Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where Are You Going? ~God

Genesis 16:8

"And he (the Angel of the Lord) said, 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'"

Great question. I ask myself that often. A lot of people these days ask me the same thing. Where am I going?

I know where I came from, literally and figuratively. But I'm unsure where I will literally be going, as far as location, next move, etc. Figuratively, I know where I've been and have a pretty good idea where I want to be, and I know what I don't want to go back to.

Hagar, maidservant of Sarai, was "given" to Sarai's husband, Abram, when Sarai was unable to conceive. She wanted a baby/heir, plain and simple, and wanted the baby NOW. So, as was the custom of the day, she took her maidservant and offered her as a surrogate to Abram.

Hagar got pregnant and then the tension between the two women set in. Sarai mistreated Hagar and Hagar just wanted to escape her circumstances and fled. I can only imagine the drama that must have been involved in that situation. I read Hagar didn't want to see Sarai's face. (We as humans haven't changed much have we?)

What happened next is what I love.

Hagar alone, pregnant, without a home, without a place in life, decided to go back to what she knew before life in the Abram clan. What she knew before was life in Egypt. Life serving other idols.

While sitting at a spring The Angel of the Lord appears to her. He asks her where she has come from and where she is going. Wow! Can you even imagine? She saw The ONE, the LORD. (Many commentaries state this may have been a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God's Messanger-Servant.) He asked her what kind of plan she thought SHE was making. She probably didn't know where she was going, but responded, "I'm running away from my mistress."

She was running away. How often do we just want to flee what was undesireable, but don't have the next destination figured out?

I'm currently reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and the main character of the book has a similar life story. Rather than see what God has in store for her, she keeps wanting to flee back to what is familiar. It's not what is better for her, it's just predictable.

In Hagar's encounter with the Angel of the LORD she calls God, El Roi, "The One who sees me" or, "The Living One who sees me." Does it get any better than that?? The ONE who sees me knows my circumstances and knows my heart. He knows what lies ahead and what is in the past. He knows the answers to the questions I have asked and even the answers to the questions I'm afraid to ask. He's got the plan for today and the plan for tomorrow. I just need to trust in His Goodness and be patient.

So, if you're wondering, "Where is she going?" My response is...I'm going where God wants me to go. I'm trusting Him to provide the destination.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Things I've Learned Living in the OC #4- Warm Climate vs. Cold Climate

Yesterday on my facebook page I posted an article published by the Seattle Times about Seattle's Dis-Ease or the Seattle Freeze on developing deep friendships or relationships. I was surprised at the MANY comments I received back on the post. I didn't post the article to slam Pacific Northwesterners, but to bring attention to the lifestyle and to better articulate some of the differences I've noticed in cultures, so to speak, from the PNW to life in Orange County.

Some have mentioned the differences are due to warm climate versus cold climate. Some mention the difference are due to the original settlers of the respective areas. I'm not sure what it is, but simply put, what I do notice is I REALLY like getting together and hanging out with friends and we seem to be doing more of that here in Orange County.

If you know me you know I'm an extrovert. I love my time alone, but I LOVE hanging out with friends too. I love spending time visiting with friends and family, sharing an afternoon, making a meal together, sitting at a sports event talking, going for walks, etc. Being with friends and family fills me up!

Before moving to Orange County, my home responsibilities were many and I know I felt if I took an afternoon off from my "work" I'd fall further and further behind. That is a stressful place to be. I wanted to spend time playing, but also felt guilty and overwhelmed if I took the time off. I did make time to go for runs, weather permitting, and take the kids to the parks, but we would usually do those things alone.

I know in many ways I've changed by moving to the OC. I'm more relaxed, less stressed, happier, family life is better, free-er, and friend time is more plentiful. I want all this to continue regardless of where we live. So how do I make that happen if I live in the OC or in the PNW or the midwest for that matter? Good question.

How would we go back to life in the PNW, but not go back to the isolation. Dear friends, don't get defensive, I love you, that's why I WANT to spend MORE time with you. How do I break the "Cold Climate" mode and live the WARM climate life in a cold climate??