Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New RSS

Hello readers!

Many of you subscribe to this blog via RSS.  If that is the case, please know that if you have not updated your subscription in the past two weeks, your old RSS feed may stop working in the future.  For now, it appears to be working, but just in case, here is the new RSS subscription site.  

To my readers who do not subscribe via RSS, I apologize for the technical jargon.

-Laura

Thursday, January 13, 2011

His Word Endures Forever

Blue Flowers Depth of Fieldphoto © 2010 Steven Zolneczko | more info (via: Wylio)

For, “All people are like grass, 
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; 
the grass withers and the flowers fall, 
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[a]
And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25 (quoting Isaiah 40: 6-8)


Many people have asked about the main freelance project I am working on at the moment.  Usually, my projects are interesting.  But, I know that they are not interesting to most people.  This current project, however, is an amazing project from which we can all learn.  I am editing a Bible commentary.  It is a HUGE project, so I am accepting other small projects here and there as they arise.

There is a man of God who leads a quiet life of service.  He has been a Naval officer, commanding millions of servicemen.  He has been a corporate executive, commanding millions of dollars.  He has lived far and wide, always seeking to honor God in his work.  He has children and grandchildren, and is now "retired" in New England.  (I say "retired," because he probably works more hours than most.)  There are numerous stories to tell of his hard work, compassion, and generosity.  But, the project I am working on now is an amazing story.

He wrote an entire Bible commentary for his grandson to read.  

Now, since we are in January, many people have been talking about goals and resolutions.  Many people decide that they want to read through the entire Bible in a year.  Many of them make it, many do not.  Now, imagine that you are not only going to read the entire Bible in a year, but you are going to write a commentary on the entire Bible as well.  This man wrote a commentary to go along with his grandson's year-long commitment to read the whole Bible.  (The grandson was using, hence the commentary goes along with, the Navs Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan.)

Now, the actual completion of a commentary is impressive.  I don't know how many pages it will be, but I have worked hundreds of hours on only about 1/8 of the Bible so far.  But aside from the massive amounts of work and energy, what is impressive to me about this is the high value put on the Word of God.  Yes, the Word is important in many families.  But how many parents and grandchildren really believe that God's Word itself is one of the best legacies they could possibly pass on to future generations?

I am so proud to be a part of this project.  I am reminded constantly that "the Word of the Lord endures forever," and along with the souls of men, it is worthy of our utmost investment.  Our earthly lives, and even our children's and grandchildren's lives, are as flowers in the field.  We all wither and die, as beautiful as we may be.  We will be reborn, true.  But the Word of the Lord stands firm forever, and will always be with us as well.

Many people begin to think about the type of legacy they will leave behind when they are 50 or 60.  Perhaps it is time to think about that now (wherever you are in life), and realign yourself with the lasting legacies of the Kingdom of God.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Attraction


During my daily life, attraction has come up a lot in conversation lately.  Specifically, the role physical attraction should have in romantic relationships has come up a lot.  And I really think this topic deserves a post.

I dated a lot of different "types" of guys before I was married.  There were a few different types of musicians (orchestra, rock, and jazz), a weightlifter, a skateboarder, a soccer player, a mountain biker, and a few others.  Physically, they were also very different: short, tall, muscular, scrawny, clean, shaggy.  Needless to say I was a bit indiscriminate at times.  But, moreover, I honestly have never had a physical "type."  And I think that was a blessing.

When I first started dating my college boyfriend, we dated for a certain amount of time before we kissed.  This was a great decision, and probably deserves another post.  But, in short, he and I both knew that physical intimacy can cloud judgment.  And we wanted to be able to really get to know each other as whole people in the early days of our relationship, not just as givers of affection.  I don't remember how long we waited (maybe a month or two?), but I remember when it was over.

In the first week or two of actually kissing each other, I developed a pimple just by my lip.  Long story short, I felt horribly un-kissable and ugly.  While kissing, he noticed it and said something.  I recoiled, buried myself in the nearest piece of furniture, and started crying.  He was totally flabbergasted (as you probably are) at my reaction.  When he lovingly inquired as to what was wrong, all of my insecurities about feeling unattractive that day spilled out.  And then he responded in the most surprising and unexpected way.  He said something to the effect of, "Do you think I'm only attracted to you because of your body?"  I stopped crying out of confusion and said something like, "Um, duh.  Isn't that what attraction is?"  And then he just hugged me and told me very lovingly that he was attracted first and foremost to me, not my body.

Early in this same relationship, my boyfriend and I each listened to the marriage series of sermons by Tim Keller.  I haven't listened to them in awhile, so I may be mistaken.  But, I believe that in that series TK (as we lovingly referred to him) spoke a bit on physicality and "types."  He mentioned how, when looking for a partner, many people will walk into a room and automatically eliminate 8/10 people based on appearance alone.  In doing so, he said, many people could eliminate an amazingly satisfying life partner.

During this same year of college, some friends and mentors of ours started dating each other as well.  We'll call them Bill & Leah.  What led Bill to ask Leah out was the realization that he may have eliminated her as a potential spouse because she wasn't his type.  Even though he found her attractive, he wasn't like, "Oh, I've gotta get with her."  So after heeding TK's advice (via sermon), Bill went for it.  And it turns out that upon dating her, they were very compatible as partners and she became his type.  After a few months, he was full on thinking, "Oh, I've gotta get with her!"  And after getting married, they had/have a real physical chemistry, which has grown over time.

This is a key element of lasting attraction for me: does it grow or does it fade?  Attraction that is based only on the physical fades over time, simply because we are human and our bodies become less attractive.  It is inevitable that we will get old.  Not only that, but we will see our partners be sick, give birth, breastfeed, and do a variety of other lust-crushing activities.  But if we are attracted primarily to the person, not the body, our attraction can* grow over time.  Our attraction can grow as a result of shared memories, laughter, working alongside each other, and challenging each other.  When we are attracted to a person, their physical type becomes a turn-on to us, even if that spark wasn't there in the beginning.

My college years were a pivotal phase of life for me.  I began to learn what real, deep relationships could look like--relationships that weren't based on attraction, but on something deeper.  Now, don't get me wrong; I believe that attraction is important.  But I think too many relationships these days are based on attraction.

As such, when I began to consider dating my husband, Josh, chemistry was a huge factor for me.  We had been what I now call "very successfully platonic friends" for years before dating.  He was squarely in the friend zone.  I thought he was attractive, but I was not comfortable thinking about (to put it bluntly) the two of us having sex.  There was just an "ew" factor because of our history and friendship.  We had great chemistry in other ways (belief systems, social interaction, non-verbal communication), but we did not have great sexual chemistry.  I remember, upon our early weeks of dating, telling Leah that I liked Josh, but I wasn't dying to have sex with him.  I worried out loud to her that our relationship wouldn't go anywhere because of this.  She told me a bit about her relationship with Bill, and advised me to "give it 6 months."  If I still didn't want to have sex with him, she said to call it quits.  Well, long story short, it worked!  Our sexual chemistry grew as a result of amazing connectedness, friendship, and shared vision.  And I can honestly say that my attraction to him has grown stronger over the past 4 years instead of weaker.  My hope is that as time ages us, and kids drain us, and work busies us, our attraction will continue to grow in new and exciting ways.

As always, I would love to hear thoughts on this, especially from people with different experiences.  For instance, my guess is that many successful marriages were entered into because of physical attraction.  So I'd love to hear from someone with this experience.  What role does it play in these marriages (if you're in one)?  And how does the role of attraction change over time?  Singles out in the dating world?  Dating couples?  Married for 1, 5, or 50 years?  I'd love to hear from all of you.







*Now I'm not saying that if you are attracted to the person that it can't fade over time as well.  Of course, it is possible for you to begin to straight-up dislike your partner, and that does not bode well for attraction to grow.  This is why I think some arranged marriages work beautifully, and some fail miserably: it can go either way depending on the other factors involved.
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