Traditions

Traditions are those beliefs and/or customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the best examples is our celebration of Christmas. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th, as the day that Jesus was born, but historically it has been agreed that he was born closer to the month of April. You can hear people say that you can’t celebrate Christmas without a tree or decorations; the truth is those are merely distractions, there were no trees or decorations at the manger when Jesus was born.

 Traditions have colored the way we do things and have distracted us from the real meaning. In terms of holidays, I boycotted traditional Christmas last year and don’t get me started on Easter. All my readers have five minutes to explain to me the relationship between eggs, bunnies and the resurrection… Go ahead, I can wait!

 There are people who have chosen careers because it’s a tradition in their family for everyone to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, or a policeman.  Some people go to a certain college because that’s where their family members went, not because it has the best program for their interests.

God made us unique. He took his time to form each and every one of us, and every one of us has See full size imagea different purpose in the body of Christ. Following traditions, in my humble opinion, are not either good or bad, unless of course the tradition harms the person or others; but it’s not necessary in the implementation of God’s plan for us. We need to ask ourselves what opportunities we have wasted because that’s not what we usually do, the way we usually do it, or the way the people around us did it?

How about when our blessing comes in a different package than what we are used to or expecting, and because we’re not familiar with it we pass it right by? Can you believe that the greatest lesson of marital love I learned from a homeless man? I was part of a ministry that was feeding the homeless. This man came to our line and grabbed his portion of food; something in him caught my attention. All the others sat in front of where we were and ate, he ran with his food to hide. Another person from the ministry and I followed him at a distance, his wife was under some boxes sleeping, probably after heavy drug use. She was very weak, he told her that he had brought her something and lifts her head up with his arms and started feeding her his food. We told them that we had enough for him to eat too. He thanked us but told us that he had come to the line just to make sure that she would get something to eat.  When I think about how a husband should love his wife, I think of them. It was not wrapped up in the prettiest package, but it blessed me. How many lessons or blessings have we missed because of our pre-conceived notions and traditions?

Hidden in a dream

I had a dream last night that I’m trying to decipher. I know some dreams are just that; dreams. But I really think this one was trying to speak to my heart.

Before I moved to this state, I had built my house “from scratch” (bear with the baking reference, I don’t know the first thing about construction, but talk to me about cakes and we are in business) I had the property, in a way, and I sat with the contractor and designed what was my dream house within my budget and space. Within a few months that house was built. I was able to choose every window, every tile, every appliance, and every color.

In my dream I was back at that house, but it looked very different from the real house that I lived in. It looked like I had just moved in, had a lot of boxes spreaded out and a few pieces of furniture.  I was happy in there because it was a canvas of many things I could do with the house. Looking out the window, I saw a neighbor, who is actually someone who was my neighbor at the real house, who told me she wanted to buy the house. I told her that I needed to consult with my mother ( just like in the real house, my house was built inside her property, so even though the house was mine, the land wasn’t ) My mother was hesitant to the idea, but we agreed to at least let her see the inside of the house.

As we walked through the house with her, I found perks that I had not seen before. I saw an old piano that just needed some painting, a collection of very cute elephants in gold, the house that in the real life had only two bedrooms keep growing on the inside, and all the sudden had four bedrooms and five bathrooms. The real house had only one. It had this huge kitchen. As I kept walking through the house showing my neighbor the selling points, I started discovering that I may not want to get rid of this house, that there was a lot in it that I had not seen that was of value in there and that I could do so much in that house; yes, with some money, patience and tender loving care.

In these last few days I had toyed with the idea of selling my current house, but I don’t think that this is what this dream was about at all.  I think this dream is speaking to me and the things that are going in my life at this moment. God is showing me how he’s cleaning my house, my spiritual house, and how many hidden gifts are there that I have not seen, not because their hidden, but because I have not taken the opportunity to look. That I should tour my house and see how many valuable things are there. That I’m in the right spot of being a brand new canvas, where HE can build a new life for me, a beautiful one. I thought I only had two rooms, he showed me all the other ones. To me that spoke about how much more love he can accommodate in me if I allow him. It speaks to how many more people can be accommodated in my heart to shelter. Just like in the dream, to get that house in shape is going to take money, patience and tender loving care; who better than God to provide it all if I just let him do his job and allow myself to shut up.

At the end of the dream I had a little boy  filled with dirt. I grabbed him by the hand and entered him into the shower to be cleansed. To me that’s a promise, that I will be holding in my heart.

God keeps reminding me to be still and know that he is God. I think at this point I know that he has a lot of things that he’s going to do with me, in this new canvas of my life. He has cleared my past and made me new. I need to learn how to crawl before I start running and I tend to forget that even when every time I run I end up hitting my head against the wall. Yes, I can be slow.

So I guess my thought about that dream is that I need to sit down, shut up and enjoy the journey of where God is trying to take me. He has promised to have a great future for me and I trust that, therefore no matter how hard things can look now, there’s nowhere to go from here but up.