Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wired - Are you a "Joseph"?

Joseph (the Old Testament great-grandson of Abraham, not the New Testament husband of Mary) has been the subject of many secular plays, movies, and stories because his fall and subsequent rise to power against all odds is quite dramatic and uplifting.

Joseph's story can be found in Genesis 37-50. If you are not familiar with his life, I encourage you to read it this week. In brief, Joseph is the favored son of Jacob and this favoritism leads to enmity between him and his 11 brothers who eventually fake his death and sell him into slavery. Joseph, through many crises, eventually rises to be the Egyptian Pharaoh's right hand man. When Joseph has the opportunity to save his family, he does so, saying they had meant their actions 'for evil, but God meant them for good.' (Gen 50-19-21 paraphrased)

We are told repeatedly throughout Joseph's story that God was with him in all that he did. No matter who had harmed him, lied about him or sold him out, God was working to redeem the negative events, not only for the good of Joseph but for many, many people.

If you are 'wired' like Joseph you:

-Feel God's presence most strongly during times of crisis.
-You care about your reputation and want others to respect you.
- You guard your integrity and try to avoid doing anything that will compromise it.
- You are a hard worker and  your boss (and your family) love you for it.
These are all positive traits but like all positive things, there is also a negative side that you have to watch out for. Because of your strong drive to succeed with integrity, you probably become easily annoyed by those who you don't feel work as hard as you do. This can lead you to be judgemental. Since you want to portray a positive outlook to the world, you also have a tendency to ignore or 'stuff' negative emotions and this can cut you off emotionally not only from the people around you, but from God.
In order to make the most of your positive traits and stay connected to God here are some things you might do:
-Practice not being perfect. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with trustworthy people in your life. Let something in your life be ‘messy’. It’s OK ;)
- Don’t overfill your life with activities. Allow space and time to sit, think, pray and just ‘be’.

- Let go of your own notions of who you are supposed to be and be open to the person God is molding you into.
- Remember that every emotion is created by God. It’s not whether you feel emotions that we, as humans, have labeled “positive or negative” – it what you do with them that matters.
- Don’t always do things because you are ‘supposed’ to or ‘have’ to. Responsibility is important but you also need to make sure you do things because you ‘want’ to.

If none of these things sound like you, that's OK. Stay tuned to the "Wired" series and maybe you'll find yourself in one of the next few sermons.

Chesney Szaniszlo

Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?   But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:19-21