Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pulling Down My Idols-UPDATED

Over the last two or three years I have taken an incredible journey through ancient Greek literature.  I have studied with a mentor and discussed with friends book after book.  It was an amazing journey of learning.  What is sad though is that my take home lesson from those books was something that I could have gotten if I had just applied myself a little more to the scriptures.  Grrr.  I am frustrated at myself that I was not able to act in faith and learn through the Spirit and not have to sift through the philosophies of men mingled with scriptures to find truth. 
So my take home message from my time in the ancient Greek classics was that our society is shaped by false truths and ideas just as the ancient Greeks were trapped in theirs.  One story from Greek culture is about a man who must go off to the Trojan War.  In order to have good winds to sail quickly he sacrifices his daughter on an alter to the Gods.  He is rewarded for his sacrifice with favorable winds.  Since then I have been searching diligently to find out what my false traditions are and to try to rectify them.

One false tradition that I've found that I have been in is that I think linerally.  What in the world is that?  Perhaps that's not even the right word it's just the word that came to me as I was pondering.  When I think linerally I am always checking things off, making lists (I'm sure you've noticed that), making goals, moving from one accomplishment to the next, mastering one subject or book and then moving on to the next, thinking in levels, stages, steps to the next place that is straight ahead, etc, etc, etc.  In a nutshell it's about accomplishments and tasks completed.

I envision myself on my Rameumpton with my fine speech about how great I am because I can juggle so many things at the same time.  I really can juggle a lot.  So what though?  This is were my false traditions come in.  Society has taught me to be this way.  If I'm good I get a sticker.  If I 'm not I get put in time out.  If I get perfect attendance I get a candy bar and a soda pop.  If I'm not I don''t get anything but, "better try harder next time."  If I make enough points on the basketball court than I get a pat on the back and very cool plaque that says, "I'm the most valuable."  If I don't I'm told, "Isn't so and so awesome they worked harder, practiced more free throws and went to more summer camps.  No wonder they're so good."  If I show up to church on Sunday with my children perfectly groomed with 15 minutes to spare than I'm a good mom that has her ducks in a row.  If I don't than I'm an unorganized mom, that others say, "well, maybe some day she'll get organized enough."  If I dress so I'm a cute and hip mom than I'm accepted.  If I don't then I'm not.  It just goes on and on.  If you DO something you get nice compliments, fine rewards and you can smile a little bigger on your Rameumpton.

So I've slowly been becoming aware of that the last couple of years.  I'm all about accomplishments and actions as my society as taught be to be.  Charlotte Mason says that in order to get out of a habit we have to develop a different habit to replace it. Makes sense. So my problem as been how do I replace it?  That's where I've been at for a while.

I've been learning I need to 'be' and not 'do' but I still couldn't figure it out.  Until it dawned on me that as long as I think linerally I will never be able to conceptionally grasp how to live.  One of my son's came up to me the other day and said, "The first dimension is straight right? The second dimension is square. The third is cubed. The fourth is time and the fifth is time travel right?" I said that I thought that was right.  I hadn't studied in a while.  It made me start thinking.  "Ugh! I'm stuck in the first dimension."  I think sometimes I been in the second or third though.  I say that only because occasionally I've had some incredible "a-ha's" and I've learned to get "out of the box." Learning about home education, TJED, Charlotte Mason and a host of other ideas was mind boggling.  They were truth (they were just incomplete) and so I felt more enlightened and felt I had gained more of an awareness.

Now though I see that I need to think circularly.  The Lord has no time and His course is one eternal round.  There is a lot that that means.  More than I understand now.  I don't have to do enough to finally be loved by my family, friends, church leaders or God.  I simply must be.  I need to live with faith, hope and charity.  I need to live in a state of holiness.  I need to "live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Moroni 7:25 and D & C 84:43-44)  I need to  not " look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." (D & C 1:31 and Luke 12:59) 

So I have taken down my chore charts, my schedules, my goals and my expectations.  I will rewrite them and think in the terms of being. I will be charitable, faithful, grateful, holy, etc.  That will take work but as I live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God I will become.  To know that I'm not expected to DO any more but BE is the most freeing thing I've ever realized.  Because of course as I 'become and be' I will somehow still DO but it will be the right way with the right spirit and for the right reasons.

I will continue to look at all my false traditions and false ideologies so that I can take them down so I can see the One True God.



Jenp8 said...

Separating truth from the philosophies of men can be so tricky sometimes. I'm anxious to hear more about living without chore charts, schedules and lists. True we need to become people who just "live" and can "be" great people and "do" what we should do, but are those things a crutch that keep us from becoming or a help to use until we get there? Or is it all in how they are seen and used? Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

I had an awakening a few months ago about BEing a mom. I was doing all the mom and homeschool stuff but I was disconnected and distracted by my lists and DOing. Entering an awareness of BEing is bliss. It requires me to BE present which is harder than I thought it would be but a lot more fulfilling than I thought it would be. The present was always here and I was always somewhere else. I'm slowly but surely BEing the woman God needs me to BE.

Thanks for the post.

Mr. Smith said...

I think your realization is in keeping with recent changes in Church programs, too. The recent update to the Young Men's "Duty to God" for instance. There is less emphasis on "doing" something and greater importance on "becoming" someone (a son of God in His spiritual image).

Of course this follows the emphasis several years ago in "raising the bar" for missionaries' preparation from the routine checkbox items to becoming missionaries now, while in their youth.

crazy4boys said...

I'm interested in what you have to say and look forward to your future thoughts. I'm wondering though how you teach children to clean a home or cook or whatever without some sort of system, schedule, goals or chart. The Church leadership teaches goal making at almost every level.

Christ learned line upon line, precept on precept, which seems somewhat linear. Is there a place for both linear "learning" and "circular" being in our days?

Like a child that learns to crawl, then walk, then run, can some things be used to help you on the path and once you're "there" you can let them go? Or is it wrong to rely on charts and schedules at all?

Just some thoughts....trying to wrap my head around this....keep them coming!!!!

Joyful Saint said...

I think chore charts and lists can still be a part of Celestial living - but you will make them under the direction of the Lord as he directs you to more fully become His tool. You won't do it for worldly praise or expectations. Your life and your children's lives may end up looking a little bizarre to the rest of the world, but you'll be right where the Lord needs you.

Joyful Saint said...

Crazy4Boys, yes. All truth is inside the whole, and we learn line upon line, and add upon, not throw it all out.

BeingAMotherWhoKnows, don't be mad about the Greek Classics, but grateful. It's OK not to "get" everything instantly directly from the Spirit, be happy for those who help give you a little more. Maybe they were God's way of getting you there, and oh... There's Miles To Go before you Sleep. (A little Robert Frost for you.)

Ranee said...

I love this post, and it has made me think about inspiration and mission! I absolutely LOVE the idea of thinking circularly! (Celeste shared something similar on her blog recently!) :0) I love the idea of evaluating what and who we are becoming! Just yesterday, as part of our morning devotional, we had an impromptu discussion about mission and virtue. (This was with all 5 of my kiddo's, who are in Core phase. It wasn't complex and didn't last long, but it was a good little discussion.) I am trying to teach them to think in terms of where they are headed, but also to understand the "eternity" of if all, and how they can best BE what Heavenly Father needs and wants them to be, through understanding also, who they were before they came here. I think that this is where personal revelation and inspiration comes into play in our family. Heavenly Father will give us personal answers to individual circumstances in our lives, as we seek it. It won't look the same for you or for me, but it will be divinely inspired and perfect in a personal way! We absolutely CAN'T get caught up in what everyone else thinks about what we are doing! We can't let the opinions of the world, hold so much weight. I think what it comes down to...is Self-Mastery. As far as charts and schedules are concerned, for me, I think it's about where our focus is. Are we focused on the creation and use of the charts and schedules, or we focused on the wonderful results and changes for ourselves, that come from the use of those schedules and charts? Are they distractions or tools? Great topic! :0)

Anonymous said...

I also have had angst about doing, doing, doing, but not 'being' with my children. Minimizing things in my home has brought me closer to 'being' with them. But, I'm still not completely minimized, so am working on that. I wish I could live without chore charts, but I lose my way without them. And, one of my motivations for making daily detailed cleaning lists was because, when we clean our church, we can follow the cleaning list to the tee and get the job done in a specified amount of time and move on to the important things. That's how I want it to be in my home - get it cleaned without alot of thinking so we can explore, read, visit others, etc.

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

We may still have charts and basic schedules. I think that as I write them it'll be about what God wants me to do and not how someone from a book or wherever (like a blog) told me to do it.

We will certainly have goals but they will be about different things now. Everything before this was do this, do that. Not be this and be that. Instead of saying, "I'll visit my widowed visting teaching sister three tmes a week" it will be instead, "I will pray daily about my widowed visiting teaching sister, she will be in my thoughts and when the spirit prompts me I will go see her." Instead of I'll see her at 10 AM on this day and that day. She might not need me then, but the Lord knows when she needs me.

So I think in many ways some of the same things will be picked up again but they will look very different.

I don't think we'll get a chore chart again though. Yes, I still have cards that say how to clean them like the temple does, but there won't be an assignment for them. Someone will take them and do them though. It will just be different. Besides that how we clean will still be like it is in the temple-clean it even if it's dirty. : )

Misty said...

I quit doing "chore charts" a long time ago, and I do not read educational philosophy books. I used to, but I just ended up running from one thing to another.

I have a friend who is a veteran homeschool mom who changes curriculum/ideas every few years because she has found "the answer". She has spent more time looking for "the answer" than she has in homeschooling (or at least equal amounts of time).

God commanded all men everywhere to teach their children. Even men and women who don't have access to TJED and Charlotte Mason, etc. :) But everyone has the light of Christ, don't they?

Thanks for this honest post. I loved, loved it.

Corri said...

Thanks for this post. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately. I am so blessed with a wonderful husband and three great children, but I spend many of my days overwhelmed and unhappy.

I keep making new goals and new rules and new schedules and new priorities, but it doesn't help.

Today I've been trying to figure out how I can choose one thing-- just one-- that would have the greatest impact on our lives.

Changing my outlook, as you have done, is probably the answer. I've come to the point where I truly want nothing but what is the will of God in my life. I'm more humble than I was before. I am really trying to focus on the Holy Ghost's impressions in my life.

But when the baby is crying and the toddler is whining and the second grader is struggling with reading, and the house is really messy, and I can't get in touch with the sisters I visit teach, etc...I just don't know what to do...even if I say a prayer, it is difficult for me to know what exactly I should do next.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Thanks again for this post. I'm looking forward to more of your thoughts.

By the way, have you read "Light in the Wilderness" by M. Catherine Thomas? She speaks on this subject quite a bit. I found it to be very enlightening, but I am still struggling on implementing "being" vs. "doing."

Deanna Householder said...

I feel so relieved to learn that other moms struggle with the same strength/weakness as I do! I have known for months that I need to change drastically what I think my needs are - they have always been centered on accomplishing tasks, but unfortunately, my children and teaching them have yet to make it consistently to the top of my list (did I just admit that???) It is something of which I am very ashamed to admit - or at least very sad and repentant - I guess that is a good start. THANK YOU for the insight of BEING and not just DOING! I just run around doing all the time! But I have felt the gentle and very directed guidance from the Lord recently on how I can become who He wants me to BE and who my family needs me to BE, and not just what I need to DO! I feel it is a long journey, but with His help, it can be shorter than done on my own! So, I continue my quest to BECOME a Mother Who Knows. Feels so good to find a place where there are like-minded women/moms who are striving for the same goals. It has been a blessing. Thank you all!

The Lazy Organizer said...

I think you've got it right. Take out everything and then only add back what the Spirit prompts you to. The great thing about learning by the Spirit is that it doesn't take "time" like you said. I just have to "be". So no worries about any wasted time in the past. The Spirit can make up for all of that and more in a mere moment.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

Free 'n Equal said...

Thank you for writing this.

The way I got to what I am now was by completely deleting certain things out of my life.

Whether or not they needed to be added back in was something I needed to ask Heavenly Father about.

It's easy to "add" something--but how much harder is it to take something out? I guess, because I have a love for cookies, I just think of it that way.

I hope that makes sense!

Just Lara said...

The analogy Free n' Equal made about the cookies was so good! It's so true that we can add anything we want to our cookie recipe but when the cookies don't turn out like we wanted how can we can't fix them. Once we let something bad or distracting in our lives we have no hope but to turn to the Savior to redeem us.