This is my current bed side table with a few things that I love resting on top of it -flowers, coffee, candles and of course books. I thought to myself the other day that it would be an idea to incorporate some of the books that I am reading into my blog posts. Usually, I am reading at least two books at one time. It’s always interesting to have a fiction close to hand, as well as a life application type book. The book that I will be sharing a bit about today is of the latter category. It is called Seated With Christ by a lady called Heather Holleman.
I chose this book several months ago as the sentence ‘Living freely in a culture of comparison’ stuck out to me. I want to live freely and I certainly don’t want to be caught up in the race of ‘keeping up with the Jones’, whoever the heck they are! I know that this can come out in different ways for many people. I’m not as pretty or thin as she is. I’m not as smart or intellectual as he is. They have more money and influence than I do. Why do they get more recognistion for their work than I do? It’s not fair, they have a marriage, children and a home to build a life in. It’s not fair, they are single and have the freedom to do all the things they want to do for themselves and when they want to. They get to go on vacations every year. How come I don’t have that? I want to be like so and so. I want what they have. And so the list can go on. I feel an anxiety rise within me just typing this out because it’s tiresome. It’s a waste of time and energy because we will never be content looking horizontally around us and comparing our lives to others. I have to remind myself of this every single day. God is always calling us to look to Him alone and He has already positioned us in a seat that we need not race for. This is the point that Heather Holleman is constantly driving in her book, Seated with Christ.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
This is a passage from Ephesians 2.4-7 and it is in verse 6 that we read the words that He has seated us with Him. This is our new position that we have when we trust God with our whole lives and recognise the cost that was sent for us to be in that position. That His only Son, both God and Man, -perfect- had to die for our sins so that we can be seated with Him. I’m so ashamed that I grumble and complain about what I don’t have on a regular basis. I can be so guilty of looking around and seeing what others may have that I do not and either rebelling against those things in my heart or fighting off the tendency to become bitter about it. When I think about God being my Creator and a creator knowing what is best for it’s creation, I am comforted. I am designed and created with a particular purpose- that is to glorify God and worship Him, but He has also created every single person out there uniquely and to fulfill that purpose through different ways. Therefore, He will not give everyone the same guide or formula to live by. Some will get married and some won’t. Some will have children and some may not. Some may climb quite the successful social or career ladder and others will not. Some may acquire much wealth while others do not.Some may travel the world and others will stay at home. And all of the above are ok. They are good in fact and none is better than the other. We must cling onto the truth that we are all seated equally as sons and daughters of the King. Here is a picture from the book that really helped me to put this into perspective.
Heather begins to explain this idea of being equally seated by writing about how she found this quote in the museum guide of Hayden Platerium.
All seats provide equal viewing of the universe.
When she enquired about this, she received the answer that ‘the planetarium is designed so that no matter where you sit, you see the exact same images. No matter where you sit, you won’t miss any part of the show.’ I imagine us all going out our front door on a clear night and looking up at the stars. They are accessible for anyone to view no matter the status, no matter what you have and no matter where you are (except for places like Ireland who need to pray for more clear nights, but you get the idea!). God asks us to come as we are, so neither should we be living by who He has not created us to be. He has that other person to fit that particular purpose and yours is something else, neither being of more importance than the other because it’s actually not about us-it’s about who we worhsip. Neither should we be exalting our roles or positions over others either. The person who serves in front of the church is not in a special seat in comparison to the person who cleans the toilets every week. Sometimes we can see an exaltation of the position of marriage and families over those who are single, while God speaks about both as gifts and special. It is also a reminder that we cannot earn our seats with those positions or roles, with what we have required in our homes or bank accounts, with our influence or popularity. We are already seated with that same view of the universe, with the same access to the Creator of that universe.
And finally here are a few things I jotted down in my journal from this book.
Knowing Jesus and being with Him is better than any life I could design or imagine for myself. (Please read my post ‘When we limit our imagination’ for more thoughts on this subject)
And some questions to ask ourselves:
- Is knowing Jesus better than anything?
- Will I live the life God asks me to?
- Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?
- Am I available to be God’s spokesperson.
Thanks, Heather Holleman for explaining it beautifully. If you are keen to read it ( and the study at the back), I hope you find it eye-opening and mind transforming. I still struggle with this pointless race of comparison but will try to keep my eyes focused on the race that God calls me to.