Follow Day 15 Lydia, Spaghetti, and Waffles
Read His Words Before Ours!
Acts 16:6-15, 40
Men’s brains work like waffles; women’s work like spaghetti.
Have you heard this analogy? While I’ve never read the book in which it’s presented, I am very aware of the concept. Men are able to compartmentalize their thinking (waffles), whereas women have several thoughts moving at once that may be under, over, in-between, wrapped around, tied in knots, etc (spaghetti).
For example, when my husband asks what I’m thinking, I need to follow one specific noodle in my mind to figure out how it connected with what we were originally talking about. In other scenarios, I will bring up a topic from a previous conversation and he will acknowledge he hasn’t considered it since because he “tucked that thought in its waffle square.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure if my brain truly existed in the “waffle-sphere,” things would end badly. I’d tuck something away safely in a square and promptly forget about it forever. Or I would ineffectively label my squares and end up with a massive, jumbled laundry pile of sorts, one with random thoughts falling away like errant socks rolling down the sides and disappearing (is this where all the missing socks go?).
The more I imagined life with a waffle-mind, my thankfulness for how the Lord wired my brain grew. With these thoughts, I began writing this Journey Study and was surprised to encounter an entirely new and challenging perspective on our dear sister in the Bible, Lydia.
Lydia’s story graces only a few verses in Scripture, but a great deal about her can be inferred from those lines. If you already read the Acts passages at the start of this study, excellent! If not, take a minute to read now. (Acts 16:6-15, 40)
Paul encountered Lydia outside the city gates of Philippi, yet Lydia was introduced as being from the city of Thyatira. Looking at the map of Paul’s missionary journeys in the back of my Bible, I discovered Thyatira and Phillippi are not neighboring towns; Lydia was a traveler.
Additionally, she was a seller of purple cloth, for which Thyatira was famous. Note the verse does not say she was married to a seller of purple cloth; no, Lydia was a business woman, defying social norms by actively working.
She is also described as God-fearing. Paul found Lydia and other women gathered in prayer outside of the city gates. These women were humble and determined enough to step outside the boundaries of the city (most definitely the physical ones, but perhaps the societal, economic, and emotional boundaries as well) in order to seek the Lord. Lydia’s presence was intentional as she denied her own convenient comfort. (Mark 8:34)
After Lydia is introduced, we are immediately told what she was doing: listening. Because she was actively engaged with Paul’s words, “the Lord opened her heart to respond.” (Acts 16:14) If I were to envision this scenario occurring today, it might look like a woman intentionally moving to a place where she can encounter the Lord. For me, that would mean leaving my phone in the other room, having my journal and a pen ready to write thoughts to and from the Lord, and time enough to be still and truly listen.
Lydia followed through on the Lord’s nudge to respond. Holding nothing back from the Lord, she and her household were baptized. Then, she served as hostess to Paul and his traveling companions on multiple occasions. She demonstrated hospitality, generosity, humility, focus, and faithfulness. (Romans 12:6)
Now, in a perfect example of my brain’s spaghetti-like wiring, let’s jump back to how Lydia’s example showed me two ways in which I am asking the Lord to help my “spaghetti-ness.” First, like Lydia, I’m learning I must carve out time to be with the Lord and listen. The compartments of church and my personal time with Him cannot be replaced by other things. Failing to prioritize those will be detrimental to myself and those the Lord is entrusting to me.
Second, I do compartmentalize some areas that I shouldn’t. The phrase “separation between church and state” is not a biblical concept, yet it aptly describes a pattern of distinct boundaries between Jesus and the rest of my life. Rather than existing in separate compartments, what I learn in church and during my quiet times MUST bleed over into the other facets of my life. I must blend my heart for the Lord with my work environment and ethic, my home life, and my time in community. This does not mean I have a “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker on my cubicle, but it does mean that I live to be a light to those around me.
Lydia took all she had and used it for the glory of the Lord.
As a result, her entire household met Jesus.
Paul and his companions were blessed, ministered to, and energized for their journeys.
The kingdom gained a hard-working evangelist with a broad sphere of influence.
Beloved, as we consider our lives, where might God be calling us to use what He’s already given us for His glory?
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