Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Are You Looking At?

by Susanne Dietze

Several days a week before I set myself down at the computer, this is what I do:

That’s me in the red dress – or rather, that’s the backside of my "Mii" avatar on our Wii gaming system. This particular photo shows what I see when I am “Super Hula Hooping” on Wii Fit, a program which enables me to exercise in the privacy on my own home.

There’s a reason I enjoy the phrase, “privacy of my own home.” I do like to get outside and play, but the Wii Fit is a nice way to burn calories without providing people the opportunity to laugh at my gawkiness. Still, I can’t escape scrutiny altogether. When my kids hear the Hula Hoop music, they come running to watch the show.

I grant that I’m entertaining to watch. To Super Hula Hoop, I stand on a balance board and swing my hips in wide, even circles just like I’m twirling a real hula hoop. I lift my arms to catch more “hoops” and keep on twisting. The Wii counts the spins for me, records the unevenness of my circles, and validates me when I’m done. The downside? Well, I’m gyrating without a hula hoop. If you’re watching me, I look like an idiot.

But if your eyes are focused on the same thing my eyes are focused on – the TV screen – then it all makes sense. You understand what I’m doing. You recognize that I’m working toward a goal. You see what I see.

Sometimes I think my Christian walk is a bit like Super Hula Hooping. I do particular things for a reason, but to the rest of the world, my actions and choices are incomprehensible because their eyes aren’t focused on the same thing mine are focused on: doing Jesus' will. And sometimes the world isn't shy about letting me know how it sees me.

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit into the world? Boy, I do. I’ve been laughed at, avoided, and debased for my belief in Jesus. Rejection is painful, but as Christians, we understand that we aren't supposed to fit into the world, that God calls us to act differently than the world does, to walk in the light and to shine like stars in a dark universe. How we shine is different for each of us because God’s call to each of us is unique, but no matter what task He's given us or what suffering He allows us to endure, Jesus knows exactly where we are and how we feel.

His words are comforting: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
How blessed it is to know that Jesus has been where we are and understands our feelings! God sent us a Counselor, too, to comfort and strengthen us when we feel estranged. He’s also sent us each other, to shore each other up in the faith. Seeing as Monday was the Feast of All Saints, I thought it appropriate to share a few examples of Christians who, in their time on earth, perhaps looked odd to the rest of the world, but shone like stars, keeping their eyes on the prize.

St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) is well-known for his love for animals. But he was once a man of wealth who gave away everything for the sake of the Gospel. His new lifestyle embarrassed his family and lifted a lot of brows in Assisi.

Damien de Veuster (1840-1889) felt called to serve lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. People were baffled by his choice, insisting his contact with lepers would be the death of him. It ultimately was, but first, many lepers were not only blessed, but saved.PerpetuaImage via Wikipedia

As daughter of a Carthage nobleman, Perpetua (d. @200) shamed her family by believing in Jesus. She could have escaped martyrdom –and lived to raise her son – if she’d renounced Christianity, but she yearned to serve Jesus, even if it cost her life. Her death in the arena inspired Tertullian to write, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Captives in Babylon, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego stood out in their culture because they wouldn’t eat King Nebuchadnezzar’s food. Then they refused to worship his gods. About to be thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment (Dan. 3), they insisted to their enraged king, “the God we serve is able to save us from it….But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods…”

God did save Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego. And He has the power to save us today from whatever troubles us. Following in His will, however, isn’t always easy, but it’s the best way. Tomorrow when I get back to my Super Hula Hoop, I'll be glad no one can see me wiggle my hips...but I'll also pray for strength to shine when the world's eyes are on me. I hope I won't be giving the world's judgment of me much thought, however. I plan to keep focusing on Jesus instead of the eyes of those around me.

Serious Question: Do you ever feel like you stand out because of your faith?
Silly Question: What’s your favorite form of exercise?
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  1. I love this post, Susie!! And you're right I think God was orchestrating something with last Sunday's devotion. Maybe He's trying to tell us something?! Thanks for the reminder.

    Oh, and I have no 'favorite' form of exercise. Though I know I should.

  2. Ha ha, I love super hula hoop but would never have dreamed of the spiritual ramifications :) How great. Although sadly, my wii character looks much more rotund than yours.

    My favorite excercise is riding my bike outdoors. While I have as much or more fun dancing and walking, riding my bike does the best job of keeping my weight down.

    As for how I stand out for my faith, although I try to be laid back and not preachy, I find most unbelievers ditch me as a friend because I'm not willing to gossip or feed their grudges. I always try to get them to see the other person's side, which they don't want to hear.

  3. I enjoyed this post!
    A lot of times I feel like I stand out because I won't watch T.V. programs that I feel are inappropriate and ungodly. I also won't read just any book.

  4. Good morning! I am off to a scattered start today. I wish I could tell you that I've just hopped off the Wii balance board, but ha!

    Lisa, I praise God for giving us both the same Scripture this week. I wonder if He's strengthening us? What a blessing, no matter what. I take a lot of comfort in that verse from John, especially on days when I am wounded and yearning for my heavenly home.

    I don't have a favorite form of exercise either. My reasons are probably psychological, though. I am a klutz.

  5. Hey Dina! So we're Super Hula Hooping Sisters. I also really like to do the yoga on Wii Fit. I hesitate to mention it b/c some Christians have issues with yoga, but I enjoy the stretches.

    I'm sorry you've experienced rejection, but I suppose it's par for the Christian course. I know we've discussed it before around here, but sometimes the world has little tolerance for Christians. Or it just doesn't get us. At my high school reunion, one woman who remembered that I used to write back in high school asked what I was doing with it now. When I told her "Christian romance," her entire demeanor changed and she laughed at me and told me it was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard. A lot of things ran through my head, mainly W-O-W. Where did that come from.

    I hope you get a good bike ride soon!

  6. Hi adge! I think you're wise to pick what you allow into your brain! Keep it up! I know what you mean. There are a few shows and movies I won't watch, either. And plenty of books I won't read anymore.

    But it can be different for different believers. Hopefully as Christians, we treat one another's views with respect and love, not judgment and scorn. In the meantime, we do our best to walk in His way.

    So glad you came by today! Have a blessed day.

  7. Susanne, I do the yoga too. The actual yoga stretches are very healthy, but you just have to be very careful that it doesn't slip into New Age style meditation. There is a Christian alternative called something like "Praise Moves." The instructor uses images and names from the Bible, but it has all the same health benefits as yoga.

    Here, I found the link

  8. Ooh, thanks for the link, Dina. I like that idea. One thing I enjoy about yoga on Wii fit is that it's just stretches, no other "stuff" along with it. I will go check out the link now!

  9. During the summer, I instituted a no-tv, no-video/computer rule. Primarily it came about because of how awful the kids behaved one day during Vacation Bible School week.

    Well, after a few days of no-tv, no videogames/computer, I noticed how much more the kids were getting along. Hmm.

    Sometimes we'd have family movie time, but generally during the summer, we didn't watch an tv. So when I got the Entertainment Weekly fall tv preview, I didn't find hardly any of the new shows interesting enough to consider watching.

    Then when oldest son and I were watching a new episode of a favorite show, he said (before I could, "I don't remember _____ having so many sexual jokes and innuendoes." Hmm.

    Same with books.

    Each month when(RWA's) RWR magazine arrives, I quickly grab it out of the mail pile and hide it in my office because, while the back cover is bad, some of the cover art on the inside is revolting.


    I wish I could opt out of receiving hard-copies and only get the e-mail version.

    Answer to silly question: Does walking to the kitchen count as exercise?

    In all seriousness, I try to do jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Less mortifying when a kid is doing them with me.

  10. Loved the cute graphics of the hula hoop WII!

    People know that I'm a Christian mainly through the clues I've given by my life choices. Home birth, home school, five kids- I'm hard to miss! (I know that these choices are optional!!!) But I have recieved my share of strange looks...

    I pray that I would have the courage to die for my faith if it should come to that.

    Exercise? Walking the "bad lab" and yoga stretches!

    I used to do liturgical dance with the amazing author Sharon Hinck back in grad school!

  11. Gina, I think it's awesome to have a no tv/electronics rule. We have limited our viewing as a family but not stricken tv altogether...and as you can clearly tell, we have not stricken the wii. Still, the kids can't be on all day.

    And it's not easy to find shows that are ok for kids to watch, I think. My kids were interested in watching a new show that seems wholesome in its premise (which shall remain nameless) but I guess you can't get ratings unless you talk about sex, even if you aren't showing it. Sigh.

    Good for you for doing jumping jacks. They're awesome for you. I should do more.

    I keep meaning to tell far as my avatar goes, she has much nicer hair and thicker eyelashes than I do. ;)

  12. Hey Cheryl! Thanks for coming by!

    Yeah, I love those cute wii graphics. They are so upbeat, and the music is, too. I also like how when I'm "hula hooping" my "friends" cheer for me, like in the second picture. I feel so affirmed, LOL.

    I guess it's a good thing that we never get used to the weird looks. It helps remind me of what Jesus went through for me, how he was rejected and scorned. My troubles are tiny in comparison.

    I'm so glad you could stop by today. Hope you're having a great afternoon!

  13. Hi Susie and Inkies,

    I hope I stand out in my faith in good ways every day. Although some people may not accept me because of my faith it's not something I worry about or am even consciously aware of most of the time. Every once in awhile something or someone surprises me, and oddly enough it comes from the mouths of fellow Christians.

    Exercise: Hmm. I love to walk. I'm lucky to be able to walk with these knees of mine. They've always been my Achilles Heel so to speak.:)
    Nice post, Susie. Have a great weekend all!


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