Thursday, September 30, 2010
Strong Women, Soft Hearts Chapter 1
I have decided that I’m going to do a series of posts on Paula Rinehart’s book “Strong Women, Soft Hearts.” I find that when I make notes on what I’m reading I get way more out of it, and I thought it might be fun to put it onto my blog – not really sure why!
Because I’m doing these posts as I’m reading they may not connect in any way at all, they are just my thoughts and discoveries about what I’m reading.
So let’s dive on in!
Awakening: God Calls Our Hearts
“He pursues us past all our talent and hard work into the secret places of our hearts where sin and inadequacy and brokenness hide, and He rejoices to claim us there as His own.”
What an incredible God. This perfect, all-knowing Holy God who knows all our failings, every bad thought we have, every sinful inclination we have and yet He still desires us, still longs to have relationship with us.
Sometimes I forget I’m already living my life. I love to plan and have everything for my future worked out and I figure once I get there my life will start. But then I get there and start planning for the next thing, without really enjoying my arrival, all the time wondering when my life will really start. Once I’ve completed school, once I get married, once we buy a house, once we have children – the list is endless. I keep looking for a milestone of when my life will start, but I forget to enjoy what I’m living right now.
It makes me wonder what I’ve missed out on, what have I not fully appreciated, what little (and big) moments have I missed out on enjoying because I was so eager to get to the next thing?
Even more confronting is the question of what have I missed God saying/showing to me because I never stop and rest in where I’m at now? How often have I missed His voice speaking to me? How often have I missed His gifts to me because I barrel along onto the next thing on my agenda? How often have I missed what He is doing around me and in me, because I’ve been too focused on my own plans?
Possibly the most confronting thing I can ask myself though is why do I repeat this pattern?
On page 7 Paula says this. “The effort to shield ourselves from pain also blocks our awareness of the good stuff.” Later in the chapter she also says “We allow fear to reduce the world to a couple of small rooms, where things are known and familiar and we feel in control.” These quotes revealed for me perhaps why I have this pattern of planning everything.
If I keep everything the way I want it I can be in control and everything will work out and I won’t experience pain. Right....
My mind is a curious place of contradictions...am I alone?!
Paula says that as women our greater capacity for relationship opens up a larger possibility for experiencing pain. I don’t know about anyone else out there but I definitely am a feeler. And an emotional one at that! I feel other pain deeply, I experience my own pain even more deeply, and I know that over the years I have use pain as an excuse to reduce my world at times, as an excuse for holding people at arm’s length, as an excuse for closing off parts of my heart so that the chances of being hurt are diminished. But I don’t really know that in shutting off certain areas I have reduced my experience of pain – I think that it might have increased it. In a strange paradox, I think that in trying to protect our own hearts we can actually make them more susceptible to pain, and pain that is self inflicted.
It takes courage to change, but I feel for me that Paula Rinehart in this book gives women some of that courage. The courage to live the life that God has planned for us – not the one that I plan for myself – it’s not like my plans ever work out that well anyway!
“Will you really grab hold of life in whatever shape God has given it and live as though you didn’t go around twice?”
I sure want to try!
Anyone with me?!