Ponderings

Connecting One Free Thing to Another

A funny thing – well, maybe more interesting than hahaa – happened along the way to getting a free book. See, I’d had in my mind for about a year (a fairly typical amount needed for one of my ideas to percolate) that it was high time I read the classic Pilgram’s Progress, by John Bunyan. (Side note: I just actually wrote Paul Bunyan, but fortunately had the foresight to second guess that and look it up on Google to make sure. Thank you Jesus for many things… but, especially Google, as I believe Paul was the one that chopped wood and I certainly don’t need to show myself so clueless this early in the game. Though, the fact I just shared this truth should clear up any doubts… or, hopefully eliminate any future judgement.)

Anyway, as it turned out, my Wonder-Mom (because she is) happened to mention that she was reading that same book through an E-Reader. And, for free no less. Then, it dawned on me, that a few phones ago, I’d installed a couple of those reading apps with free classics that I’d never really finished. Okay, I really only started and restarted a couple of them a couple of times. But, this time I was feeling committed. So, I set about finding those apps again in search of said free classic.

Once I’d installed the first one and got signed in – and, after feeling both kinda creeped out and a bit special companies would hold onto my info that long – the app popped up with a deal, “Choose 10 books to enjoy for 7 days. Free!” Never mind, that reading one book in seven days could prove challenging… or, the (not-so) sneaky fact that they simply wanted me to get hooked on one so I’d buy it, I still felt it was wise to take advantage of some more “free”, so after following the prompt to choose my preferred genres, I got matched up with some corresponding bestsellers in each and was able to snag up eight before true boredom set in. Eight is a good number, after all.

First up in the queue of my now “8 books to enjoy for 7 days. Free!” was what appeared to be an interesting little tale about driving through small town America. I read well into page 18, when I realized I was bored again. So, I pressed the return key and, after shuffling through my remaining seven options, gravitated to one titled, Every Day Is a Holiday, by George Mahood.

I’d chosen it initially because, for some reason, that just sounded like it should be true. But, looking at it again, I remembered that it actually was true… at least according to the ever informative world of Facebook. Because – well, to me anyway – it seemed FB was celebrating one or another obscure sounding holiday every time I turned around. Some of them even lasted a whole month. And, many were international, as we saw a few days back when we, as an international collective, celebrated women (see Freed, Yet United). And, when I looked into it deeper (again, thanks bunches for Google) there is indeed some type of master calendar that marks all of them.

Now, just to give you a bit more insight, two of the most popular of these holidays on social media are Dog Day and Friendship Day. Which makes sense for obvious reasons. Dogs are like a national must-have nowadays and friends, well… duh. But, there are also some lesser known ones that haven’t really caught on yet, like: Pancake Day (which I first heard about only a few weeks ago), Humiliation Day (no, thank you), Middle Name Pride Day (mine’s Rae and it never really has been a source of pride for me, but maybe celebrating it could change that), Ear Muff Day (my ears are quite large, so clearly one I should consider), and If Pets Had Thumbs Day (let me guess… they’d rule the world?!). Then, there are my two personal favorites: Lima Bean Respect Day… because, have they really ever gotten the respect they deserve?! And, Corn Dog Day. Which honestly needs no explanation, except that we shall all celebrate this on, March 18th. Mark your calendars.

So, back to the free holiday book (which I absolutely plan to finish in seven days) with George – who, as it turned out, was also the author of that first free tale I quit reading on page 18. It’s actually all about how he decided to journal his personal celebration of all the obscure holidays for six months. Because, apparently a year of celebrating was too much of a commitment. And, aside from his saucy, British humor (he’s British and they curse a bit) – or maybe exactly because of it – this book is very enjoyable. So enjoyable in fact, it kept me laughing out loud (and kept Big Daddy giving me glares because he was working) all the way to page 77.  

And, I still haven’t started Paul, I mean, John Bunyan’s, Pilgram’s Progress.

But that’s for a very good reason, because now I’m caught up thinking about holidays, celebrations, and adventures and how they fit into our stories. See, for George, he says he was a little bored due to battling somewhat of a mid-life crisis, so he was looking to have an adventure without actually leaving home. I get that. Life can seem boring sometimes. Especially when you’re scrolling through scores of books to find ten perfect ones.

But then (and here’s where maybe, finally, the more interesting, than hahaa, funny part comes in) – well, I started to think about how a life truly built upon faith in Jesus could never be boring. Quite the contrary, even. Actually walking out that life of faith – colliding our hearts with His Story – could (and, really should!) be an adventure because, well, the very definition of faith itself can really be viewed as an adventure.

See, The Book of Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The Amplified version of that verse explains it this way, “…faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” And, since the very definition (according to Dictionary.com) of adventure is participation in a “venture” that involves “taking chances” or “risks” or, experiencing something “exciting”, “bold”, or “uncertain,” then, I – personally – CANNOT seem to fathom how any life of faith could NOT be adventurous. Besides, don’t all double negatives prove a point even more?!? Shhhh. Don’t answer that.

Instead, stick with me here, because… when, through faith, our story is found in God’s Bigger Story – when our will is yielded to His Will and when our purpose is set on His Purpose – then an element of adventure absolutely will be present simply because we don’t know what His Will looks like from one moment to the next. Yeah, we may know the basics of His Will… like the more clearly forbidden elements mentioned in The Ten Commandments and parts of the New Testament. But, most of our story involves taking steps of prayer-filled, faithfulness to walk out. Which really requires our complete dependence upon Him, and is exactly what Jesus did, as He explains in the Gospel of John to some opposing His work on earth, when He says, “…the son can do nothing by himself… he can only do what he sees his Father doing.” (John 5:19)*

To be sure, we can and should (again, prayerfully) make our plans, and even set about trying to follow them, but the Bible states that it is the Lord, Himself, that directs our steps. (Proverbs 16:9; 20:24) Furthermore, Jesus’ own brother James explains in his epistle that we should not say what we will do today or tomorrow but, instead say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15) So, yeah… walking out that type of faith-story involves adventure, for sure!

But, where’s the holiday?  What about the celebration??  Thanks for the reminders.

See, since we really don’t know what our tomorrow may bring, all we really have… all we really can see… is the today part. But, that really is the good part. And, where the good stuff… the manna – the food from Heaven – comes in. Remember this food God gave His children, the Israelites, as He was leading them through the desert? This was His Grace, given for their good, and meant to sustain and satisfy them for that day. They were commanded not to collect any more than they would need in one day (with an exception for the Sabbath, as no work could be done that day, so two days’ worth was gathered). Any amount over that requirement became inedible. Why? Because, He wanted them totally and completely dependent upon Him. On the daily, as it were. (I don’t know about you, but using that phrase makes me feel so hip and so, when I want to feel hip, I use it.)

And, Jesus’ own example of how we ought to pray in the Book of Matthew also emphasizes this concept when He says we should ask for our, “daily bread.” We can’t use yesterday’s or tomorrow’s, because it’s not available. It’s only for today. But, this daily dependence does something very helpful. It keeps our focus on Him. Not on the past that we can’t change or the future that we can’t control. But on both The Cross, where He sacrificed Himself accomplishing for us what we could never achieve on our own, and on His provision for our today. On the new and the now thing He is accomplishing on our behalf this very day. At this very moment. In our own hearts and in His Story.

And, if a holiday is a day set-apart to commemorate an event or one to rest from working, then each day lived out in Christ can certainly be considered one due to those two very glorious truths: His completed work on The Cross and His promised daily provision. So see, our work – at least, in regard to these two things – really is over, and simply resting in this fact daily could make every day a holiday. Or, a Holy (set-apart) day… and, honestly, can you even really think of a better reason to celebrate than that??

And… Boom! There’s both our holiday and our celebration. Though, I never did finish my free book with George…

But, here’s a bigger and better boom! Belonging to Him – being a part of His Story – actually sets us FREE! Free to live out our faith-story adventure, trusting in Him and His perfect timing. (Even when it comes to not finishing free books.) Free to celebrate His gracious gifts of salvation and daily provision. And, free to believe that everyday really is a holiday, because it is THE place His Grace lives.

Especially if it’s March 18th.

Some verses to chew on:

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

*For a more in depth look into this concept, I highly recommend Paul Miller’s book, Love Walked Among Us, and his Bible Study, The Person of Jesus.

7 thoughts on “Connecting One Free Thing to Another”

  1. Thank you Ruth for this beautiful reminder how important it is to be living each day in the now with Jesus! Thanking Him for His AMAZING grace that He pours out for us each day (some days more than others 😊 LOL)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.