What Are We Laboring for?

What are we laboring for?

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”- U.S. Department of Labor
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As the 19th century waxed old, a new century dawned, full of hope and promise. Farmers left the subsistence lifestyle of the farm and headed for the city and the industry it promised.  They traded work for wage.  The economy of exchange.  For many the days of sitting on the front porch in the evening watching the corn grow became a distant memory. The whistle of the factory and the chime of the clock domineeringly dominated the day.  The rhythm of life is exchanged for the cadence of the clock.
 
What are we laboring for?
My children and I are studying 20th century world history beginning with delving into the late 1800s  as a spring board.  This explains my historical burp.  Labor day has always just been a holiday for my kids, a rest, a picnic, a day off of school.  I interrupted their break day to have a five minute history lesson in context with our recent studies.  My kids have always lived in an exchange economy- dad works for a salary- we spend the salary on housing, food, clothing, entertainment and education.  
What fruit is our labor producing?  The idea of being totally sustainable is not a totally foreign concept to them.  Grandpa beef-farmer grows a healthy garden, Grandma cans the produce and we enjoy sharing in the bounty of canned pears, beans and the like.  Grandma and Grandpa labored to feed and house four children.  They heat their home via two large woodburners, a labor in itself.  They serve hearty meals to sustain labor-weary bodies.  There is a rhythm to farm life.    
 As I pondered the word ‘labor’ this morning and taught my short history lesson, I thought- What am I laboring for?  What is the fruit does the frenzied hurried standard American life produce?  Exhaustion?  Where is the Lord?  Does he fit into all of this?  Do we have time to examine his creation?  Watch the sunset?  Read the Psalms? 
 
“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.  Hurry can destroy our souls.  Hurry can keep us from living well…For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.”- John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted
The leap from labor to hurry is not a not a considerable chasm.  We labor to do the best for our families for various reasons.  We sign up for sports to work the body and add discipline.  We participate in church activities because they are good (right?).  This morning I redid the whiteboard calendar and filled it to the brim with September dates and thought, why?  What can I cut out?  What is worth the hurry?  What should I spend my labor on?  If God’s hand is not in it, I want no part of it.He is a partner in my labor when I am called according to His design and purpose (Romans 8:28).  If it does not adding to my family, exponentially producing spiritual benefits and fruit, then I don’t want it.  Some of it has to go.  What about you?  Are you hurrying with me?   Wouldn’t you love down to slow down and watch autumn paint the landscape? I want to!
Join me this month of September, traditionally a month of busyness and let’s try to intentionally, purposefully slow down.  Share your ideas with me!  Let’s not grow weary in laboring for an intentional time of prayer and purpose.  Let’s pursue the natural rhythm of life and share our successes!
*Note- Positive Adoption is meeting again beginning Wednesday September 9th from 7-8:30 weekly at Trinity Assembly of God, Fairmont WV.

Joy in the midst of hurry?

As I continued my study –Product Detailsthis week, I have discovered something about myself!   Wonderful epiphany!  Glorious revelation.  An insight worth writing down and reminding myself of often!
Here it is:
Once I choose NOT to hurry in a time-pressured situation, then I am able to do things quickly without a hurried heart. 
What?
Does that make sense?  I didn’t know it was possible for me.  I usually turn into robotic woman- devoid of feelings and as fast as the bionic woman (you young ones will have to google her) when I have multiple tasks to complete in a short time frame.  
Example:
The other day with several errands on my plate after a day of homeschooling, a library and two store runs ending with swim practice had me tense at the get go.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I reminded myself.  Slow down, a new maxim for me, what’s the hurry?  How do I not hurry and hurry at the same time.  I signed to my new (In)courage group and read the lesson.
“Everything if given to God can become your gateway to joy.”- Elisabeth Elliot
Our assignment- Do the next thing.
I like to think.  I put these all down on paper, hurriedly mind you, and thought, okay, Lord how do these mesh with what you have been teaching me about slowing down.  How is joy found in the midst of a errand storm?  How is joy found in the middle of my tense shoulders? 

Later, that day, my kids and I took off at the speed of light, our superhero capes picking up as we soared to the library.  My kids conversed with the Professor (as they call him) who seems to live at the library.  I interrupted their conversation.  (WE have to GO my mind screamed, but I prayed a milli-second prayer).
“I don’t mean to be rude, sir, but we have to leave.  We have a tight schedule today.  I would love to stay and chat, but me must go.”
He smiled, “Of course,  I will see you next time.”
That was easy enough.  No robotic woman.  Peace in the midst of hurry.  On to the store.  How will I handle this one, Lord without a tension headache?  Twenty minutes and counting down.  As I practically ran at break neck speed through the aisle with my eye scanning the shelf for salsa verde, I asked the Lord, how do I not hurry when I am in a hurry?  Smile.  Take a deep, puff-out-my-belly-breath.  Whew, I round the corner, smile in place and BOOM-a smile back. I made second of connection with another human being.  I feel frozen in time.  Hurry on the outside, not the in.  Warmth flooded my heart.  I rushed to the cash register to be greeted by a long line.  I can wait. Smile at the cashier.  Late is not the end of the world or my Christianity.  Losing my peace, my temper, snapping at my children or strangers is sin.  Then comes guilt and loss of a good witness.
Ann Kroeker shares:
“What are we passing on to the next generation- a legacy of love and service, practiced in a family that lives slow enough to take notice and respond?  Or are we modeling a life of hypocrisy, passing along nothing more powerful than the importance of arriving on time, as we call out, “Hurry!  There’s no time for that- we’ve got to go!””
Joy CAN be found in the midst of the circumstances, but it is a choice. It must be sought.  Joy and unbelief cannot co-exist.  Complaining and thankfulness are polar opposites- one repels the other.  I cannot walk in the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh at the same time.  The flesh says hurry on the inside and the outside at the same time.  The flesh does not look for the connection of the human spirit or that quiet contemplation that can reside inside despite the outward circumstances. 
We were ten minutes late for swimming.  The lesson was worth it.  I can hurry on the outside while slowing down on the inside and seeking the Lord and His JOY.
* For of you who live in the area-  Don’t forget!  Positive Adoption meets this Saturday, September 28 at 9:30 at Trinity Assembly of God!  Please join us!

Wisdom for Wednesday- Creation Study

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer 
by Walt Whitman

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

I read this poem to the kids the other day and I have been pondering it.  How often do we cram our minds with proofs, figures and facts without taking the time to actually slow down and look at God’s creation?  I have purposed to stop and view the view a few specific places in my daily walks.  I have purposed to watch the sunset.  I love reading facebook posts about hikes, farm visits, apple picking and campfires.  They inspire me.  I applaud those people for stopping and reveling in the glorious creation and enjoying the harvest.

Since I began my book study 
it seems as if I haven’t been able to get a moment to myself.  How can I slow down if I can’t get a moment of silence, Lord?  Amid the facts and figures of the homeschooling day, I am reading and answering questions, unloading the dishwasher, cooking, etc.  You know the drill.  How can I “look up at perfect silence at the stars” when there is no silence/

There is another kind of slowing down, I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me.  There is another creation to purposefully study-  the person in front of you!  The child asking for your attention. 

“Watch this mom!”
“Could you read this?”
“Can you help me with this?”

 How I needed this reminder.  God gently leads us when we are tending our young, our family.  Slow down.  Not so fast.  All of these trials will soon pass, but so will the glorious moment in which you stand right now.  This second.  This tiny measure of eternity will never return.  


Slow Down- What’s the hurry?- Wisdom for Wednesday

“Did you get any rest today?”  Jerry asked me Labor day evening.
“Not really, I should have.”
My body had hit the proverbial brick wall.  Too many week day and weekend activities had clobbered me and my reeked havoc on my immune system.

 I’d been reading Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families by Ann Kroeker, but I seemed to be speeding up, not slowing down.  What’s up with that?

I tried several times to write this post today and it just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t have time or I sounded to preachy.  Too hypocritical.  How could I tell you how to apply the lofty wisdom I dispensed (as handed to me by Ann, of course) if I couldn’t apply one iota of it myself.

As I sat here henpecking my post, it dawned on me like a clear summer morn, I couldn’t apply by my flesh what I am learning in the Spirit.  My mind is being renewed.  I had to chew, meditate, hunker down and think on the words, the thoughts, the ideas.  Here are some questions I am asking myself-

  • What’s the hurry?
  • What are you racing towards?
  • Are you run BY your schedule?
Ann Kroeker says:
“But, maybe we’re getting nowhere-trapped on treadmills, like proverbial hamsters scrambling inside their wheels?”  
Sometimes I feel like a hamster.  How about you?  It takes brain power to slow down, jump off the treadmill and watch.  Settle into the moment.  Breathe.  Think.  When is there time to think in our harried hectic schedule?
What do you think?  If you are reading along with me, what are your thoughts?  
My posty-note this week?
What’s the hurry?

I am going to keep asking myself that over and over.  I will record my answer and share it with you in a later post.  Will you share with me?