Just want to start off by saying...I love living in Ecuador. This has been the best time of my life...and I haven't said that about a season in a LOOOONG time. Prior to this year I'd count the best time of my life as some of the experiences in college including the travel opportunities I had then and the INCREDIBLE friends I made. I remember being continually caught up in moments where I was just so thankful to be where I was, to know the people I knew, to be learning what I was learning. I was thankful for opportunities to be pushed way beyond my comfort zone and to have my dreams and ideals redefined by new perspectives. I feel the same again.
On my recent Birthday I was again reminded that life is a gift...and not one first for myself. God sent me to earth on purpose and HE intends for me to make good use of my time here. The Work HE has for us on earth is to LOVE and our first Job is to TRUST that HE will take care of the survival details for as long as HE wants us to be here. So much of my life has been lived in pursuit of what I want and what is best for ME. This is wrong. My job is to learn how to LOVE and to bring Glory to GOD..HIS job is to determine what is best for me and to provide what I need for the time HE gives me on earth.
Awhile back I was reading in Matthew and the whole of chapter 6 dominated my attention. Increasingly I am convicted about these "don't worry" verses, without which there is no way we would be living at peace in Ecuador right now. I have a quick worry default - it's just awful, really - my poor husband. Perhaps because of this, these verses won't let go of me. We have intentionally put ourselves in a situation that demanded us to depend more on GOD. In these verses I feel like JESUS is saying, pretty stinkin' directly that it is GOD's obligation to meet our physical needs of food, clothes, shelter and OURS to learn how to LOVE and to bring HIM Glory - period. As much as I struggle with the discipline, I think that one of my first 29 year old "big girl" goals is going to be to memorize ALL of this chapter...though it's neighbors aren't bad either. Here are some excerpts from Matthew 6...
"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name
your KINGDOM come, your will be done, on earth as it is in HEAVEN
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, you whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Therefore...do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of theses. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith? So do not worry saying 'what shall we eat' or what shall we drink' or 'what shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father KNOWS that you need them.
But seek first HIS Kingdom and HIS Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-Matthew 6 (NIV)
On the actual day of my Birthday, August 25, I was in Huarani territory. One of my favorite things we learned from the Huarani was to observe how IN each day they were. They don't think about tomorrow...at all. The whole concept of "planning ahead" is foreign to them. Thy are nomadic by nature, they hunt for their food. If there is food today, life is good; if there is not food, life is still good, they are just a little hungry! There are times when foresight is a blessing; I use this excuse reguarly to justify my zeal for overplanning and stressing out about things beyond my control. However, planning for the future so often steals the present from me.
I never saw the Huarani worry and never heard reference of it in stories. There is no time for worry when you live one day at a time - you are too busy taking care of that day instead of ignoring it to worry about another! I'm sure I'll forget this constantly, but may the L-RD be gracious to me this year as I seek to better pursue only the things of HIS KINGDOM as I live in service to HIM each new day that HE provides for me to remain on this earth.
"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." -Luke 17:33