Monday, June 24, 2013

There's an App for That!

Ten years ago the word "app" wasn't even in my vocabulary. Neither were the words iphone, ipad, ipod or Twitter. My how the times have changed!

Ten years ago I was living what I thought was the American dream. Our children were one and five and I had gone back to work. My career as an interior designer was thriving and my husband's self-owned landscaping business was also flourishing as residential and commercial development skyrocketed in our area. We had recently moved from our quaint 1800 square foot bungalow home into a historic Georgian manor home and we would soon also purchase a lake home in order to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of our lives. We worked from early in the morning until late into the evening, striving to gain the riches that the world promised would make us happy and respected by our peers.

As our children grew, I began pushing my son to participate in every sports league and social event that a five year old can attend. Our neighbors were also climbing their way up the social and economic ladder. We often spent evenings with them drinking wine and celebrating our successes. We were on our way- or so we thought.

A few short years later things began to make a drastic turn. The career that I had once enjoyed had taken over my life and I realized that I no longer desired to rise to the top in my field. The economy had taken a huge hit and both my work and my husband's business rapidly declined as the real estate markets flat-lined. Our fun-loving neighbors were headed to divorce court and our youngest child was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities. The ultimate blow was when my husband's father was diagnosed with throat cancer.

A time of reflection and searching followed. All my life I had done what I thought was "right" in they eyes of the world. My work ethic was stellar. I pushed myself to go above and beyond what was expected of me and I demanded that same work ethic from those around me, including my husband and my children. I was hard on everyone. As time progressed, I began to realize that what I had perceived as "right" might not be the answer after all. In this time of searching, God began calling my name.

The Bible had always been a mystery to me. The language and words stilted and hard for me to comprehend. Of course until that time, I'd only read it sparingly. My understanding was that it was simply a framework of how to live a "good" life and I thought I already knew the answer to that. But soon I realized that the Bible was more than just a framework for morality. As I began to study the stories, they made more sense. I found myself relating to the characters and I longed to apply the teachings in my life.

One particular story resonated strongly with me - the Parable of the Lost Son. See, like the older brother in the story, I thought that I was doing ALL the right things. I was always obedient to my parent's/boss's wishes, always the hard worker trying to please others and "do the right thing," always looking for approval and gain along the way. But I was also hard on and unforgiving of others, judging them by my own set of self-imposed standards. I began to wonder what my intentions were. Was I trying to help people? Or was I simply trying to get ahead and stroke my ego? Were my desires for my children to help them find God's purposes in their lives by letting them experience new things? Or was I simply trying to "keep up with the Joneses?"

I soon realized that my role in this parable was not that of the first born child, but of the lost one. I was lost "in the world." And as I responded to God's whisper of my name, I was awestruck by His desire for me, despite my many years of confusion and sin. His pull in my life led me to read His Word, and over time the stories began leaping off of the pages, speaking to my daily struggles and giving me life applications and guidance.

I now know the true reason for the Bible, His holy Word. God never intended for it to sit on a shelf, gathering dust. He never meant for it to be a set of ancient rules that are not relevant to our daily lives or a set of morals for us to use without an understanding of His love for us. God's desire is for us to find ourselves in these stories, and in the midst of finding ourselves, to find Him.

Do you look at the problems in your life and wonder how God can work in your circumstances? Is the Bible still a mystery to you? God's love is revealed on the pages of His Word. The stories are timeless and speak to each of our situations. Open your Bible and you will find the answers you have been searching for. I promise you, the Bible is the ultimate "App" for that!

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