Oh, I don’t even know where to begin with this blog post. I suppose I’ll start with the background information. Some of you may remember me talking about My New Favorite Book I Hate a few months ago, and then (again) mentioning Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven: An Exerimental Mutiny Against Excess as one of my favorite books ever in this past blog post. And although I loved reading the book, I was having a frustrating time figuring out how to apply what I learned into my life. I knew God had more for me than just reading the book, and (as He usually does) He opened a door to show me what that “more” would be. A fellow friend saw my blog post and contacted me, saying, “Would you believe a group of girls in the next town are just starting a bible study on this book?!” (Why should I be surprised?)
So I (sort of) invited myself to join this group of women that I knew almost nothing about. For those of you who know me–this is a bit out of my character (and comfort zone). They gladly included me, and I found deep encouragement and inspiration from these ladies who are dealing with the same struggles, desires, and hopes for doing this one life well. We have, sometimes painfully, trudged our way through these area of excess and sin in our lives, shining light into places we didn’t realize were dark. It has been enlightening and somewhat shocking, as we’ve brought awareness to the ways we actually support injustice in the world. We’ve combatted (and it truly felt like battle at times) our American dream…aka “entitlement” to food, clothing, spending, waste, stress, media, and possessions.
I tell you that to get to my main point–I don’t want to add to the darkness in this world. I want my whole life to be a beacon of light, shining hope into a despairing world. I don’t want my life’s goal to be being as comfortable, wealthy, and aquiring as much “stuff” as possible so I can impress people. I want to be intentional with this thing. I want to be active. I want to combat injustice, advocate for the orphan, satisfy the desires of the afflicted, feed the hungry, love without borders, be blind to social status. I want to care. That is why this bible study is becoming such a catalyst for me. You have to be aware before you can act.
Through this study a new light was shone on 6 verses in Isaiah 58. I have read these verses probably 300 times in last few weeks, and each time they have more value, more purpose in my life. These verses are becoming my life’s song….the goal to which I am striving to attain with the rest of my days. I am trying with all my might to inscript these verses on my heart, so they will live there permanently and remind me of who I am and whom I serve.
I share these with you hoping they will restore light as they did to me. As a short background, this is God speaking to the Israelites. They had become wealthy, living comfortable lives, doing “religious” things, and justifying themselves to God. They thought life was going just perfectly, but in reality they were selfish, only serving themselves and neglecting the suffering around them (sound familiar?).
Please read these verses slowly, let them sink in, imagine how our lives would be transformed if we lived like this:
Isaiah 58 6-12
I desperately want my light to break forth like the dawn, I want to hear Him say “Here I am,” I want to pour myself out to those in need. For my light to rise in the darkness, for the night to be like the noonday, to be a well watered garden, a spring of life in a dry and weary land. I long to live my life in a way to raise up the foundations of many generations to come. I want God’s light in my life to repair brokenness, and to restore the sacred places. I won’t accomplish all these things; I’ll return to selfishness and apathy many times, but my spirit tells me these things matter enough to try.