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Worth More Than Our Efforts

September 16th, 2011
 
I have learned a lot here in Battambang—an entire week without internet or a cell phone gives a person PLENTY of time to think, even aside from the work we have been doing at the women’s center.  First of all, this week was full of building relationships with the women and neighborhood kids at the center.  When we are not at the center, we have been preparing English lessons, Bible study devotions and sermons—or just exploring the community that we live in and enjoying the people here.  We ended up moving from the outside of Battambang to the heart of the city to be closer to the women’s center and within walking distance to grocery stores and other necessary places.  It has also put us right next to a temple and a monastery where monks live—so every morning around 4:00 AM we are awakened by a man chanting over a microphone for hours on end—wonderful.  I really wish I understood what he thinks is so important that early in the morning.  Ha, but honestly, it has been a sweet thing to wake up early and just be.
 
God has been teaching me some sweet things recently.  I am reading from a book called “The Only Necessary Thing:  Living A Prayerful Life,” by Henri Nouwen.  He talks about taking our spiritual life with God seriously and actually spending uninterrupted, quiet, free of distractions, time with Him to show it.  Once we commit to this, at some point, God becomes bigger and all the other crap in our lives that tries to rob us of anything good becomes smaller.  He says that praying is living, and I do feel like I have come alive when I actually committed a lot of junk in my life to God. But basically, the author says that not having that time to commit to God can be destructive in our lives–it can essentially choke our relationship with God. But through that time with God we come to realize that God has never seen us as what we are through our own efforts but He sees us with the gifts that He has given us (and they’re precious and holy gifts that each of us has—very cool).  In other words, we are worth more than our own efforts.  We are worth more than all the time and effort we have put into our jobs, our relationships, our hobbies and interests—these things are not bad but they do not add worth to your person.  Its what God gives us that counts.  Its what He says you are that makes you such an awesome person.  So I'm not totally sure what God has given me, but I'm trying to figure it out.  For now I'm going to use what I KNOW He has given me:  love, grace, the Holy Spirit, joy, discernment and I'm going to pray and serve people while asking God to guide me through all of it.
 
Oh and I have to share this: look up John 17:20-26.  Jesus actually prays for us to God.  I don’t know how I missed this every time I read it in the past, but when I saw that Jesus was praying I desperately wanted to know the words that Jesus used when He talked to God.  What was even more incredible was that it was about us, His children—sweet. 
 
Peace,

Hannah

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