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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Variations on Themes

Disclaimer: This is not a book-related post. I just wanted to write this out for myself. Barbara from Stray Thoughts wrote up a post talking about 12 themes in her life. (She followed after Sherry at Semicolon in sharing these things.)

I thought that was a curious idea and decided to see if I could pick out twelve themes I've seen running throughout my entire life. It's an interesting thing to think about because everyone's themes vary to some extent or another, signaling the fact that God has created us all uniquely different and valuable. 

Here are the themes of my life, as I see them (but because one of my themes is music, I'm going to put a song into the mix that I think best represents each theme to me):

1. God. I became a Christian at the age of 8. It wasn't life transforming or anything. I was eight! And I had been raised in a Christian home. I considered myself extremely blessed to have had a healthy, safe childhood and so my faith had opportunity to grow strong from even a young age. I'm enormously grateful for that because my adult years have been much more turbulent and I'm grateful for a secure upbringing in which I had parents who taught me always to look to God for help, wisdom, provision, and - ultimately - salvation.

2. The Church. My father was a worship leader and he led worship at the churches we attended growing up. I was taught early and often that the Church is the Bride of Christ and no matter what pain is experienced in it (and we've have certainly had plenty!) it is still the Bride of Christ and is not something that you are to walk away from. God has a particular design and purpose for it and we are not to dismiss it or discount it's value. No, it does not always operate perfectly. No one should expect it to.
(Note: I think the images chosen from this song are less than....great. It's strictly about the lyrics, people!)
3.  Music. I played piano for about five years when I was growing up for two reasons: a.) my dad wanted me to and b.) my best friend was taking lessons. But I wasn't very good at it. (It might be that I just didn't like to think about theory. I'm not that detailed oriented, nor am I mathematically inclined!) At any rate, I haven't played an instrument since I was a teen. I can carry a tune in a bucket but it's not a thoroughly glorious sound. However, my dad was a music major (voice) and played the piano and guitar. Did I mention he led worship at the churches we attended? Music was a part of our home. Then I married a man who played a piano and sang and so music continues to be important.  Worship music, in particular, really ministers to me and I find myself drawn to it and undone by it at the same time.
4. Books. I feel kind of silly listing it as it seems rather a given. But truly, they are a running theme and so they must be included in the list! I have read books all my life. The older I get, the more I appreciate a well-written book. The more I fall in love with books. Now - a song. I am left with this one because I think the world needs people who love the written word  to encourage the rest to think and imagine and dream.  Just like musicians feel like we should all feel truth through music (and I can understand that to some extent) I think books should do the same. We're all different in what moves us and drives us and this song rather represents that (that and I just love it):
5. Words. I have a somewhat rocky relationship with words. As someone who knew me when I was much younger recently said to me, "I remember you being a child of very decided opinions." (As it turns out, I grew up into a woman of equally decided opinions.) But I hope that I have learned to express them in a more healthy manner! As I say, I have struggled with words: when to speak them, when to hold them in, how to choose them. I'm still learning exactly how to manage my words and God faithfully keeps providing me lessons and opportunities to learn! Writing has had its place in this struggle, as I learn to think through what it is I want to say and say it in such a way as to be properly understood. I enjoy the challenge here at Reading to Know. Most of the time.  ;) I do believe that the words we say matter a great deal and that they will have an effect so it is rather excruciatingly important to choose your words well. But just because I know that doesn't mean it's easy!
6. Justice. I've also always been a very black-and-white personality. I have been informed that there is a gray but I cannot see it most of the time. (heh!) One thing I particularly have a hard time dealing with is real or perceived injustices. I greatly dislike false accusations. I developed a passionate hatred for the false accusations when I was a teen and my feelings have only grown more acutely intense since that time. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut (words!) when I see someone be falsely or lazily accused of something that is just not true. (I also have a tremendously difficult time dealing with this when I'm personally accused of doing/saying/thinking something that I did not do/say or think!) When I do see it, I tend not to be able to ignore it.
7. Friendship. I have the most amazing friends. I really do. I always have (whether they've stayed in my life or moved out of it due to any variety of natural reasons). I'm not the sort that feels like every friend I make has to be my friend for life (although I always hope for it). I DO have a few that I have been friends with since I was a young girl. But some last only for particular seasons. I have been blessed with the perfect friends for me to suit the seasons and trials of life at any given time AND those who have stuck by me through the thick and thin of it all.  This song has always inspired me because it defines friendship the way I believe friendship ought to be executed (and I've had the blessing of experiencing a time or three):
8. Quiet. I think it is only in the past few years that I've realized how much I need quiet in order to think, imagine and dream. I used to think I was more of an extrovert. (Ha! I laugh.) I'm very much an introvert. I don't feel the need to leave the house very frequently - and definitely not to spend time in the company of others. When I have a night out, I enjoy spending it alone. When things are quiet and I am able to be still I find motivation to be creative in some way. I thrive in alone time. It doesn't come often at present, and that is just as it should be, but I do appreciate all of the time Jonathan does provide for me to just be quiet. (You may find this ironic but despite the fact that I find it in me to write very long-ish blog posts, I'm remarkably quiet in person. Especially when I'm just getting to know people. The older I get, the quieter I get. . . . . That's probably a good thing.)
9. Plans. I'm a woman who usually always has a plan. I have a plan for dinner, a plan for tomorrow morning and a plan for ten years from now. I've always had plans. I just like to make them! I think this is sometimes confused for being someone who likes to have things just so. But let me set the record straight: I don't really care (terribly) if my plans do not come to pass. (That is, unless it was one that I had grown particularly attached to.) Most of my plans I'm not enormously attached to but I like them al the same. They give me a direction to walk in. If something comes up and changes the plan - or I discover the plan is not working like I thought it was going to - I'm fairly quick to shift gears. (This drove Jonathan, who likes making plans in order to keep them, crazy for the first few years of our marriage!) Now I know to make plans that are reasonable and he knows that the best laid plans can fall apart. Ha! And then sometimes we both just have to realize that our plan wasn't exactly God's plan and needs some revision.
10. Contentment. I'm admittedly not very good with this. I can look backwards and see that in my history, I'm always on the lookout for what's going to happen next. When something happens or I receive something I think, "Ok, great! What next?" I have a hard time stopping and enjoying moments. I feel like a hamster on a wheel sometimes, unable to get off and just enjoy the....cage? Perhaps there's a better analogy. ;) Taking a breather from one project to another is not something that comes very naturally. I'm always looking over the horizon. The fact that I do this finally (?) struck me with some degree of force a week or so ago and I've been contemplating all the areas where I am discontent and therefore suffer also from impatience. ("I'll be happy if ____" or "When ______ is over then I can relax.") I can "take joy" now. And I need to. So that is what I'm thinking a lot about at the moment, because I also realize that life is very, very short. Although this song focuses on money, I think suits where I'm at right at this moment.
11.  Hope. I did have a remarkably healthy childhood which, when I look back on it, I find it rather amazing that I did. Dad was frequently out of work, we were part of small churches and they went through changes which affected relationships. But I always did hope and believe that things would work out somehow, someway. As an adult and a mother I have experienced many things with Jonathan that would want to defeat us emotionally and spiritually. But for hope. Believing that God would be faithful and good to work things out allowed us to keep taking steps forward. Hope is an amazing thing. Life wants to end without it. With it? Anything truly is possible! Especially when the Lord is at the helm of one's life.
12. Redemption. No matter what has fallen apart and no matter in what manner, God has been faithful to redeem my mistakes, forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. He has pieced back together the most broken of relationships. He has made me to forget things that seared me to the core. He is faithful. He is faithful. He is faithful. In the darkest moments, He has made Himself known. He has redeemed. He has transformed. He is so amazingly good and gracious and I am a grateful and completely undeserving recipient. God has been doing and will still be doing a good work in me. I trust and hope and believe that He will be faithful to complete it.

9 comments:

Barbara H. said...

Interesting! Many of these I would have guessed about you: some, like plans, were a surprise. I don't like to make real rigid plans because I get frustrated when they don't turn out, but I like to have some idea of what to expect and what's going to happen, especially when ti involves other people.

I could have/should have added quietness or introversion to mine. I don't function very well without a certain degree of quietness and solitude.

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

No need to explain a non-book post. :)

I always enjoy getting to know you a bit better. As I've learned more about you, these are not surprising.

However, I don't think I could come up with themes for me...not so well articulated as you and Barbara, anyway.

B said...

Very interesting! I'm almost inspired to do one of these myself, except I second Annette that I don't know whether or not I'd be able to come up with twelve themes :)

Lisa Spence said...

So maybe it's not book related but I loved this post just the same. I may do something similar on my own blog!

Bluerose said...

I could "ditto" Annette's comment. :) I really enjoy these kinds of post, too!

Shonya said...

What a wonderful post! I love the book reviews, but I also really enjoy your more personal posts for the further insight they give into who you are and why.

I'm impressed with your attitude toward friendships, I'm not as good at seeing them for a season and allowing them to end gracefully.

BerlinerinPoet said...

I love posts like these. It gives me little insights into your life. Perhaps you are becoming more quiet because you are becoming better at finding out when not to speak words.

Hopefully I'll be able to view this post at some point on a computer that allows me to see these videos. For some odd reason they don't want me watching videos on my work computer. I cannot understand why. ;-)

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*carrie* said...

Just now had a chance to read this post, Carrie, and enjoyed these insights. I find the plan thing fascinating. I love to make plans, and I strongly prefer when they come to pass accordingly! =)

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