Sunday, March 27, 2011

the eating habits of dragons

I like to listen to sermons when I jog. And now that I have access to a treadmill where I nanny 3 days a week, I am packing in the sermons. Podcasts are da bomb.

Sometimes, though, I get scared that someone is going to break into the house while I'm jogging in the basement, perfectly content with my ear buds in and the sweat dripping down my back. (I am not a delicate exerciser. It is an unpleasant thing to behold. In the weight room in college, I was running on the treadmill and a guy walked past, looked at me, then looked again, his eyebrows coming together in a very concerned wrinkle. Yes, I'm fine. It's natural that my face looks this way. This is why I'm thankful the treadmill I now use is in a basement, where there are no windows.)

But then, after I think, "What if someone breaks in?" I assuage myself with the image of the intruder stopping at the top of the basement stairs and listening for signs of life. He would hear:


Then he would assume that, like Rochester, these people were keeping an insane person locked away in their house, and he would flee in fear. But not before RAJAH THE NINJA CAT takes him out with one swift swipe of his devil claws! Because there's nothing so fulfilling as combining Charlotte Bronte with 21st century spy drama.

Meanwhile I am in the basement, thudding away on the treadmill, listening to a sermon from the Vineyard. If you haven't listened to a sermon from VCC, I highly encourage you to extract your carving knife from whatever drawer you keep it in and carve out some time to listen. They've just finished a series on generosity, and the last sermon had me in stitches as I ran my 4.8 miles per hour.

It also had me contemplating, as all VCC sermons do, my own heart. If Mr. Burglar stood long enough at the top of the stairs, he also would have heard me exclaim, "Amen," and possibly, "Yeah, Heather," because sometimes the wiser part of me feels like the stupider part of me really needs to grasp certain concepts. Oh, Wiser Me, you're so wise. Love, Stupider Me.

So, inspired by Kevin's sermon, I was thinking about generosity, gratefulness, contentedness, etc. I remember my VCC small group leader a couple of years ago making the comment, "When was the last time you saw a commercial that said, 'Everything you have is okay; just keep what you have'?" It is very true that, no matter how much stuff I have, I am always looking for what else could be mine.

Mmm, I want those seasons of Chuck.
Oooh, I want a First Aid Kit CD.
Ahhh, I want a new skirt for spring.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal the other day (it's not that impressive - I only read the Personal Journal section, and even then I usually choose the articles with the biggest pictures) about happiness vs. purpose. Research shows that those who pursue happiness are actually less likely to be happy than those who pursue purpose. Ironic! Those with purpose in life live longer, are less prone to diseases like Alzheimer’s, and report more of an over-all sense of well-being. The article talked about people desiring the feeling of watching a great movie or eating a great meal, versus people who work with the homeless or are family-oriented. 

That's the part that really got me. 

College-aged kids experience more emotional and psychological problems today than they did 100 years ago, because the focus of life has shifted from relationships, family, and community, to material things, possessions, and achievement.

I've been there. I know what it's like to search for happiness, and that search is always going to come up fruitless. Happiness doesn't last; it will always run out, end, or slip through our fingers. And then we're left with that empty feeling that shoots us on another quest to fill it. But I've been thinking about ending the search for "more" and instead living in gratitude for what I have. I think it's there that we find purpose. And underlying purpose is that steady joy and confidence that God gives, because He never runs out, ends, or slips through our fingers.

So, instead of making a list of "I want," what's my list of "I'm grateful for"?

When you live in gratitude, it is really, really hard to live in sin. - Jon Weece

P.S. This post had nothing to do with dragons or what they eat...but I was afraid if I titled it something like "What I'm Learning About God," nobody would read it. People are much more likely to read about what I'm learning about dragons.


Post a Comment


Blog Template by