Skip to main content

Detaching from the World


                Desiring exquisite food and clothing is like painting firewood.  These things are consumables.  Clothes keep you warm regardless of their color.  Common foods will satisfy your hunger.  Desire what is right for you.

 Guigo1: Meditations

                There is a Spiritual Discipline of Detachment that will help us make spiritual progress.  Attaching to the world is natural; detaching from it makes no sense until you transfer that attachment to God. 

                I loved the way Guigo put it when he described desiring clothes as painting firewood.  It all burns.  That is a great way to keep the goods of this world in mind. 

                Honestly, I wish I did not have as much as I do have.  I don’t even know how much I have or what I have.  I envy those who have so little that they know every item they own and put it into use daily.  I’m never as free as when I am traveling on a mission trip.  I am forced to narrow down my personal belongings to make ample room to bring supplies for the mission plus extra gifts for the missionaries we serve.  I wear the same jewelry every day.  I wear some of my clothes more than once.  It brings such freedom.  If I have been gone a long time, it is sometimes hard to think about what to wear once I get home because I have so many choices.

                There is a delicate balance of living in this world and not getting too attached to it.  It’s not that God doesn’t want us to have comforts for our time here.  It is that He wants us to keep it all in perspective.  To help me keep God’s perspective, I have a personal prayer list that is three-tiered.  I pray about things I want.  I try not to grow too attached to these things.  I put them on the list if they seem a reasonable request that God might want to give me.  Then I pray over things that are more crucial.  This is where I pray for my family.  Lastly, I pray for what is critical,--my relationship with God.  In this way I acknowledge the things I want for my comfort in this world but leave them to be confirmed by God.  I know He has the bigger picture of my life in view and perhaps living without some of these blessings is good for me.

                I’ve had the list for quite some time, and I’m truly surprised about some of the yeses God has given to items on the list.  For example, I had a red convertible on there.  I do drive a red convertible, and it meets all my specifications, thanks to my husband’s tenacity in getting it for me.  The particular car I wanted is not a necessity, but God granted me this gift.  It truly makes me grateful to God each time I get in my car (I’ve had it for several years).  I tell people the convertible is my therapy.  I love how the gift of the car is part of the intimacy I share with God.  It is does not distract me from God at all.  I know my car will burn in the end, but it gets me to the places I need to travel and reminds me of God’s goodness to me.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 says,  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.  If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  Even my works and actions will be tested by fire.  I won’t have actions that will survive when I am too attached to the comforts I have in the world.

Copyright © 2012.  Deborah R. Newman www.teatimeforyoursoul.com  All Rights Reserved.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Moving Forward

It’s been half a decade since my husband of 27.5 years died suddenly of a brain bleed.  My life turned upside down that weekend, and nothing will ever be the same.  Someone commented to me that I had moved-on.  It was meant to be a compliment, and I totally get the affirmation that was intended.  The truth is I have not moved-on, nor do I ever expect that I will.  I love this quote sent to me in a sympathy card and have shared it over and over with others.  St Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: I can never lose one whom I have loved unto the end; one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly that it can never be separated does not go away but only goes before.               Grief should have a beginning, middle and end; that is true.  That first year or two I would have done anything to diminish my pain.  I was in so much pain that I wasn’t even a person.  It’s hard to believe that we humans will naturally grow more comfortable existing in our pit of despair of grief than to let it go…

Thank You Dad

Recently I have been contemplating why it is ingrained in me that I must be quiet and respectful and look at the flag when the national anthem is played.  It’s as natural for me as standing for the Hallelujah Chorus during Handel’s Messiah or for the Bride when she walks through the back door.  Like a Pavlov dog, my instincts go into action, and I do not even think about my somewhat conditioned response. Why?  It was definitely my own father who had the most influence over me regarding the national anthem.  I am not a sports enthusiast.  However, from a young age I found myself at sports games because my older brother played every sport offered.  Our family faithfully attended those games, which normally started with the national anthem.  I found a way to enjoy the otherwise agonizing experience of being held prisoner to my brother’s sporting events by gravitating to my friends who were there under duress as well.  We made up games of our own; we would laugh and talk throughout the q…

Waiting on Lila

On the first day of Advent I awoke to a call at 3:20 am that I should come to the hospital because my daughter was being taken down to deliver Lila—my first grandchild!  I had been first alerted to her early arrival two days before when Rachel's water broke, but not much labor. I arrived in Birmingham seven and a half hours later (it would have been sooner but there wasn’t a direct flight!). And then...we waited. We waited on Lila’s lungs to respond to a couple of steroid shots (she was three weeks early). As we waited, we halfway watched football and occasionally made small talk about subjects other than Lila’s birth; but mainly we carried on just wishing, wondering and thinking we could plan for the time that Lila would arrive based on the medical advice we were given.  All we could think about was what we were waiting for, our baby girl to come into the world.

While waiting on Lila, a code blue was called to her room; then the number was changed to the room next door. We Gran…