Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Fine Balance ~ Titus 2 Tips {on Thursdays} A Guest Post

If you know me at all, if you’ve even read a small portion of the words that I’ve written in my little corner of the world wide web you will know how much I have grown to love community.

I have written post after post about how we were made to live in community with intention and purpose. We were meant to be breaking bread with each other, encouraging one another and wrapping our arms around those who weep and shatter.

I believe to the core of my being we were intended for the purpose of living in community. Gospel is lived out by daily embracing those whom God has seen fit to fill our lives. We were not meant to live this life in an amoebic state, thinking only and solely about our own well-being.

There is a fine balance however, that often tips the scales from living in community to living from community. It’s all about the preposition; community is something we enter in to, not something we use for our own gain.

Living in community is about the Christ in me recognizing the Christ in you and coming together without fear of abandonment. Living in community is about accepting one another as integral parts of the Body, each relying on the other as means of seeking God’s greater purpose in the world and then moving as one toward that purpose.

Living from community is about looking to others for your happiness, your reward, you purpose. Living from community is about not recognizing yourself as a beloved, not recognizing that God is all you require and He is enough.

It’s hard in a world that seems to spin on the axis of social media, when our lives are lived out in Facebook posts, Instagram feeds and the wittiest Tweets we can fit into a 140 characters. I know it’s hard because last month God showed me how my online interactions were beginning to replace my relationship with Christ.

It all begs the question: How do we move within the balance of maintaining an intimate relationship with Christ, seeking Him as our only source and engaging in the deep relationships that make up our communities, whether they be in real life or on-line?

The answer is in the question: Seeking Him as our only source. Anything else is suspect and lacking, anything else clouds our motives and our desires.
“We can serve people only when we do not make our total sense of self dependent on their response.” – Henri Nouwen
Think about that for a moment, just take a minute right now to re-read those words and think about the consequences of relying on other messy, fallible and broken people as your identity.

For a time we’ll find comfort in the words that soothe our egos and manifest themselves as misplaced praise. For a time our hearts will feel lighter, happier; for a time we will be satisfied.

We will be satisfied until we realize that those words come from the messy, the fallible and the broken. We will be satisfied until we realize that nothing absolutely nothing can replace the whisper of hope that cups our weariness, the voice of Christ calling us, Beloved.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t be issuing words of encouragement to each other, that we shouldn’t extend a word or thoughtful gesture in hopes of making someone’s day brighter. It also does not mean that we should not expect those things for ourselves. What it means is that we need to remember in Whom our identity lies.
“… our identity can find its basis only in Gods’ word to us that we are beloved not on the worlds’ fickle promises.” – Henry Noun
Just like Moses confronting his own humanity and recognizing his own inadequacies at the burning bush, we too must confront our humanity in the deep and lasting relationships that we build with one another and remember that He is “I AM” and that it is sufficient.
“Community, then, cannot grow out of loneliness, but comes when the person who begins to recognize his or her belovedness greets the belovdeness of the other. The God alive in me greets the God resident in you. When people can cease having to be for us everything, we can accept the fact they may still have a gift for us.” - Henri Nouwen
We must remember that when God calls us to community He is first and foremost calling us Beloved and until we can look in the mirror and believe it we will struggle with finding the Beloved in others.

We must remember that we are intended to live IN community, each of us a gift to one another and, not FROM community where our primary motive is for our own desires or self-gratification.

Can I encourage you today soul sister, to seek out your community, seek out those whom you love and respect and let the Beloved in you recognize the Beloved in them?

Tonya is the wife of 22 years to one good man and the mother to Mikayla (19) and Dylan (16). She is learning that even though her and husband are entering their "empty nest" years the beautiful task of mothering is never ending.

Tonya loves Jesus and hunts daily for the gifts of His grace. She writes over at Stone to Heart in hopes of having others recognize the beauty of their own story despite life's circumstances. 

Tonya and her family along with their two cats and one dog make their home in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
A Soft Gentle voice
I am honoured to host these guest posts in this series on women mentoring women 
Some weeks you may find tips from the kitchen or healthy recipes, tools other women have used to grow spiritually, hints to help us build up and love our husbands, and lessons they have learned as they have walked along with their children to teach them to love God wholeheartedly, habits they have developed in keeping their home, ways they have worked on to keep their behaviour respectful, or rhythms that allow peace and rest in the home and hearts that dwell there within.
You will find all the posts in the series here. 
"Older women likewise are to be 
reverent in behaviour, 
not slanderers or slaves to much wine. 
They are to teach what is good, and so train 
the young women to love their husbands and 
children, to be self-controlled, pure, working 
at home, kind, and submissive 
to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled."

{Titus 2:3-5}

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