to be. I will spend time praying and asking God to show me what my door is and the journey to this discovery is bound to be exciting. Thank you for your encouragement and the chance to link up. Blessings for a remarkable end to your week!

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