Clarifying the Experiment

First, a note about the pictures I use on the posts here. Most of them have been taken by my ultra-talented friend Amy, who by the way has one of the best extraordinary life stories of anyone I know. She takes pictures of ordinary things but in a way that makes them look extraordinary. Some of them are windows, light fixtures, bathroom tiles, etc. I hope this emphasizes how there is extraordinary to be found in all the ordinary around us. Maybe that will be a new challenge to you now, as you look at the pictures – “What ordinary thing is that?”

I had lunch with a couple of good friends several days ago, only a few days after posting about my experiment. One of those friends shared with me that her first response to that post was very negative, and she disagreed with at least one or two of my points.

First of all, let me say this: I thanked God for the rest of the day that I have such a real friend who would tell me her honest reaction instead of talk about me and my “wrongness” to everyone else but me and never give me the chance to talk with her about it.  Thank you God, for REAL friends.

I told her I would LOVE it if she would have lovingly left a rebuttal comment, but then she explained the difficulty in doing that. No one wants to be the first one to disagreee with the poor cancer lady. I get that. I do.

But please, let me assure you of a couple of things:

I am just trying to figure out what this Christ-like, abundant living is all about and am certain I have more questions than answers. I do not think I’ve got it all down and am absolutely right on all things. Oh Lord, may it never be so!

I do not get offended by people who think differently. I love to hear it, because I love to be challenged to look at things from a different perspective. How else do you grow and learn? Again, it is important that it be spoken with respect and love. You can love me and hate my ideas. And it is possible to get that across in a comment.

I actually long for some good debate on this website. That’s why the comment functionality was so important for me. I want to glean from your wisdom. I truly, truly do.

But now, back to where I may have left a wrong impression.

I fear I gave some poor examples of how this Holy Spirit Agenda translates to every day life, and also my friend couldn’t figure out how to reconcile it with her supervisor-ordained job responsibilities, being a full-time working professional. I fear I may have left the impression that I equate following the Holy Spirit’s agenda to “slacking off,” “playing hooky,” “ignoring responsibilities.”

Oh, if you only knew how far from the truth this is for me. If anything, I am a little too unforgiving of people who do not take seriously the command to “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Christians are to be people of their word! I am too unforgiving of people who do not take seriously these instructions: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23.

I believe Christian employees should be known as the hardest working, most dependable employees at their place of work. Yes, I have been out of work for over a year now, and so the examples I gave of following God’s leading were geared more toward the stay at home mom, but I absolutely believe you can work full-time or part-time and should still be able to follow the Holy Spirit’s agenda for your day. 

If you work outside the home, then I think He speaks that agenda a little more clearly, if anything. I get that your day is usually dictated to you by your superior. I would just suggest that you look at the interactions that will occur during your work day a little differently – look at them as a possible divine opportunity instead of just a job responsibility. Does that mean you engage in a spiritual conversation with each of those you come in contact? Well, of course not. But I believe there may be some way to reflect Christ in each encounter: through your warmth, through your good listening, through your attentiveness to detail, etc. I would encourage you to go back to my list of three: is the interaction for you? them? God? You just never know what God may be doing in each interaction you have. I absolutely believe that if you are doing your very best at work, as if you are doing the work for God, then you are doing exactly what God wants you to be doing with that time. 

Let me also say I would never mean to suggest that keeping a clean house is not important. We are to be good stewards of what we have and take care of what is entrusted to our care. Keeping a clean, orderly home is a gift of service to our families that helps there to be a good, welcoming connotation to the word “home” and that is important for our ideas of “home with God.” I believe there absolutely are times when God wants me to be home cleaning my house, serving.

I also want to say here and now that I did not mean to fire a shot in the fragile cease-fire held between the working mom and stay-at-home mom. I believe you can do either to the glory of God.

Let me say that again:  

I believe you can do either to the glory of God: either  work outside the home or stay-at-home.     
I wish more than anything we could all stop being so defensive about whichever position we are in and just love each other and support each other as mothers doing the best we can. Sigh…)

I hope this makes things a little more clear as to what I meant when I wrote about following God’s agenda for my day. Please understand, it is a challenge for me every single day. I know that I often still make the wrong choices and too stubbornly hold on to what I think should be done.

To conclude today: I would say let’s all remember that story about the Good Samaritan. That’s a tough one, isn’t it? We aren’t told why the priest and the Levite passed by the beaten man. Maybe they had “God-ordained” job responsibilities to get to? I don’t know. Like I said, that’s a hard one. So all I know to do is to ask God to help me make sure I don’t pass by the opportunities to serve when he wants me to stop and act. Maybe that’s a better prayer for the day: “God, don’t let me be the priest or the levite today. Open my eyes and give me the will to be the Samaritan.”

So for those I offended by my bad examples last time, I apologize. For those whose feathers were ruffled because maybe the Spirit inside you was convicting you to give up a little of your control over your day, I do not apologize. God, make us all uncomfortable until we start to get it right!

And please, lovingly disagree with me. I will love you even more if you do!

What I am savoring today: REAL friends and loving Christian debate…

Sara Walker

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14 Responses to “Clarifying the Experiment”

  1. Jill May 9, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    It boils down to an issue of the Heart! If our hearts are trying to be like Jesus, living this spirit filled life will seem like a lot less work and a lot more natural. This world sucks us into the vortex of SELF! No one will take care of YOU like YOU, so worry about YOU and not anyone else! Don’t believe it, it is a LIE of satan and his family! Serve wholeheartedly as if serving the LORD. Your blessings will rain down, yes there will be hail (trials) and some debri (broken world pieces) that fall too. But the blessings will be refreshing still, as soothing rain on our faces……………….. Holy spirit rain down, rain down. (picture me singing that with full lung throttle)

  2. Linda Boyte May 4, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Sara, I have been thinking about you and praying for you this week. Long hours at the hospital are not fun and sometimes awful!!! I am among many that are holding you up to the Lord. I treasure everything that you write. Never worry about those that may not understand. Our Lord had a problem with that too. keep on “telling His story” and we will all be blessed. Blessings on you and your family, Linda

    • Sara Walker May 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      OH, Linda, I appreciate your encouragement and you know I love you, but I can’t let you imply my friend who disagreed with me is anything like the Pharisees or other religious leaders that Jesus battled. She had sincere, Biblically-based contradictions, and maybe that’s even too strong of a word, and we had a great conversation ironing out our differences, which were really almost non-existent. It’s all in the tone and the left out words, etc. I don’t want ANYONE who would think differently than I to be afraid of being labeled a Pharisee. Sheesh – that’s also impying I have the authority in teaching as Jesus did – and let’s not even go CLOSE to that. I am a failed, sinful human being fraught with frailties (how do you like that alliteration?? 🙂 and am really as likely to look at scripture with error as any of us. Anyway, thanks again for your encouragement of me but just please don’t be too hard on my friends. But no matter what, you are a treasure to me!

  3. Mara May 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Hey Sara,

    I am never offended by anything you say. I love to hear how your doing and I also come here because you make me want to draw closer to God. I love reading your writing too. Please don’t let anything make you hesitant to write what’s on your heart. God has really done a work on your heart and it is awesome to listen to. Hugs!

  4. Dana May 2, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Just before I read your blog I was working on a art project that has been in my head for a few days. Let me say I am not an artist I just had some inspiration and I had to get it out even if it is poorly executed, but fortunately I also have an artist friend that I can pass the idea on to get it right. Anyway, after cleaning up a thought hit me and made me thankful that we have a God who is so consistent. It never struck me before but did you realize that the first color in the rainbow is red? And if you google a rainbow image over the earth the color red is the color the covers the earth? It is so amazing that God shows us even in nature that he sent His Son to die for us and his blood covers us. Dont know why I missed it before and I’m sure some smarter person noticed it before but it only hit me today.
    That just reminded me of an observation I had a while back about blood. When Christ was on the cross the way the soldier checked to see if he was dead was to put a spear in his side and see if the blood and water of his body were separated and that confirmed his death. Interesting thing is that God uses water to unite us with Him through our baptism into Christ’s blood. So we are only truly alive if we are united by the water and Christ’s blood and we are dead if the water and blood are separated. Again it’s that amazing consistency!
    Also I wanted to say I agree with you that I would rather have friends that will tell me the truth and be willing to disagree with me so that I can learn form them rather than continue to believe my own bias. I truly appreciate someone correcting me so that I can have consistency in my life the same way God shows us His own consistency!
    I will continue praying for you and your family. Blessings to you!


  5. Debbie Logan April 30, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    “But I believe there may be some way to reflect Christ in each encounter: through your warmth, through your good listening, through your attentiveness to detail, etc.”
    When you wrote the above, you described what I try to do each and every day at my public work job. I work as a library coordinator at a college and try to reflect all you wrote above and be there for all the students, instructors, staff and patrons as much as I can. I try hard to hold true to God’s agenda in my life every day! I have been both a stay at home mom and now an employee but have always strived to be pleasing and acceptable unto God and this is what all true Christians should be striving to do. I so enjoy reading your insights and am thankful to God that he has burdened you to write this blog. Hoping and praying God will see fit to perform a miracle and heal you of your cancer!!
    Debbie L

  6. Holli :) April 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Hey Sara,

    I’ve been wondering about the pictures and am really enjoying trying to figure out what they are! Thanks for sharing Amy’s work with us!

    Thanks also for today’s post and for your clarification as it was helpful for me. I especially appreciate your reference to the story of the Good Samaritan in this “Holy Spirit Agenda” context. How many times have I “let the good things become the enemy of the better things” while going about my daily scheule and passed by opportunities that God has placed in my path? It’s certainly a sobering and convicting thought and I appreciate your bringing it up. My goal is to view my interactions (no matter where they are ocurring) in a more thoughtful and intentional manner and always as opportunities to minister to others.

    I truly hope that tomorrow begins the new chapter of healing for you, my dear friend! Just know, my persistent prayers will continue on and on and on and on…(you get the picture)…until you are healed!

    I love you and always thank you for sharing from your heart, Holli 🙂

  7. Phyllis Brown April 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Sara, I have never read anything that would offend anyone, so you don’t need to apogize for talking about the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am a retired person with some health issues, but I still do a lot of things and what you have said in your writings has mean’t a lot to me. I have never made a schedule out, but I have changed that and it is remarkable how it can work for you. My prayers are for good results from the treatment. I have a lot of faith that this will work. Keeping you and the family in my thoughts.

  8. Kristen April 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    You are so gracious, Sara. So gracious.
    Love you lots, praying for this to be the trial and the time..with all my heart!!
    ps-wonderful news about the stability during no treatment…I was sooo happy to hear that!

  9. Yolanda Pound April 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Dear sweet Sara—I have been so encouraged by reading each of your posts. I understood what you were expressing! I greatly appreciate your humble and teachable spirit. Oh, that all of us fellow-believers could posess these beautiful character traits. Still praying for your complete healing each day. May God’s richest blessings be upon you, your husband and two precious boys!! Keep on using your wonderful gifts to glorify our kinsman Redeemer.

  10. Kathy Reynolds April 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Okay, I just have to say that I didn’t get offended at all with your Holy Spirit post. I didn’t in any way assume you were saying that we shouldn’t have a clean house or that you were making an issue regarding stay-at-home moms or working moms. I sure wish that we as sisters in christ would give each other the benefit of the doubt. We are all coming from different backgrounds and different life circumstances. We get enough judgement from the world that we should be jumping at the chance to build one another up instead of looking for reasons to disagree. I find this extremely disheartening. Please keep writing what God puts on your heart, do not censor it. There is a reason why God has brought you to this time in your life.

  11. Michelle L. April 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Amen, amen. Sara, I tend to over-plan, over-schedule, and then get frustrated when I’m interrupted. But when I’m at my best (in the Spirit-filled sense), I can look at interruptions or changes to my day, as God-given. I am able to thank Him for interactions that I hadn’t planned. When we are so scheduled, we don’t have time to notice a friend or co-worker who needs encouragement. Or to just sit down and read to a child, or play a game. With caller I.D. we might even “screen” a call because we don’t have time to talk. Of course, sometimes that’s appropriate, but the important thing is to be led by the Spirit, to have our minds set on what the Spirit desires. The fact is, for most of us, regardless of our state of employment, our plates are pretty full. As we make choices about activities and commitments, we need to leave breathing room so we are more able to respond to God’s gentle whispers. And constantly ask God what it is HE would have me do today. I love your experiment, loved your post. Thank you!

  12. Karri Misky April 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Sweet Sara, I am sorry that you felt the need to explain yourself or to apologize. Of course, you cannot make a statement or anything that applies to or covers everyone. Everyone has their own unique situation and life/life style. I understood that you were sharing what God layed on your heart and that I should think about it, and see if I can apply it into my life as best I can. This is a platform that you can share your life and what YOU have learned, and share it with us.

    I personally try to live that way. I used to be so compulsive about cleaning my house every week, they same way. I do keep a clean house and it’s pretty much always picked up, but then our children are grown. We do host a lot, exhange students, missionaries (just had a family from Kenya for 3 days). I highly recommend hosting, I’ve made some pretty strong lifelong relationships.

    The thing is, I don’t stress if I can’t vacuum and dust today, or if it’s raining so why bother mopping up dogs prints, they’ll just come back, wait til the rain passes. This week I am cleaning my moms house while she is at her sisters in Florida. Her first getaway since my dad passed Feb 28th. My house can wait.

  13. Dinah April 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Well said and well clarified! As a working mother, I am first and foremost thankful that God has blessed me with a way to help support my family. My profession is an avenue to show Christ through my interactions with co-workers, patients, and family members of patients.

    I am of the opinion that if God has an intent for me to follow His Spirit’s guidance and bless someone else’s day, then He will provide not only the opportunity, but the TIME needed to follow His guidance. Working or not working has no effect on opportunities in doing God’s work!

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