A Fairy Tale Truth. What?

 

I just recently finished a journal by a wonderful Christian author, John Eldredge, called the “Journey of Desire.” If you want to awaken your heart to depths that you didn’t know possible this is the book for you. It was not an easy journal to go through. It’s not one you can rush through by any means, but it is so worth it! I started it back in the spring and I just finished it. I am sure I will do many blogs in the future based off my expedition through this book, but for today it’s fairy tales.  Who doesn’t like a good fairy tale? If it’s not a fairy tale, maybe it’s your favorite movie. I remember my dad and I always talking about movies after we saw them and how it touched our hearts, and what about the story moved us.

I love fairy tales. They evoke longing in my heart. My heart comes alive when I read or watch these stories. I am going to give 4 examples of stories that have touched my heart and why.

CINDERELLA – This is a favorite of many girls. For me, what stands out and calls to my heart, is here we have a girl who is forced in slavery, she remains true and loyal and comes out victorious having all her dreams come true. She is singled out by the prince himself. What is so amazing and pulls at my heart as being noble and something to attain is even in her slavery she remained content. She had a peace and joy about her that no one could steal from her even her wicked step mom and step sisters. This bothered them so much. Wickedness can hardly bear that kind of peace and joy. They tried so hard to rob and steal her of it, but despite her circumstances she remained good-hearted Cinderella. Doesn’t this sound familiar? You can draw many biblical passages to go with this. What comes to mind for you?

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – For Belle(Beauty), she shows the human capacity to be able to see under the mask and see a person for who they are not what they look like by outward appearances. This is a noble quality–not to judge a book by its cover. The beast on the other hand has a different story to be told. The beast has to learn to get over himself, stop looking in the mirror with judgment and disgust, so that he can allow people to love him just as he is. He has to let go of his ego and pride. For me, I do so often want to try to see the good in people and not judge them by their cover, and yet I relate with the beast more than anything. Yes I’m a bit of a beast. I will look in the mirror and quite honestly see a beast. I want to isolate and hide and this makes it very hard to accept love from anyone. Alas God is breaking down those barriers in my life.

FRED AND GINGER – When I was a teenager something drew me to this fantastic silver screen couple. I was so captivated by the way they were so in sync. Every move they made dancing together was if they were one not two. I was hypnotized by it. It really was like perfection. What does this sound like to you? The truth that comes out for me here is we long for total oneness, perfection, paradise. This in a way shadows that for me. When we are in Christ we desire to be more and more perfected to be fully in sync with him and one with him. As He moves we move in sync with him. No battle, no struggle. Just effortlessly following his lead!

WIZARD OF OZ – Lastly is one of all time favorites! I watched this so many times as a kid and as an adult that I can literally recite the movie line for line. Just ask my husband! He has heard it maybe not to his delight. LOL! Anyway this movie is about a girl seeking adventure, wanting more, her heart is bursting with desire, and she is going after it. You know the story. Once she gets out on her adventure, she soon realizes that her desire is for home. She longs for home. Her adventure and what she was looking for was not somewhere over the rainbow. As you know most of the movie is trying to get home. How many times are we trying to seek out adventure to fulfill our happiness and longing only to find out that it doesn’t suffice and we are left with a void, saying just get my home. We as Christians,  this life is a little like wandering around in Oz, it’s not home, and we long for our real home. Jesus is our guiding light through this alien land. He is helping us through it and soon and very soon we will be home.

What is speaking to you? Fairy tale? A movie? A song? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Blessings to you all! Have a blessed weekend!

Johanna

 

 

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The Door

I was walking down an unfamiliar old outdated hallway, it was like an old run down hotel. Down the hallway, there were doors on all sides one right after the other. I opened a door and there was another door. I kept walking down the hallway, and opened another door, there was a staircase this time. I was just trying to find an outlet that would lead somewhere. I kept opening door after door. I was trapped. I started panicking. Have you ever been lost before and gotten that horrible sinking feeling? It is the most unsettling feeling. I started screaming for someone to help me. “Help! Help me!” There was not a soul around. I finally opened a door at the end that led me outdoors. “Finally an outlet!” For a moment I was relieved, until I realized that these surroundings where unfamiliar too. It was freezing cold outside and there was snow on the ground. There were rows and rows of houses, but they seemed empty. The whole area appeared desolate. The anxiety started pouring in again. Finally out of the corner of my eye I saw this older lady walking down the street coming towards me. I ran towards her and asked anxiously, ” Can you help me?” She said nothing and walked away like she didn’t even see me. I cried out loud again, “Can you help me?” And then I woke up.

I’m sure as you were reading that you suspected it was a dream or some scene from the twilight zone.(I love that old show) When I had this dream, it was so real and I wrote it down and of course as I do about almost everything, I started my theological reflection.

The first thing I thought of was this idea of being in a maze searching for the thing that will give us peace and finally ultimate fulfillment. Each one of the doors appeared like an outlet, I mean they were doors and doors when opened are supposed to lead somewhere, but when opened they didn’t lead anywhere, except to another door. Like a dog chasing its tail. If you read my previous blogs, I talked a lot about chasing after that longing and when we chase after anything but Jesus it won’t lead us anywhere. Jesus said, “I am the door.” I also saw the symbolism of the freezing cold outside and the desolate houses. The one door that I came to where I found somewhat of an outlet, was still no outlet. It was cold, empty and lonely, and even the one soul that appeared to be there wasn’t there for me either. The enemy tempts us with other doors and by his way of doing things, but he is a liar and a deceiver. The lady in my dream I saw as the enemy, not caring one thing about me, ignoring me definitely not helping.

Jesus is our only way. He is the only door. If you try any other door to bring you fulfillment if will lead to emptiness, loneliness, and death.

Take heart! Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by ME, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:9-10

I am so glad I woke up from that dream. Thank you Jesus that you saved me! You are my refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Which door will you open?

Blessings to you all!

Johanna

 

Heaven? Never Ending Church Service?

I grew up in church. We went Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and if there was special things going on maybe more. This was the norm and the routine.

Now this is not a anti church post, but more of our view of what Heaven is going to be like. I have to say, for a long time I have always thought heaven is just going to be sitting around for eternity singing songs and well just being at church all the time. This idea of heaven did nothing for my longing for eternity, and as a result effected the way I lived out my faith.

I get these sensations a lot, they don’t last long, maybe not even a second, but its a wave that makes my heart burst with joy and fulfillment. Sometimes music will trigger it, or a smell, or being at a place, or sometimes I can’t even pinpoint the trigger, but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone and I go chasing it to get that sensation again. I think this sensation is a small dose of what eternity will be like. God gives us these glimpses to awaken in us life, abundant life; then we go screw it up by our misplaced desire. C.S. Lewis said the beauty was not in those things, rather it only came through those things.

My husband and I  watch a show called American Pickers. Its a show where these two guys go around the country and pick for antiques and collectibles. Most of the places that they pick from are these people who have been collecting their whole life practically and have so much stuff that it kind of looks like a hoarder. They have so much stuff, you have to climb through it to find the “rusty gold” like they call it. In one of the episodes the collector was asked what got him started collecting, he said, ” It reminds me of the things I grew up with. I don’t really know the attachment, but kind of wish I didn’t have it cause it’s like a disease.” I was taken by his genuine honesty. It got me thinking this guy was chasing after a longing inside him, and by his own admission I don’t think he understood that fully, but what was interesting was his comment about wishing he didn’t have this attachment because it’s like a disease. I could see how all that collecting, searching for that one item would bring that sensation of heaven back, and you might get a glimpse, and then poof it’s gone just as quickly as it came. Then you have to get another item and another, and soon you have barns and barns of stuff, and none of it is doing anything of eternal value. He tapped into something when he said a “disease”. In reality it really is a growing malignancy that he was feeding. All that stuff wasn’t bringing ultimate fulfillment. Was he trusting in the “stuff” for the beauty and sensation of heaven?

Our view of heaven is of the most utmost importance. I know this now. How much we anticipate eternity, will determine how we live our life here on earth. If we give no thought to it or there is no excitement for it, then most likely the way we live our lives on earth will have very little eternal benefit. On the flip side, when we are embracing the longing for eternity and looking on it with great anticipation, the more we will want to live for eternal benefit. God gave us deep longings, but when we trust in anything but Him to fulfill it we end up with a heap of junk, a disease that just grows and grows, and the bigger it gets the harder it is to control.

If we truly believe in eternity with this great anticipation, this gives the motivation to share the gospel. This is what we have to look forward to. Jesus said, “Look, I am making all things new.” That feeling you get when you buy something new, like new car, going on vacation, etc. well thats just a simulated feeling for what Jesus is talking about. I can’t even explain it, but the thought is making me excited. The newness will never where off, and it will be all your longings fulfilled!! And its all IN HIM! Jesus wants you to feel the desires he has placed in you and then trust in Him. Jesus would always question, what are you seeking? What do you want? It all had to do with desire.

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT ETERNITY!?  I hope you will never think of heaven as just a big never ending sing-along again. Go and share this truth the next time you share the gospel. Just asking someone what they want, and what they are seeking can open up doors for them to do their own reflection and then we can say I know who can meet your deepest longing!

He created you, He can complete you!

That Old Feeling?

I am a sucker for nostalgia. Even when I was a teenager, I was always after that feeling. It’s safe to say I might be one of the biggest Christmas fanatics. I love the smells, the decorating, the family and friend time, the music. When I was younger I would listen to Christmas music in the summer and I put up a little Christmas tree up in my room in September. So now that I have aired out my neuroses, I’ll get to my point. There are other ways in which we try to chase after a feeling, maybe it was a time in our life that we look back at fondly, or maybe it’s our childhood, or when we lived in another city or country. The funny thing is, that if we go back to the year or the place or the season that we are chasing after, we would not find what we are looking for. CS Lewis called it “longing” He suggested that if we trust in these things they will only disappoint.

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located
will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them,and what came through them was longing.
These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we
really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,breaking the hearts of their worshippers.
For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

I have been thinking on the scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:16 “Though our bodies are dying, our spirit is being renewed day by day.” The fact is our bodies are dying, each day we get a little older, another year will have gone by, another decade, we can’t stop time here on earth no matter how hard we try, we can’t turn back time. That old feeling we chase after wouldn’t even be there even if we got there.  It’s a waste of energy and time.  Some might think it morbid to think of  this life as dying away, but it’s foolish to deny it and live as if we will live forever on this earth. Instead, replace it with renewing the inner man. Our bodies will perish, but our spirit will live forever. Renew the inner man, by spiritually feeding  with daily prayer asking the Lord to renew us and Bible reading, also being with other fellow believers to help us, and encourage us, and serving the Lord in our day-to-day life.

We have new things to look forward to  in each stage of our lives here. New doors will open. New opportunities. We don’t need to chase after our youth or some old feeling, what the Lord has for us today is much better. Living for Him each day will bring the most satisfaction. What we really desire is Him, and he can’t be replaced by anything else.

Lord help me to keep my time here on this earth in perspective. Help me to use my time to give you glory.

In Jesus name,

AMEN!

The Longing 

I go to sleep in search for a new day that will fully satisfy. It never comes. 

I wake up, open my eyes, “Am I there yet?” I’m not there. I work hard, but the work is not enough. Comfort, convenience and money are not enough. Friends and family are a blessing, and yet it falls short.
Am I home yet? This world is not our home. I know the one who satisfies. He is our living water. He is our daily bread. He is our prince of peace. He is our shepherd. He is our king. He is our light. He is our friend.
He is Jesus our savior.

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.” C. S. Lewis