Tuesday, April 28, 2009



That word has been floating around in my head for a few months now.

The slight obsession with this word began a while back when I wrote a note in my prayer journal about a desire for our family to be useful, dynamic, and overall spectacular. Pretty reasonable request, huh?

I am not quite sure what I mean by these adjectives, because some days I consider us to be pretty spectacular if we accomplish a Target run without anyone melting down in the aisle or licking the shopping cart haphazardly. Other days I feel some type of calling for our family to "do" rather than just "be". Does that make sense or am I just a rambling mess today?

Recently I viewed a commercial...for what exactly I can no longer remember...in which someone proclaimed in that advertisement, "I just want to be spectacular."

Again, the word came back to me, voiced in a similar train of thought. The word is there. The exact definition of the word when applied to my life has yet to be discovered.

This week I finished Beth Moore's study of Esther. It is an excellent bible study full of hilarious banter, biblical wisdom, scripture-rich teaching, and a few fabulous pieces of clothing from Anthropologie. In case you haven't brushed up on your Esther reading lately (you should...it is only ten chapters), the basic storyline involves an orphaned Jewish girl who happens to become Queen and eventually ends up saving the Jewish people from complete annihilation, the same Jewish people who just happen to be of the lineage from which Jesus is born.

Esther 4:14 reads, "...and who knows but that you (meaning Esther) have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

Pretty spectacular that Esther found herself wearing the royal crown and being placed in such a position that she...a young, orphaned female... was able to save millions of people.

The story of Esther is empowering to women, it is a bit romantic, and it leaves us with that warm and fuzzy notion that God has a plan for our lives. Yet it leaves me a bit stuck in the mud and a tad perplexed.

I love and hate the notion that God has a plan for everyone's life. I relish in the fact that the Lord holds me in His hand (Psalm 16:5), but I cringe everytime someone casually throws out the phrase "God has a plan for you." as a form of encouragement. Such a notion can hold an incredible amount of promise yet mean so little when placed in a certain context.

I am perplexed about the plan aspect of this concept, probably because I am such a planner myself.

Is this plan a one-time accomplishment, a long-term series of events, a lifestyle choice, or an "all of the above" option?

So, yeah, I am praying for our little family of four to be spectacular, regardless of the fact that I really do not even know what that means. I am attempting to understand exactly what the plan is and how it relates to the path I find myself on daily. I am looking for ways to "do" with my life rather than simple "be."

Anyone have an answer, an "Amen", or a simple nod of understanding on this thought?


Kelly said...

Great post. Wasn't the Esther study great...or spectacular? :) I really enjoyed it as well.

I'm going to be brave and share my real thoughts. (am also prayng for grace here)

In recent years, I have struggled big time with the common Christian phrases of "it's God's will" and "God just knew I needed (whatever)."

It may be a small bit of cynic in me, but I find in the context of those conversations a lot of convenience of the person's desire and God's will overlapping.

I believe 100% in the soverignty of our Lord and am in complete awe of it. I just don't think it's my job to understand exactly the ins, outs, or whys of it.

At the same time, for my personal story, it seems as if the Lord had His hand on some special people helping to guide me to learn about Him.

Does that contradict what I said before? I don't know. It's hard stuff to figure out. To make peace with the unknown, I just pray that the Holy Spirit would guide me, and that I will listen to be used and show His love in all that I do.

Wow, nothing like some good, hearty spiritual discussion during nap time! :)

Phillips Family said...

Love this part of your comment, Kelly:

I just don't think it's my job to understand exactly the ins, outs, or whys of it.

Amen! I don't think we have the capacity to understand it all and feel frustrated when people attempt to do so by throwing out blanket statements.

DCVol said...

Great post~ amen! Preach it.

Shelley said...

Making peace with the unknown... Now I think that is profound. God is amazing. There is so much that is unknown. We must just have faith and endure :) Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. They are "spectaculor!"

Jordan said...

I, too, am going to attempt to be "real" in my response to your blog. Thanks for the invitation, Kelly.

I had to take a day and really think about what I wanted to say because your post brought so many thoughts and emotions to the surface. I don't understand prayer and I don't understand God and I'm not naive enough to think I'm supposed to! On my good days I think prayer is a tool to bring us closer to God and on my bad days I think prayer doesn't do anything at all. I'm struggling right now with where I fit into God's recocilliation with the world. His "plan." Am I merely a pawn and what I say and do and think and feel doesn't really matter because God is not concerned with my worries and trivitalities but with a much larger picture? Are the "bad" things just going to happen and my mettle as a Christian based not on what happens to me, but what I choose to do with that? Is our God a God of "letting things happen" and we are here to glorify Him regardless? Does God really have a plan for us or are we just tossed along with whatever big picture He has in mind?

When you get some answers, we'd love you share them with us! :) In the meantime, I guess we just duck our head and move on and hope that a little light will be shed on the subject sooner rather than later.

Amy said...

Wow, I am truly moved by this post and by others' comments!

The role God plays in our day-to-day lives has been a topic of discussion for me in recent past with some loved ones, so I have spent much time pondering it as well.

I have been thrown "God told me..." and "God gave me..." a whole lot in my life and I have recently had to reconcile those comments with my own faith. I questioned, Does God really talk to that person and am I missing something here?

I still cringe when someone claims God told them to do something, especially if it is petty or trivial. I have been concerned at times that it is an attempt to cast off their responsibility to think and act. It has been frustrating at times and I have bitten my tongue a time or two when I just wanted to scream, "But HOW do you know He told you?" It almost comes off as being a Stepford Disciple, which I don't think God wants from us.

God granted us gifts to use, but wants us to Trust Him first with them. We are also to be obedient to his will and not scoff at our own mortality by carelessly making plans "independently of God." Granted, I don't say, "If it's God's will, I'll go to Target today," but James made an important point: who are we to make big plans without seeking first God's will? I understand that God's not writing on walls anytime soon, but I do believe that he provides answers by opening doors (or closing them) or giving us a reassurance that our choices will be blessed. I have been in a position a few times where my husband and I had to make a life decision. We spent A LOT of time praying about it and when the time for decision came, we took the plunge and trusted that God would take care of us. We were not really confident in our answer, but we trusted. Now, looking back on those decisions, I can see how God guided us through.

I know in Jeremiah that God tells him He knows the plans he has for him. I truly believe that our God is not merely a "big picture" God, but also a heavenly "Daddy." It's a lot to comprehend sometimes, and I am personally pretty tentative with the whole "dad" concept. But, Dads are there to help us along, as children, without doing it for us. They make plans for us, teaching us, guiding us, and disciplining us along the way. In response, we are to glorify Him by all we do (1 Cor 10:31).

So, while it seems a little odd to hear some talk as if God is a phone call away, or to thank God for parking spaces, for the sunshine, or even for the tax refund, I look back in God's word and trust that they and we are trying to glorify God in all we do, even if it is trivial or mundane.

I hope I didn't put you to sleep with my sermon:-) Thanks for another great post!