Sunday, March 4, 2012

There is something I want to share...


chapel, night, light, bill, god, jesus, think, church


There is something I want to share with you all, though I don't know quite how to voice it, I will try.
I have had this burning desire to share simple living with others for years now - simple living that is based on my Christian faith, for me that is Franciscan simplicity. I have a Facebook page that I share with my friend Ellen in San Diego. It's called The Simply Living Challenge. I will put a link at the bottom for anyone who might be curious. From this FB page is growing all sorts of exciting things like workshops - the Salvation Army invited me to talk to their women's group,  perhaps a manual/ book - because it seems to be writing itself (oh joy), an email note, a retreat and more.

What I want to explain to you, as my Christian friends, is the way that God is doing a work in me as I share my experience of simplifying my life with others. Radical, life changing things are happening. God is showing me that to truly be a light for others I have to be transformed - and he has planted a longing in me for that.

Our little Anglican church has it doors  left open during the day, so a few weeks back I went in there and begged God to reveal himself to me.I offered my life to him - my work - my everything. But you know when you do this you don't really think much will happen. You want it to but your rational brain tells you that you can't expect too much. I think sometimes we don't realise that he is doing the very thing we have asked because it doesn't come packaged the way we expect.

I am trying to think of an example to share with you of how he is revealing himself to me. Take this morning. I'm writing this on Sunday. I am in training as a LLM (Licenced Lay Minister). At this stage all I can do is sit prayerfully in the sanctuary, though I can sing with the congregation and join in with the liturgy.  I can't begin to tell you the peace I feel up there. Our priest is one of my closest friends and she and I have agreed that there is no hurry for me to do anything other than sit until I feel God urge me on to the next stage. So I am still and the process is slow. Just like simple living should be. Then I notice that when I sing beside her our voices sound especially lovely together (and she has noticed this too). I don't think I am a good singer but I love to sing. The singing is moving me and drawing me closer to God. It has dawned on me today that maybe the reason I rarely play music is because it hurts. I want to sing. I want to play an instrument, but I think I can't.

My priest friend lent me a CD this week. The music and words of the chants are the voice of God to me - and now I am playing the piano again (though it is basic - as I had to stop learning at the age of 12) and I am dancing again (as though no one is watching) and I am allowing myself to sing and to play CDs in the house.... surely God is revealing himself to me through the way he has wired me. Do you know the words of  Saint Iranaeus - 'The glory of God is man fully alive'?

This month on The Simply Living Challenge I am challenging myself, Ellen and the others in our community to   Simplify their Soul. Allowing God to reveal to us himself in our desires, our passions, our gifts seems to be the first step. Do you want to join us? To ask God to reveal himself to you and watch what turns up? Yes you are a writer - but what is behind that? How has God wired you and what does he want you to share? And what is it you have forgotten about yourself? Ellen wrote these words in the comment section of my personal blog - 'We forget to be whole sometimes'. (http://astalander.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/wake-up-put-on-your-strength.html?showComment=1330847641688#c3127562697635598784)
Could this be said of you? It is certainly true of me. Those words resonated deeply within me and made me cry.
Asta x
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Simply-Living-Challenge/123095097809075


6 comments:

  1. I understand how you feel. I have felt like this also. There are many ways God can use you and probably already does. Sometimes we are unaware that we are doing HIS WILL, yet 'others' are blessed through us.
    The simple life...what could be better. Just believe and keep speaking it out.
    With me, I haven't got to a total simple life..I don't know why, only God does. When I went to live in the USA all I had was a suitcase as I had gone for a holiday, not to stay. So for a long time I didn't have many clothes..that was simple. I bought a nice black dress in Chicago and that was the only nice thing I had when my husband asked me to marry him. So that became my wedding dress... Nice but nothing flash, neither was the wedding. We had no honeymoon and just went to Ruby Tuesday's for a meal and then home.. I am never fussy about clothes, looks or anything personal, only about God and my service for Him. xxx

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  2. I like your wedding dress Crystal. I agree our first and most important need is met when we put God (and our service to him) as our number one priority. A x

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  3. Hi Asta,
    Thanks for the challenge and call to simple living. It sounds really exciting what God is doing in you right now and how He is using your passions in new ways. I too love singing and making music and dancing - and they are all tools of worshipping Him aren't they? I think we are all wired differently and it is part of our Christian walk to seek Him and His ways for us constantly. Thank you for challenging us to stop and think about what He is calling us to.
    Blessings,
    Anusha

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  4. I can recommend the Simply Living Challenge facebook page to anyone who asks as I've found it extremely encouraging and helpful. Facebook is a ready space of over-glut information and trivia. But the Simple Living Challenge pops up on my wall and reminds me to slow down, think about my life and purpose. Thanks Asta and Ellen for that.
    I've been trying to live more simply this year, trying to take the busy out of my life and put space and time back in. it is amazing how much more I think about the Lord when I am deliberately thinking through the little, unimportant choices I make each day.
    I thank the Lord for that.

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  5. Anusha you are such an encourager. Thank you for your lovely comments. Your words mean such a lot.
    Penny - I love that you are living the Simply Living Challenge. Thank you for getting behind it. It is a reminder to me that when we are obedient to God there will be good fruit. I really enjoy walking this path with you! A x
    (And my picture seems to have disappeared. What a shame. It was lovely.)

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  6. It would be wonderful if we could all embrace 'simple living'. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and chill out, Asta.

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