Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day Six! A Good Thing to Find?

A friend sent me this article yesterday. I hope you'll forgive me if I cross-post my reaction from my other blog; it seems relevant to the conversation we're having here:

The article astounds, baffles, and exasperates me. A girl agrees to tie herself to a man two decades older than she is with a 15 foot rope, live a celibate life with him forever (in a YURT no less) and people are flocking to her for relationship advice?

Shouldn't there be some point at which we look at the people we're seeking counsel from and think, "Do I really want to end up where s/he is?" How many of us want to end up tied to an old guy in a yurt???

I wonder if this is where my parents thought I was headed, all those times I came home and explained how they needed to spread salt around their house to absorb any negative energy, lest they suffer harm when Mercury came into retrograde?

At the very least, spiritual exploration gives us funny stories to share at cocktail parties. You know, once we've left the yurt and vaccummed up all the loose salt from our parents' living room...

In other words, who am I to judge? Except that to some extent, we ARE supposed to judge: not in the condemnation/denouncing sense, but rather in terms of asking ourselves the question I pose above (the one I failed for so many years to ask): "Do I really want to end up where s/he is?" and the all-important follow-up: "Given my answer, should I seek their counsel?"

It makes me wonder why I was so quick to line up for weird advice?

One of the fun things that jumped out at me when I started considering this idea of wisdom and where to find it, was how closely Proverbs describes the benefits of finding wisdom and the benefits of finding a wife:

"Whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and receives favor from the Lord."--Proverbs 8:35

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord."--Proverbs 18:22

It suggests a parallel, I think. Or perhaps it just struck me this way because the job of "wife" seemed utterly unattainable, and I'd been so dumb in my past relationships. (Clearly, the book "He's Just Not That Into You" was written with me in mind). These passages suggested that the future could be different. They inspired me to seek out people--wives especially, but people in other areas, too--who were where I wanted to be in life, and discard advice from people I didn't actually want to follow.

Today, let's consider where we're getting our wisdom, and ask ourselves tough-love questions about whether our advisors are standing where we want to end up? (Note: mostly what I'm talking about here, for me at least, are books, tv shows, magazine articles...things we look to as "expert advice" that may not be all that expert. I'm NOT suggesting that anyone call up their mother or Great Aunt Hilda and say, "I'm not listening to you any more!!!" We still want to abide by the "Love is kind" rule wherever possible!)

Today's song: I just discovered the gorgeous music of Brooke Fraser. If you're looking for something cool to listen to, check out "Shadowfeet."

An administrative note: I won't be posting tomorrow (Sunday). I'll be in Chicago, away from my computer. At first this really bugged me, but then I had one of those "intersecting thoughts" that probably came from God (It's unlikely I'd have come up with it on my own): If we're seeking God together for huge, wonderful answers to prayer, it's probably not a great idea to blow off one of the Ten Commandments! (The one about keeping a sabbath where we don't work is the one I'm thinking of, but I'd also suggest avoiding murder, adultery, and coveting to whatever extent we can.) So instead of a usual post, I thought of this:

How about if Sundays are the days we live as if we KNOW our prayers are being answered? If instead of saying, "Please God, could you do/bring/change_____," we instead say, "THANK YOU God that you're doing/bringing/changing ______; thank you that you hear and that you answer.... "

It seems like something worth practicing :)


the teacher said...

what a wonderful saturday. i am about to attend a mini-retreat at my church, this morning, with a bunch of women that are in the most amazing relationships. what a great idea to get advice and look to them instead of the people i have been going to. my prayers go out to everyone this weekend. enjoy!

Liza said...

It's already been a wonderful Saturday. I walked 4.5 miles this morning outside and just talked to God. It was so wonderful, that I really didn't realize how long I was out walking. I love the idea of thanking God each Sunday for what he is going to give us.

Sarakastic said...

I've accepted many crazy ideas in order not to be judgmental. I guess it's ok to judge whether I want something in my life as long as I'm not a jerk to other people about it. I love the Sunday idea.

Breeza said...

This post really opened my eyes. I often tell all my friends, Christian and non-Christian, all my boy troubles and usually take advice from them. But I don't want to end up in the same situation that some of them (non-Christian) are (living with her boyfriend who is a drug addict; being a single mom; just sleeping with men; and being trapped in a marriage I didn't want). Thanks Trish! God is really using this blog to open my eyes more everyday :)

Aimee said...

I love the idea of taking Sundays "off"! Thanks, Trish!

artsygirl said...

Wow, that was a powerful post! For me, the questions lie in looking at my "mentors," if you will, and asking the question, "Are they where I want to be in terms of marriage"? Surprisingly, as I looked at those relationships, I realized that most of the women in my life ARE actually in that place.

Also, the Sunday idea is awesome! It was a good reminder to me as well, not to murder, commit adultry, oh yeah, and to definitely take a rest day!

Kim said...

Thank you God that you hear my pathetic woes and still answer my prayers AND improve my life every day. I am grateful that you are making me a better mom, friend, wife, writer, person.

Happy Sunday.

ForstRose said...

I love the Sunday idea. My pastor often reminds us when we are praying for something we should pray expecting a yes but be prepared to accept a no from God. The idea for Sundays is a great way to expect a yes on what we all are hoping for.

As for the advice thing - I haven't been a big media person for quite a while. I enjoy movies like I do books for entertainment and escape. There are a few shows I watch on TV (very very few) and they are not news type stuff they are again entertainment.

I do sometimes see ideas or concepts from novels that I want to remember or lessons the character learns that I am in the midst of myself however as far as true advice goes I listen/internalize only that which comes from those I know have experience to back their input. However sometimes I blow off everything I hear including God and try to make things work my way which is nearly as crazy as the article you linked to sometimes just in a different sense because I usually don't know what I'm doing. Thankfully God has provided friends who ask me the hard questions when I do pull these stunts and make me stop and think about whether I really know what goals I want to strive for and am I moving toward them or in another direction entirely that realy makes no sense.


Suzanne said...

Actually this worked out fine. I decided I needed to take the weekend off, so today is Monday and the first day I'm checking in since Friday. I feel refreshed and ready to get back to our 40 days of faith blogging and journaling. I did, however, spend the weekend praying.

Elizabeth said...

This is unfortunately, the first day I have checked in since Thursday. We had a horrible event happen Thursday evening. We have been in deep prayer about this since Thurs. night. If any of you would please add my step-son Adrian to your prayer lists, I would appreciate it. This was a great post, and I loved the Sunday Sabbath keeping idea very much!
I'll be back later. Blessings All!