Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Woman's Wisdom from 1870

SIDE NOTE: First of all...thanks so much for all the encouragement on my last post. It can be intimidating writing when that's really Sean's forte. But I will admit, I was the one to start this blog and convinced Sean it would be a joint effort. Yeah, I've kinda fallen short on the "joint" part of that deal. So, I will try to correct that and begin posting more often. Get ready for a twisted journey through my world!

Last week I had the great privilege and responsibility of presenting a keynote talk on SERVANTHOOD to a Long Beach church's women's retreat group.

The experience was pretty incredible. What I realized is that God assigned me this project to teach ME something. (Actually a lot of somethings...)

I'd like to share a bit here. In my studies, I came across a writer by the name of Hannah Whitall Smith. She was a Quaker woman, lived from 1832 to 1911, and published a book in 1870 called "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life". At first I thought this was a trite title and, really, what can a woman in 1870 understand about my life today. Read on:

"In all the ordinary forms of Christian life, service is apt to have more or less of a bondage in it; that is, it is done purely as a matter of duty, and often as a trial and a cross. Certain things, which at the first may have been a joy and a delight, become after a while weary tasks, performed faithfully, perhaps, but with much secret disinclination, and many confessed or unconfessed wishes that they need not be done at all, or at least that they need not be done so often. The soul finds itself saying, instead of the "May I?" of love, the "Must I?" of duty."

I was convicted!

This woman understands. I am now searching my own life for those places where the "May I?" tasks have turned into "Must I?" tasks. And how can I regain that first love?

Read the quote again. Really! It's that good.

I'll share more of Hannah's musings later.



Lori said...

Thanks for finding Hannah Whithall Smith and sharing her with the rest of us. Powerful words for 1870 and 2006.

Sarah- Super Domestic Diva Extraordinaire said...

There are a lot of those "Must I?" thoughts floating around here going into month three of this deployment. Thanks Hannah (and Catherine) for the fresh perspective.