Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
This question (in German) translates to “Do you speak German”? In high school, my German teacher gave us a way to know when we really had “learned” to speak the German language.
As a beginner, we would continue to think in English and translate to German as we spoke. When we could think in German and write and speak without using English, then we would know the language well. But, he offered, the true hallmark was when we would dream in German. That was when our brain had accepted the German language as a “native” language.
I think there is a parallel in that lesson with the place we make in our minds for the spiritual world.
Let’s try this simple thought experiment:
Growing up, my parents took my brothers and I camping and hiking. The call of nature remained in me all these years. I truly embrace the notion set forth in John Muir’s quote: “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
For as long as I can remember, I have carried with me a dream that includes three simple elements: dog, cabin, woods. That’s right, I want to own a cabin on (at least) 20 acres. And I want a dog there with me. The dream has included others based on the stage of my life, but right now, the dream is just me and a dog in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Throw in a stream and the occasional snow and I am living in my version of heaven on earth.
But, now that I am 58 years of age, flat broke and no genuine prospects for making vast sums of money, that dream has died. Land is expensive and the cost of a cabin? Forget it. I can accept that it will never happen. But I still feel the call to live “in” nature.
Okay, raise your hand if after you read the above text you thought something along the line of “Well, if you work hard, spend wisely, save more, sacrifice and maybe get a second job, you could still achieve your dream.”?
You can put your hands down now.
Now, raise your hand if you thought something like this: “Well, if it is God’s plan and you are obedient, it will happen. If it is not God’s plan, then it wasn’t important to begin with.”?
If you are in the first group, your native “language” is the language of the secular world.
If you are in the second group, your native “language” is of the spiritual world.
For those in the first group, you think we are to control our own destiny through effort, focus, and discipline.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
– Matthew 16:25-26 (NIV)
Surrender your life to God. Lose it. Allow God to build within you the life He designed for you. Listen and obey.
For those in the second group, you believe God has a plan for us, and through obedience, we can achieve the plan. Anything outside that plan is no longer important.
Who do you trust with your future? The secular world or God?
Oh, second group, you can put your hands down now. Sorry.
I have turned my dog, cabin, woods dream over to God. We will see what He does with it.
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