Recently I have taken up an interest in reading. I’ve pretty much disliked reading for a long time. I’m thinking it may have begun in 5th grade. I remember having to read a book for a book report. I don’t know what it was called but I think it had something to do with a pig, the cover, I think, was green and it was something of a fantasy book. I had a hard time following the book and didn’t want to read it. Of course, my mom made me finish and do the book report. I recall later in middle school that once a week, during homeroom, I had to go to my English class for tutoring. It was decided that I had a difficult time with reading comprehension. Funny, here I was taking all “gifted” classes, but yet still had to go to remedial tutoring for comprehension.
Back to 2007-I have always liked the show Clean Sweep on TLC. On this show, people who have WAY too much stuff go on the show and have to get rid of a lot of things while decorators redo their rooms. The clutter expert is Peter Walsh. He is very direct about dealing with the crazy amounts of things people have and the reasons they hold on to it. I definitely don’t have as much junk as the people in the show, but I still would not want Peter Walsh to show up at my house.
Peter wrote a book called “It’s All Too Much!” I had been waiting to get the book from the library (read-I’m cheap!) but it didn’t happen. One day I had gone to the mall and wouldn’t you know the book was on clearance for $5.99. I figured I could handle that price and then if need be, I would have the book on hand later. I read the book and did enjoy it. Did it inspire me to go start emptying every closet, cabinet and drawer? Well, not exactly. I did start doing things slowly and managed to throw away and give away quite a bit of stuff. I am by no means done with this process, but it takes some time to get things done with an 18month old in the house! (Anyone need some kitchen items or VHS movies?)
After reading that book and actually enjoying something that wasn’t written for a two year old, I decided I should pick up some other books. I saw a post on a website I frequent (www.fishingfordeals.com) for books at the Dollar Tree store. The Dollar Tree is an actual dollar store where every item is a dollar or less. Someone had mentioned how the Dollar Tree had books, and not just books that you don’t want to read or cheesy romance novels. These are books that were sold in regular bookstores, but apparently didn’t sell out (so maybe they aren’t that great)! I decided to go look. I ended up spending $3.21 (after taxes) on three books that originally would have cost over $60. I picked up Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields, Absolut, Biography of a Bottle by Carl Hamilton and The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart. I also found someone online who was selling a bunch of books, 3 for $1 plus media mail shipping. I bought seven books from her for less than $1 a book shipped. This may have been a bit ambitious to think that I will actually get through all of these books, but one can only have a goal.
Of these books I have only finished Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields. It was an okay read. I don’t know that I would be passing it all my friends but if someone wanted to read it, I would let them have my copy. I was able to at least understand what she was talking about since I had some experience with the subject. It wasn’t, however, a full upbeat happy go lucky book. This is okay but what else can you do with the topic!
Today I started reading Naked Fruit by Elisa Morgan. The tagline to the book is “getting honest about the fruit of the spirit.” Morgan writes about nine ‘fruits’ that we all want to possess. The fruits can be found in Galatians 5:22-23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Morgan points out that simply being “nice” does not mean that we really have the fruits of the Spirit figured out. The concept is to be like Jesus, like God, not just nice. Morgan points out that while Jesus always possessed all the fruits of the Spirit, he wasn’t always nice. Sometimes his love, kindness or peace may not have been nice, but they were fruit-filled and what needed to be done. She also writes “fruits of the Spirit are God-like qualities that make us look like him.” The idea is that we want to be ourselves to other people but we want to do so through God and have him been seen through us.
The whole reason this post came to be was what Morgan wrote in the second chapter.
We want our days to be about more than the next meal, the next deadline completed, the next errand to the grocery store, the next sale, or even the next girl-time-get-together with our friends. And while it’s totally thrilling to watch our child move through each developmental stage—sitting, crawling, walking, talking!—we long for the days when she reads, when she makes her first real friend, when she uncovers her desire to learn, and when she falls in love. We look past today and want to know that what we’ve invested our time in now will matter tomorrow. We want to leave a legacy with who we are and what we do. We want to grow a life that matters.
This made me immediately think of Heritage Community Church. The following line is from the first blog post at www.theheritagecommunity.org: Heritage Community Church —“Living a Legacy of Faith”— birthed out of a common passion, bathed in prayer and built on Faith. We want to leave a Legacy, but we also want to LIVE a Legacy of Faith. But then I ask, what does it mean to live a legacy of faith? Legacy is defined as a gift of property or anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor (dictionary.com). With this definition, I think of “Living a Legacy of Faith” as being a person of faith showing others God’s love in such a way to teach what it means through their example of life. While reading this I also thought of Mike Tucker’s interview at church on Sunday. He made it clear that his family is important to him and that he wants to be able to look at his children one day and say, “I did that.” He wants to say that in such a way that he is proud of how they have grown into the people they have become. He wants to know that his investment in them has helped to shape them into the people that God wants them to be.
Isn’t this true for most people? Wanting something more? The problem with wanting something more is that many people don’t know what that more should be. They will try to have “more” through many different avenues and it often equates to stuff or relationships that aren’t what they really need or want. We have to show God’s love to people who want something more. Our spiritual fruits will bring others to us to discover God. For this to happen, we need to develop the fruits God wants us to possess and live a life that matters. It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.