Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Very Superstitious

A few weeks ago, my mom told me that a bird flew in the house. For most people, it's no big deal. But for us, it was sort of a big deal. You see, a bird flying in the house is a sign of death. I know, crazy, huh? You see, my entire family is from Louisiana--home of all things superstitious. Growing up, I heard all kinds of superstitions, and of course almost all of them had to do with death. A worm in the house, someone's going to die. A woodpecker pecking on your house? Certain death. Did you ever play beautician with your sisters or your friends or your mom? Well, when we did, we had to make certain that two people did not play in someone's hair because the youngest person would die. If you stepped over someone, you had to step back over them backwards because otherwise you'd die. I used to ask my mom if everything resulted in death. Seems not everything.

You couldn't sew on your bed because someone would tell a lie on you. If you swept over your foot while sweeping the floor, you had to spit on the broom because you were going to jail otherwise. If a baby picked up a broom and started sweeping, that meant company was coming. When my mother used to do my hair, she made sure to the hair in the comb or brush was flushed down the toilet (or sometimes she burned it) because otherwise a bird would take my hair, make a nest of it and I would go crazy. My favorite one was if you dream about fish, somebody's pregnant. Now, that one is true!

At any rate, growing up we sort of half heartedly played along with the superstitions. I'm sure everyone has stepped on a crack to break the devil's back--or not stepped on it to keep your mother from breaking hers. Sometimes it's in fun (like if your left hand itches, you're going to get some money). Once I became a Christian, though, I really thought I put away all those superstitions. Until my mom told me about the bird. Even though she didn't say so, I know we both were thinking, 'Oh, Lord, who's going to die'. She was a little bothered that she couldn't get the bird to go back out the door he came through--if I remember correctly, the bird has to go back out the way he came to keep death away. We are all Christians in my family, so I don't even understand why this is an issue.

Actually, I do. It has to do with two things. One, my lack of total trust in the Sovreign God of the Universe. I'm looking at "signs" to determine my fate or the fate of others. I am the type of person who wants to know what to expect for it happens. I don't like surprises or things coming out of the blue. I want to know what's going to happen, when it'll happen and why. However, God doesn't give us all the answers up front. Sometimes things are going to blindside me. Am I going to trust God when something comes out of left field and knocks me for a loop, or am I going to rely on "signs" and "fate"?

Secondly, I'm coming to realize that while I am a Christian, and I truly love the Lord with all my heart, my mind needs to constantly be renewed. Romans 12:2 says, 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.' Whoa. So, this scripture holds the answer to my first issue. See, if I renew my mind, I'm going to know what God's will is. I can rely on that, and not 'fate' or happenstance. I can trust that God has me in the palm of His hand, no matter what comes from left field.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was engaged to a man from my past. This man and I never had a relationship, but we liked each other (just not at the same time). In the dream, I didn't love the man, but since I had made a commitment to marry him, I felt bound and obligated to stay in the marriage. In the background, I could hear a voice saying, 'Don't become engaged to the wrong man'. I knew the dream had something to do with my past tripping me up in my present, but didn't clearly understand until recently. I don't have to remain 'engaged' to my previous way of thinking. It's not just superstitions that tie me up, it's thoughts that I get when I'm feeling down, like 'God doesn't love me' or 'This situation will never change' or 'I'll always....' God wants me--all of us, to change our mind. He wants our minds renewed. He wants us to let go of the past. Put away childish thinking. Disengage from the lies the devil wants to make us believe.

This is a new day for me. No longer will I be fettered by my past, my old mindset, or anything that comes to set itself between me and what God has for me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Silence is Golden

I didn't realize until just recently how much I love silence. We recently had out of town company stay with us for a few weeks for Thanksgiving. One of my relatives loves TV. The TV is on constantly. She loves the news and she loves crime shows. Now, I do have an affinity for TV. Afterall, I got 49 out of 50 my first go-round of this quiz.

But the thing is, after a while, all that TV is just noise to me. When I turn it off, I hear so much more. I can think. I can be creative. I find that I do more because I don't have some talking head distracting me. I recently went 6 months without watching TV. I picked up crocheting and knitting, and I began a quilt. I learned how to (finally) bake bread from scratch. I didn't miss it.

But then, for one reason or another, I turned it back on. At first it was just whatever was on HGTV or the Food Network. Eventually I meandered over to The Style Network, which led to my occasional forays into VH1. And now I've found myself in this super lazy mode. I've got the TV on until I go to bed. I wake up more tired every day.

Years ago, I went to church with a family that had 6 kids. I worked with the husband, and one day he told me that his family did not have a TV, and that his children had never even seen TV! I seriously thought they were whacked out. I mean, I could not fathom not watching TV. Fifteen years later, I am totally understanding where they were coming from.

It's getting harder and harder as a Christian to find shows that aren't degrading, demoralizing and just downright offensive to me as a believer. The other night, I saw a crime drama about a serial killer who thought he was Jesus. He killed people the way the original 12 disciples were martyred. Of course he was psychotic, but I got the distinct feeling that the writer sorta felt that perhaps all "religious" people are a bit off, and the only people worth their salt are scientists--you know, the ones who believe solely in "logic".

If it's not gratuitous violence, it's gratuitous sex. It seems these days anything goes. I've gotta say, I've had enough. I am seriously considering canceling my cable subscription. Of course, I have people in my household that would have a conniption and probably suffer extreme TV withdrawals. The other problem is that we have one of those bundles where you get cable, high speed Internet and phone service 'for one low price'. The only way to get rid of cable is to get rid of everything else. Unfortunately, I have severe anxiety when I think about canceling Internet service. One step at a time. I will turn off the TV. Maybe in about a year I'll revisit the Internet thing. Who knows, in a year's time I probably will raise goats and learn how to spin yarn. Nah, but I might think about it.