I don’t remember a terrible amout from Mrs. Huckaby’s math classes in high school. I remember she HATED it that I used erasable ink pens instead of pencil. I remember that she always had colors smeared on her hand from writing with markers on the overhead projector. I remember being the “Hammer Weilder” for Mu Alpha Theta – a job that sounds a lot more dangerous than it really is.
And I remember Inversely Proportional Relationships. Basically, in an inversely proportional relationship, as one variable increases its counterpart decreases as a given factor remains constant. Like a teeter-totter – if I go up, you go down and the middle remains constant. (Here is the Wikipedia link of you need the official refresher. I’d give you Mrs. Huckaby’s e-mail if I had it.)
I can give you a few very personal examples. If my eating remains constant, my exercise and my weight are inversely proportional. (Lately, my weight is kicking my exercise’s tail.) If my lack of sleep remains constant, my energy level and my coffee consumption are inversely proportional.
But here is the issue that is hitting my heart these days. As the craziness of life remains constant, my attitude is inversely proportional with my relationship with God. As my “quiet time” decreases, my anxiety skyrockets. As my prayer life dwindles, my impatience with my kids explodes. When I skimp on reading the Bible, I binge on ego and arrogance.
And there is one more trick with this problem: you can only change it by focusing on one variable. I can’t decide to be less anxious and therefore become closer to God. I can’t determine to be more patient with my kids and consequently suddenly have more peace.
No, the only way to decrease anxiety is to increase surrender. The only way to decrease impatience is to increase humility. The only way to decrease self is to increase Christ.
The only solution for this equation is knowing The Unchangeable Constant!
What will you do today to know Him more?
I’m afraid I’m passing on my techno-geekness to my son. For one, he’s been a wiz at the remote control/DVR for years already. For two, he loves to check the weather online first thing every morning, even though we live in SoCal where it is pretty much either hot or hotter. For three, oh, I could list several embarrassing things, but I’ll get on to my point.
The other day my 9-year-old son called me to get the e-mail address of one of his church teachers. (How cool that is is another post that I’m sure will come shortly…) A few minutes later my iChat window bounced informing me that I had a new message. I clicked it and there was a question from my son. (I had shown him how to use iChat a few days prior, so it isn’t like he signed himself up or anything. But I’m still not all the way used to it.) Anyway, he was IMing me to say that the e-mail address I gave him was rejected. Here is the tail-end of the conversation that ensued…
If you knew my son at all, you could totally here exactly how he would say that last “OOOOOOOoooooooh”.
I snickered and talked with Amy about how crazy it is that our kids are getting so smart. And ever since, I can’t get over the embarrassed sense that sometimes (probably even most of the time) I’m more intentional about passing on techno-savvy than the knowledge of the tools of faith. Virtues like Faith, Charity, Hope, Justice, Mercy – will he know how to turn those off and on like the DVR? Will he wield the Sword of the Spirit as proficiently as he does the universal remote? Will he scour God’s Word to clothe himself in Righteousness the same way he examines the forecast to see what he should wear today?
Or for that matter – do I? That’s where it gets scary, isn’t it?
Deuteronomy 6 says we should make sure our kids know the commands and decrees of the LORD by “talk[ing] about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” So let’s get transparent for a few minutes and talk about it. Tell me where your heart skips a beat when you hear that. For me it is definitely in the techno-gadget aisle. What is it for you? Knowledge of the zone defense or how to read a curveball out of the pitchers hand? Who’s hot on American Idol/Dancing with the Stars/Survivor/…, and who’s not? The latest fashion trends and Red Carpet gossip? If you really got honest with yourself, what knowledge or skill have you let creep in front of your passion to pass on your love of and faith in your Heavenly Father? Speak up…we’re all in this together.
Juxtaposition – (n) – an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.
I was skipping through Rich Mullins on my iPod today (as I do many days) and somehow played “Nothing is Beyond You” and “You Did Not Have a Home” back to back. Think about that…
“Nothing is beyond You
You stand beyond the reach
Of our vain imaginations
Our misguided piety
The heavens stretch to hold You
And deep cries out to deep
Singing that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You”
And then follow that up with…
“Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man
You had the shoulders of a homeless man
You did not have a home”
I’m amazed that our God – Whom the heavens can’t contain – came to this place to be a homeless man!
Which truth (God’s bigness or Jesus’ homelessness) is more meaningful to you right now? Why?
Last night when I put the girls to bed, Molly started to cry and said she was sad. I listened and talked to her for a few minutes, and then suggested she get her journal and write down to God what she was sad about. Later, when she was asleep I went in and peeked at her journal. (I know, I know. And I’ll quit when she is older. But for now, she’s 6 and I was curious.) I had to choke back the tears when I read it.
In case you can’t read it, here is what it says (leaving the spelling errors as only a 6 year old can make them)…
“Dear God help me not be sad evrey neit.
Dear God help me not just in the neit.”
Help me, not just in the night. How many times I have needed to pray that prayer. When I feel inadequate. When I know I’ve blown it and have to go apologize. When I’m scared at what the future holds. When life just keeps piling on.
“But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice….Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:16, 17 & 22
I’m so glad Molly knows she can ask God for help “not just in the neit”. And I’m even more glad we have a God who wants to hear from His children. So what’s on your heart that you need to tell God about, even if you’re reading this in the middle of the day?
A couple days ago I was with the kids at the pool. While trying to teach Nathan and Anne how to dive, I looked over and watched Molly very intentionally step up to the edge of the pool. She had a focused, determined posture and look. I could tell she was thinking hard about what she was doing, and she was a little bit scared. After a second or two of collecting her wits and balance, she slowly raised both arms and cocked one knee up high and I immediately recognized she was about to do “The Crane”. (Yes, my 6 year old daughter has seen The Karate Kid … several times.) So there she is, arms and knee raised as high as she can get them, studying her landing for several seconds. After what would have been a very choreographed dramatic pause in a movie – but in real life just Molly gathering her courage – she leapt. And I must say, executed a very nice “Crane Kick” right into the water. As a dad I almost cried.
Molly is so pure. She had a thought – “I wonder if I can jump in the pool like the Karate Kid?” You could see the concern and fear on her face, but you could also see the courage and determination welling from deep within.
I wish I could describe the pride on her face when her little head bobbed back up above the surface. But I suspect my little face was pretty proud, too, the way a father’s should be when his children take risks. And possibly, just possibly, the way our Heavenly Father beams with pride at us, His beloved children.