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December 3, 2012

As a substitute teacher, I see a lot of different kids every week.  But there are a few teachers in Stafford County that I sub for regularly.  Last week I was in for my friend Lanae.  I had gotten through two of her three classes and was already ready for the day to be over – it was Friday.  At a middle school.  I left to quickly go to the bathroom before the last block, and when I came back most of the students were already in class.  When I walked in the room, some of the girls who recognized me from the last time I was there a month or so ago, screamed.  Loudly.  I calmed them down and quieted the class.  But the girls started asking me questions, “How are your cats?!”  To which I responded, “Woah there – I only have one cat.  I’m not a cat lady … yet.”  They asked me if I wanted to be one.  I said I hadn’t decided … yet.  Even though the verdict is still out on that one, I do know one thing – I am a nun.  At least according to the dictionary definition … this might be taking the name of our apartment too far (help me out on this one, Shannon), but I’ve really embraced it because it gives me sense of belonging.  Not just to a place, but to something more.  Isn’t that a small piece of what everyone is looking for – something bigger to be a part of?  The definition of nun, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is: a member of a religious community of women, typically one living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  While it may just be Shannon and myself at our apartment, that’s still a community, right?  Let’s not get too technical on this one.  What struck me when I looked up this definition was the word obedience.  I consider myself an independent person who pretty much does as she wishes (within reason of course), but I do what I love.  I’m obedient to what I’m passionate about.  I’m passionate about loving people well and living life with those around me – friends, family, colleagues.  I wouldn’t say I live in poverty in the sense that you would expect (yeah, sure, I don’t drive a brand new Lexus, but I do have an iPhone 5) or in chastity (the kitty and I snuggle all the time … when she’s not trying to claw the rest of the furniture), but in a sense I do.   I don’t use my resources completely for myself, and I’m chaste from a lot of things that the world says I should enjoy.  Using this flexibility, I’m self-declaring myself a nun.

Think about it.  Think about it in the context of your life.  What are you chaste from?  Or not chaste from?  What are you obedient to?  Everyone is obedient to something.  Everyone.  You’re not an exception.  I’d be really interested in hearing your answer.

Over Thanksgiving break I had an interesting conversation with my brother.  He and my mom are very obedient to (among other things that I’m sure they would love to talk to you about) being informed about our country’s political and social issues.  They keep me in line on some issues – or at least tell me I should know what’s going on, which is a good thing, it’s good to know what’s going on.  My brother and I talked about making an informed decision when voting, and how it can not only affect you, but those around you, which is very valid.  It made me want to know what was important to him though.  So I asked.  Straight up.  “What’s important to you, Brian?  What do you think the purpose of things are?”  He talked a bit about the importance of community and volunteering and being informed (which also speaks to how much he loves school – he’s super smart and could have majored in whatever he wanted).  He said he thought community was important – those you live with, your friends, those in the area around you – and how volunteering your time plays into that as well – he thinks that as a more fortunate citizen, he owes it to those less fortunate to help out however he can.  He thinks being politically active and informed is another way to advocate for those around you.  If I had to summarize in a sentence what my brother is obedient to, I would say that he is obedient to being intelligent, informed, and invested.  (Sorry, the alliteration was there, I had to go for it).

Where is your obedience?  Have you ever thought about it that way?

I’m just finished reading this great book that my friend Dana lent me.  It’s called Not a Fan.  It talks about how Jesus has fans and he has followers, and it goes into how all Christians fall into one of those two categories.  I’m seeing that this is true about everything in my life – I’m either being obedient to how I say I’m going to live my life or I’m not.  I’m either living my life the way I want to live it or I’m living it the way I should.  I joke about the nun thing all the time.  Shanon and I get constant entertainment out of it.  But in all seriousness, I think it’s a great metaphor for how I want to live my life.  I want to be obedient to righteousness and to sanctification.  I want to be obedient to love and to grace.

What do you want to be obedient to?  What is the metaphor that your life tells?  What is the bigger story that you are sharing with the world?

I have this thing that I tell people all the time, when they ask me how I’m doing or what I’ve been up to, I say, “Oh you know, working three jobs, leading Young Life, and just doing my thing here in Fredericksburg.”  I often shorten it and say, “Yeah, just doing my thing here in Fredericksburg.”  I think what I want my life to tell then, is that I’m obedient to that life that I say I’m living.

What kind of a life are you being obedient to?

Just some thoughts from your neighborhood Mother Superior.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian permalink
    January 7, 2013 5:23 pm

    Waiting for more notes . . .

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