Thursday, February 18, 2010

What does it mean to be Holy?

if I can't be a nun, dear Jesus, please give me a husband. (title option 1)

Why I really want to try being a nun for just a year... (title option 2)

I am immeasurably jealous of nuns.
Well not the celibacy part or the cloistered life, but all the rest:
the vows of poverty
the discipline
the calm they seem to exude at all times
the faithfulness
the strength of character
the quiet passion required to live such a distinct life
the devotion
never having to pick out your own clothes
All of that, I am jealous of all of that (and that is ironic because 'do not covet' is on the top ten list of things not to do and I am doing it about something holy)

In my heart I desperately want to be a nun and still think it might be the worst idea ever. I am jealous because they live without all of the things I find entirely necessary. I want a husband and kids and I like new clothes and I am not calm. Add to that, there is not a denomination that I am similar to theologically to that even has nuns, so that rules out that option unless I want to change my theology, and we all know I am way too stubborn for that. Plus, I get mad at God a lot so spending all my time with God would result in some crazy rage issues.

Still, I want to figure out how to be as devout as a nun without being one. At the end of the day it is the holiness, the set apartness, I most want to cultivate in my life. Nonetheless, God has not created me for life in a convent. I am going to have to figure out how to be holy living in a crazy beautiful city instead of on a crazy beautiful mountain.

For most of 2009 I was really into the question "what does it mean to be holy?" and to be honest I didn't get much past the asking part. I just thought about it and maintained the behavior I already had. For the most part it worked out fine. Still, the question has been too much on my mind for me to let it go. In 2010 I would like to really dig into the answer, not that I think I will find it. The question is much much bigger than me, but I am going to work at it a little more, by that I mean I am going to actually try to change some of my behavior.

I am stumped by the fact that I no longer think that abstaining from cursing, drinking, drugs and sex makes a person holy. I don't think God is as interested in my colorful vocabulary as much as he is concerned with the hungry people that sleep on the street outside my house. Still, is it enough to be a bleeding heart liberal and call that holiness? (fyi: I am proud of the title bleeding heart liberal, I am not using it pejoratively) Yet I am not convinced that it is holiness. I am also not planning on obeying the Levitical code. So how do I live out holiness? If it isn't just a don't list and it isn't just a justice thing, what is it? It also can't be about avoiding feeling guilty, because I am not struggling with guilt, and I still feel God asking me to ask myself, what it means to be holy.

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." (Zora Neale Hurston)
This quote was in an email I received and it struck me as very appropriate for my journey with God and holiness. This is my year to seek an answer, last year was great for asking, this year it is time to move.

To clarify: No, I will not behave like a nun, there will be dancing, singing, fine wine, amazing food, and hopefully some hot dates. But I am declaring this the year of abstinence and moderation. I am going to try to spend more nights in, pray more, love more, listen more, obey more, and do less, have less, demand less, and flat out sin less. You see I am convinced there has to be a way to live in the world (and I mean really live, full of adventure, risk and honest speech and crazy parties) and still be the person God created Holy because God is Holy. God would not ask us to do something we cannot do and God states at least 2 times the call to be Holy because God is Holy. We are image bearers, we were crated to be Holy.

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

- Hebrews 12:14

I am posting this the first full day of Lent, and I am going to really push into it during Lent. I am giving up going out. No restaurants, no bars and no clubs. I will dine in, dance at home and drink tea (I am abstaining from alcohol for Lent as well as from processed foods). I am excited to see what I learn as I slow down to listen to God more, as I morn my sins, and prepare for the day of the Cross and the day of resurrection.


Sarah said...

I love love love your perspective on holiness. It's such a journey of discovering what God wants us to be.
I've also been called a bleeding heart liberal and I take it to be much more of a compliment then people mean it! haha. It's what God calls true religion - loving the orphans and the widows - and it makes a whole lot more sense than sitting in church arguing about politics and abortion. I'm going to stop before I start ranting. I just wanted to let you know this post was a big encouragement to me today! And a challenge!

Ariel said...

I just came upon your blog and I really connected to this post. I have the same feelings as you do concerning 'holiness' and having it in today's world. Thanks for sharing. :)

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