One cold, snowy winter's day, Nathan, then 14, and a budding philosopher, was drinking a cup of hot chocolate in our kitchen. He said, "I'm so glad our God is out of the box in our home!"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, a lot of people we know act like God is mad or disappointed with us when we are not perfect. I'm even afraid of some of your mama friends and I sometimes feel like I might get in trouble just for being with them."
"It feels to me like lots of people we know think that God is more concerned about a rule to be kept and behavioral standard of quietness and respect to keep--knowing all the rules and keeping them."
"I am so glad the God we believe in is the One who created chili peppers for fajitas, Celtic music to dance to, puppy dogs to be snuggled, jokes for giggling, and stars to enjoy when we sleep out on the deck. We enjoy Him and celebrate Him in our home and look for his fingertips in creation. We don't just work for him—that's what I mean."
I was so thankful that is what he perceived in our home, at least at this time,—a personal creator-God, filled with infinite ideas of ways to fill our world with things to enjoy. And a place where he could feel he belonged with all of his bigger-than-life personality.
Many Christians tend to defend fervently their theological underpinnings and argue rigorously the tenets of doctrine. Yet often I have observed that in choosing to live only in a cerebral world of "what I know intellectually about God," they miss so much of his personality and nature, which can be observed through his role as the Artist.
Please know that I am an avid student and teacher of scripture and love the foundational truths that fill my mind and soul that I also upheld through the years in our home.
Yet because we live in an isolated, somewhat cerebral time, we define our worth by what we know or what kind of a degree we have or by the work we accomplish. Our spirituality is often expressed by the theological philosophy we claim—charismatic or reformed or Baptist or Catholic. Data, facts, and knowledge as reflected by scores on academic tests are often the measure of a person's worth.
God condemned the pharisees for being men of law and no compassion for the downhearted or heart for the true God. They were more concerned about keeping law than loving God.
Why do I keep on writing articles about beauty, creation, the boundaries of God's life being bigger than we can imagine? Because I live in a world of young adults that are leaving the faith by the droves. Children who are raised on the dry bones of rules rather than on the vibrant love, beauty and goodness of a living God are not captivated in their hearts to follow God. Rules do not engage the heart or imagination of living a great story for God's glory.
God is interested in us engaging with Him through our days, in prayer, worship by serving Him in the many moments of our daily life. Our children will believe in God when they see that He influences, fills and inspires our behavior and attitudes through out all the seasons of our lives because He is real to us--both through His word and through His spirit living through our lives.
Life is fast-paced, efficient, impersonal.
We regularly shut God out of our lives to center our attention on worldly achievement or efficiency and then wonder where He has gone.
Such an overemphasis on the academic and technological determines that a relationship with God will be dryly intellectual or clever but obviously absent of feeling, awe inspiring reverence as at the beauty of a snowflake and delight in the colors and variety that also express his personality.
It would be like writing or defending a long treatise on the role of a father, his character, and the history of fatherhood—separate from relating personally and intimately with him. No "report on fatherhood" would ever satisfy our need to experience life with an actual father, the life that comes from engaging in the personality, friendship, and companionship of a real live person.
God intended that we become witnesses of his beauty, design, color, and pleasure so that we could gain a more intimate, real, and personal knowledge of him. God does not want to be just a thought to know, but a personally engaging friend and Father whose relationship with us is filled with memory, delight, and moments to be experienced and enjoyed.
Is your picture of God, his transcendence, HIs joy, His beauty, His love and affection a part of the design of your home? Your home is a workshop to reflect the many facets of the jewel of His reality. What three things can you begin to change in your home so that everyone feels they have come into contact with the Living, vibrant God when they come through the doors of your home?
Be inspired with new ideas and ways to bring His reality in your home through The Lifegiving Home.
Also, don't forget to sign up for our live webcast next Tuesday night where Nathan and I will be sharing more about our thoughts of giving all of our children, especially our out of the box ones, a place to belong and become all that they were meant to be.
Information at the link below!