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Introductions

Well, I'll bet you are all wondering who I am and what I am doing here. My name is Lizzie, and I am artist/writer/otherwise disgustingly creative person with a diagnosis of Bipolar. I am here to tell my story. There is still much stigma attached to mental illness. Through sharing my struggles and my journey to wholeness I hope to increase understanding and acceptance of what it means to live with this dark friend. And along the way you will see my latest creative projects.

I can't expect you to know all about me in a short blog post- a relationship takes many days of listening and of telling stories to unfold. So here I present to you an impersonal list of important things you should know about me before evening falls and stories are ready to be whispered into being.

I am an artist who works primarily in egg tempera. I am a singer and I have published a book of poetry. I love photography and I am learning to play the guitar. I guess I am your stereotypical crazy artist.

So that's me in brief. I hope I have tantalized you enough that you will choose to walk with me until we are no longer strangers, but friends.

The Dangers of a Busy Culture

On Preaching to Myself

Church makes me think and I think that is a pretty good thing. This week, Pastor Craig spoke on the church of Pergamum in Revelation and their main problem of idolatry. In our GraceGroup, we talked about our culture and how it can affect our faith. This is something I think about a lot, but one thing that was really thought provoking was the talk about how busyness in our culture can be an idol and a problem. Another person put forth that our culture has an epidemic of shallow thinking instead of really deep things. These are definitely huge problems for our culture, but I think that these problems are even bigger problems to Christians today trying to live out their faith in a meaningful way.

Our culture today promotes involvement in a vast variety of different activities. People have all sorts of different hobbies and responsibilities and commitments. Our culture promotes the resume--a piece of paper listing a ton of different interests and responsibilities that is supposed to show how awesome you are. I know a lot of people with great resumes who I would not want in my business. I also know a lot of fewer people with great resumes who I would want serving in my church. Our resume culture does not always lead to the best understanding of people's character for business. But our resume culture is an even worse way to determine if people are strong Christians fit to be serving in our churches.

Our resume culture is a result of a shallow culture that has run away from deep thinking. It is difficult to find meaning in our individualistic and materialistic culture, so we do our best to not think about it. We make sure that we are busy with all sorts of stuff so that we do not have to think about how meaningless our lives are. But, for Christians, things are different. We have meaningful lives because God created us and we have a relationship with Him. We have meaning because God cares for us, loves us, and allows us to know Him.

Because we have meaning, we do not have to fill our lives with busyness in order for us to feel ok. But, still, too many Christians still fill their lives with so much to do and so many responsibilities like they need to distract themselves from a life without meaning. Part of it has to be that our culture promotes this lifestyle, but part of it has to be that we do not understand that we have meaning in our relationship with God and are trying to put different things in front of Him as idols to make our lives feel meaningful.

The busyness culture among Christians is not only a symptom of a deep sickness of misplaced meaning, but it is also a huge hindrance to our ability to be servants of God. If we are doing all sorts of different things, we cannot focus our attention on one focus in our lives and make a difference there. My friend Joel was involved with virtually everything here on campus. He was on a ton of orgs and a ton of committees and had all sorts of responsibilities that would be wonderful resume material. But Joel was so busy that he could not be truly committed to any of them. He could not make a real impact in any of them. He just did not have the mental energy to do it, though he is a remarkably energetic person. This year, Joel has backed off on responsibilities so that he can focus on doing important things well and making an impact in those things.

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