Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lesson from the Farmer: You are what you eat.

It's an ancient principle, and logical: whatever I sow, that will I reap.

Sitting inside my coffee shop, surrounded by glass and glint of sun. I cannot avoid half of my reflection in the glass, try as I might - my eyes curved and squinting out the brightness, inviting the crow's to break foot on their outside edges. Bangs bent long over one eye in a funny fashion that screams their discomfort, longing for sheers.

There's the one-ear-perked, sad-eyed, red-collared dog tied to his post and barking for the companion that he loves whose momentarily left him in pursuit of coffee. There's the copper colored Panasonic tourist bike, chained to the post adjacent to dog. There, across Greenwood Ave, is the freelance artist outside the Metropolis Children's shop sawing away at his blocks of wood in a red sweatshirt and baseball cap.

And here is why I love words even more than photography - I choose what you see of my picture. Try as you might, you cannot see what people reside on the corner opposite. They are interesting, too - you would enjoy seeing them. But I will keep them to myself and let you enjoy the dog, the bike, the woodsaw. I have other thoughts to pursue on page: the reaping principle.

This is not to be confused with karma. Anyone who has lived past 12 knows inherently that one of the grave injustices of the temporal world is that bad things quite often happen to those who do not seem to deserve punishment. And, prosperity often keeps company with people whose selfishness, arrogance, and outright cruelty seem to outweigh what good they might offer the world. Karma, world-watchers, is far less logical than truth - a fool's hope at constructing meaning out of suffering that leads only to judgment and confusion.

The reaping principle still stands. If I eat meat, my body reaps protein. If I eat cookies, sugar. When I eat a balanced diet and sleep regularly, I reap health and energy more often than not. When I sow dreams, discipline, and hard work, I reap the reward. When I sow laziness, self-service, and wasteful, meaningless pursuits, I reap emptiness and disgust.

I find as I dream, that I do not always fulfill those dreams. No, in fact, there are many dreams that morph form and fashion and output along the way. Yet the Proverbial saying is true - "Without vision, the people cast off restraint." When I'm working towards nothing, for myself it's a vortex of apathy and introspection. Christ-centered vision turns my heart outward, my eyes upward. Goals give me a reason to eat healthy, to exercise, to budget my money, to think critically, to work hard, to endure.

I find that even the goals that I have are dominated by what I am eating - not just food, but any input to mind, body, soul. Voices - people - books - circumstances. And I must choose what I will listen to - what I will input - or I will be tossed back and forth by waves of doubt, chased down by every voice fighting for my attention.

So in this new year, I am choosing to be more deliberate about my input. The Bible, as God's living and active Word, is my #1 source of input. Input that doesn't align with His Word will not be input that I listen to or accept. I will continue to pursue Christ-centered community, and the voices of godly men and women who have gone before me. I will read - I will budget for reading. I will read about theology, community, business, economics, social justice, anthropology, education. And I will read good literature. I will make time for solitude and for prayer. I will work hard to pay off my debt. I will not be afraid to dream and pursue dreams. But more than dreams, I will pursue Christ - I will drink deeply of His Word, and I will try to understand what it means to follow Him every day, and to act in accordance His Word, His character, His truth. I will be a woman who walks by faith and not by sight, by His great grace and the working of His faithful Holy Spirit.

Hosea 10:12 - "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you."

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