I am glad to be reading The Mind of The Maker. A Post by her on the last chapter made me want to read this book. Although I have not yet arrived to the last chapter, I could understand at once that I have been seeing life as a set of problems and solutions. Specially our homeschooling, my girls. I was always having problems, looking for solutions. I believe I finally realized that it is the way I think and live what was all wrong. That is why lately, I wrote at the AO forum this,
I have decided not to see my life as a set of problems to be fixed, but as a poetic and joyful journey.
I have also pondered about devotional and christian books oriented to tell us some steps to be better christians, or any self help book for that matter. I admit that those free books in exchange of a review got my attention, I got greedy. Free books! How bad can it be to have to read some even if I do not think they will be excellent reads, they surely cannot be harmful, can they? Wrong. They always left me with a feeling of time wasted.
By devotionals, I do not mean those that are collections or compilations of Scriptures and a quote, or question, such as A Year with Chesterton, for example, but the commentary or personal experience type of books. They seem to rest on this very faulty presumption that our life is a set of problems needing a solution. That if we travel our journey on earth doing a, b, or c, we will obtain x, y, and z results. Even as she said, some of us believe or have behaved as if the Bible were a simple manual for the christian. We pose questions such as, how long should my skirt be to be modest? The question in itself misses the point. This simplifies His Word materialistically, even atheistically. I will explain. If we see the Bible as solutions to our daily or worldly problems, this is the same as saying that life’s outcomes depend entirely on us, not on Him. It is forgetting that not everything in life is the result of our doings, nor success neither failure. The prevalent gospel of success, for example, it is false teaching, it gives people a twisted idea of what being a christian is. If we follow Christ, we will not be necessarily rich and beautiful and famous, as this false gospel teaches. When we follow Christ, we may or may not be prosperous or rich in worldly terms. If we do a list of things that may, very well, be extracted from the Bible, we are not guaranteed a life free of suffering. Those lists are simplifications, absurdly out of context, and many times, erroneous interpretations.
As our preacher said yesterday while reading the passage about Lazarus and the rich man, we have to be careful not to generalize, we cannot be as simplistic as to think if we are doing very well now, enjoying health and wealth in the world, we will die in torment, and if we are poor and afflicted in this world, we will have overflowing riches in the afterlife. That would be to read the Bible with a manual or instructive approach to it in mind. That is not what the passage is telling us.
When I see my life as a set of problems to which I have yet to find the right solution for it to be perfect, I not only leave God out of it, but I also decline my authorship (submitted to Him), or my responsibility, and I go to others for advice. I can ask a hundred questions to the most experienced people on a given topic, that only I, and I only, would know (or should work to clarify) my own course of action. Once talking to a close friend about my typical problems in our homeschooling, she told me, I don’t know, you are the mother. Exactly. Charlotte Mason said that too, the decisions are ours. And when we are reminded of this, if we are people who want to serve and obey God, we will quickly steer from the frantic search for solutions in opinions and devotionals, or a superficial search in the Bible, and feel inclined to increase our prayer and meaningful Scripture reading, for ONLY HE is able to guide us in our decisions, and only HE accepts who we are NOW, and expects US to be the ones to act in true submission to His law, not slaves of a watered down and mechanical list of actions that others provide in the way of good advice. And please, do not read this as advice on my part either.
Implicit too in the constant search for solutions, is an ungrateful attitude. We want to improve, to look better, have more, be more, better, best, and for that, we need to do that… when I get…, when I can do such and such, when my husband…, the day my girls…, once my daughter … While we occupy our minds with these thoughts, we are forgetting to appreciate the moment, we forget what we have and specially, who we are right now.
But enough… or this post will become itself the dreaded commentary that I have asserted to be a waste of time.