I got deep into some home improvement projects while the girls’ were with grandparents, and the blog fell by the wayside. But now the house is put to rights, the girls are back, and so am I. A note on the readings: I’m going to keep reading Genesis this month, and with the start of Lent (March 6 this year) I’ll be reading Job.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister,so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
My last post was about using our gifts to do God’s work, and here we see God calling upon Abram to follow His path. Like, really follow His path: leaving your family and wandering out into the unforgiving wilderness to foreign lands is scary enough now; back then it was a real act of faith.
I (only half jokingly) say that I hope I never hear directly from God. If I hear the voice of God, I’ll have to follow whatever he commands me to do. How can one ignore the direct voice of God? I never want to be Abram, who uprooted everything and moved away. But, with that being said, I constantly question if I’m doing the right thing, if I’m on the right path. Perhaps some of this is normal and healthy, but I do tend to be an over-thinker. This past week or so I’ve noticed a lot of reminders in my life about finding your purpose, or your own special place in God’s plan, so I decided to take the Spiritual Gifts Assessment offered by the United Methodist Church. There are others, but this was the one recommended to me, and you don’t have to sign up for anything to take it, so it’s the one I went with.
For those curious, I scored highest in “Interpretation,” i.e., I’m good at bridging the gap between different groups of people. I also scored well in Sheperding, Healing, and Servanthood, which makes sense as I do those things on a daily basis with my kids. I scored really low in Faith and Helping, which kind of bums me out, but I guess gives me something to work on.
But now that I know my strengths (and weaknesses) I can compare my efforts to them. I’m feeling good about this blog – at least today, like I said, I’m a classic over-thinker -because it fits solidly into the “Interpretation” strength. I can weigh other potential endeavors, such as joining church committees or taking up volunteer work, against these strengths to see if I’d be a good fit and more likely to stick with it. That’s not to say that sometimes things won’t fit neatly into the mold. I ran the art committee at my previous church and I don’t really think that played to my spiritual strengths, but more to my love of art. But still, this test and these strengths are a nice starting point.
If you’ve felt like you could be doing “more,” or if you feel like your faith could be doing more for you, I encourage you to take this test. We may not be Abram going through the strange lands of Canaan and Egypt, but we are, each and every one of us, going through this strange and wondrous life without a guidebook. Knowing our spiritual strengths is another tool in our toolbox to make the most of it.