Monday, March 5, 2012

On Renewal

"Americans just buy new computers whenever their old one has a problem, but here in the Balkans we take pride in renewing old things."

My friend's response came in perfect Croatian form; blunt honesty towards a general group of people, directed straight at me. I can understand. My question probably sounded disrespectful to the one who had put hours into diagnosing and partially fixing my 5 year old computer.

But I was merely trying to keep him from having to invest more time into my machine. Plus, if you can save some money, isn't it worth it to just buy a new computer rather than bother with the old one?

He's right though, many people in this part of the world value restoration. After all, they have been at it for much longer than we (Americans) have been.  Investing time and hard work into an old something - be it a car or house or computer - provides more satisfaction than simply buying a new one.

He put his money where his mouth was too, offering to buy the old machine from me so he could fix it up for himself.

That's the background for the next day.

I was driving up to the northern part of Hungary for a men's retreat. It was to be a time of renewal. There were a lot of reasons not to go. Yet, as I was driving north, I felt an incredible need to be renewed. With the conversation from the previous evening influencing my thoughts, I thought about how profoundly we were created. I realized how grateful I was that I can be renewed and that God is able to do the renewing.

While there, the Lord interacted with me in a way I hadn't experienced in a long time. A lot of it was because I was listening. That, and the fact that we had a period of complete silence.

I took along a book that has been highly recommended. Several people have told me that A Praying Life is the best book they have read on prayer.  Here are some thoughts from that book worth considering:
  •  "We are so often busy and overwhelmed that when we slow down to pray, we don't know where our hearts are. We don't know what troubles us. So oddly enough we might need to worry before we pray. Then our prayers will make sense. They will be about our real lives."
  • "You don't create intimacy; you make room for it. Efficiency, multi-tasking and busyness all kill intimacy. In short you can't get to know God on the fly."
  • "If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money and talent are all you need in life."
I am thankful that the Lord provides opportunities to loosen our grip on those things that so easily distract, and allows us to be renewed. He beckons all of us when he says:
"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
I was renewed last weekend. Thank you Lord, that you are a God who renews.


Elaine Ritchel said...

I love the background story as well at the quotations you pulled from the book. I was just thinking the other day that I spend so much time doing, and not nearly enough reflecting. Thanks for sharing!

LACI said...

And how GREAT is HIS GRACE, that HE renews us...

Great post...