Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 317: How to tell if it's God or just you being crazy

I know that God is really in something when He names it for me.

Let me debunk, unpack, and Eugene Peterson-ize this statement for you: Sometimes it's hard to figure out whether I just had some crazy idea or whether it was a thought from God. But lately [cue angels singing] it has become increasing more clear when something is God's idea and when it's my idea.

When it's my idea: Kinda chaotic, seems cool, involves a youtube video or spray paint, no nam

When it's God's idea: He names it.

I know from all those years of felt-board-Jesus Sunday school classes that names are pretty important to God. He renames people [i.e. Sarai to Sarah, Abram to Abraham, Simon to Peter], places, and celebrities [Shawn Carter to Jay-Z, Thomas Mapother to Tom Cruise, Margaret Hyra to Meg Ryan ]. Just a
warning: I am not 100% accurate the Lord had anything to do with those last few examples.

What I am sure of, however, is that (1) God thinks names are important and (2) when He changes someone's name He is giving them identity. I don't necessary mean that God is giving someone a new identity... but just identity in general. God breathes on something and suddenly this thing that, 30 seconds ago didn't have any meaning at all, becomes overwhelmingly important. Or maybe everything has a specific identity, but God breathes on our revelation and recognition of that identity. That's probably it.

Side note: I just looked up about 196.3 definitions of "identity" on the internet and they are all horrendous. Nobody knows what it is, I have concluded, which actually fits quite
perfectly with this blog post. Only God knows and can assign identity... even the definition.

All that to say... He has been naming a lot of things in my life lately:

1. Ministry ideas (when a good idea pops into my head God just goes ahead and names it for me like a chapter to a book. i.e. "Experiencial Teaching". This is how I know that something is going to work before I even do it. True story.)

2. Art or songs

3. Seasons of my life. This is my favorite thing that God does so I am excited to give you this brilliant idea.

I hesitate to tell you about this (how names names the seasons of our lives), simply because it's so personal and so amazing, but it's too cool not to share. This is how He tells me:

1. I find an old book store when I am usually feeling especially pensive and am wearing something that looks like it could be from
ropologie. It wouldn't actually be from that store because HELLO who pays $95 for a belt made out of a shoelace? Absurd. And you can't be absurd on a day like this.

2. You pray while entering the store, "God, I know that you have a name for this season of my life. What is it? I would love to know. Could you please speak to me using these books?"

3. If there's a little, antique-ish sounding bell that dings above the door when you walk in just know that you've hit a potential jackpot. Just from experience.

4. Begin in a section of the store that "woozles" you. Definition of the Justine-term known as "woozle": to feel a particular fondness for that cannot be explained with words. For example, I go immediatel
y to the animal, music, or children's books section. I don't really know why... it just woozles me.

5. Scan the spines of the books. Pray again. You are looking for a title that touches your soul for a reason that you may not know or understand at the time. Also, you're looking for a hardback book that has a cool spine... don't pick out something lame, new or paperback.

6. Go to different sections. You will find it. Or if you don't find one for you, you will CERTAINLY find one for someone else. They make fabulous gifts.

7. Stand in awe when the Lord gives you a book. Take a minute. Then bamboozle your way up to the front and buy that thing. Write the date on the inside cover. You will forget to do it later so do it right away. Why would you do something like this? Because nobody does it, because Kindle can't replace the smell of old books and the Lord loves to do it. Plus, it looks cool on your desk.

About 8 weeks ago I happened to be in my hometown at my second favorite old book store (my #1 fav is in northern washington). I was feeling especially burnt out and confused so I meandered into the shop, casually browsing the weathered books, honestly just needing a break. Then, I stumbled upon it... torn, tattered, and teal... with irony lettering that read, "Gifts of Unknown Things."

I felt this sudden rush in my spirit, grabbed the book, and out the door I went. With haste I put it on my bookshelf upon returning home, but not before I noticed the bookmark that was gently placed inside. I opened my treasure to where the bookmark was resting and there it was...the first chapter of the book entitled, "And the Spirit moves." I about jumped out of my skin. Seriously legit, God. What to go on that one.

I have drawn from the simple title of that book over and over and over again these past few weeks. When I have been angry I have yelled, "Gift of something 'unknown' huh?! I would like to know NOW! Enough with the waiting!" When I have felt disappointed and heartbroken I have whispered, "I thought this was supposed to be GIFTS of unknown things, God? This doesn't seem exactly like a gift to me."
And when I have felt content and still...well...Gifts of Unknown Things sounds just about right.

Try asking Him to name a few things in your life... like... What would you call this friendship, God? What would you name my marriage? How would you call the condition of my heart? What is this season called? Simply, what are you saying today, God?

He's big on names. And if He names it you know it's going to be good.