Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sufficiency

Sometimes God take us the long way home. And as the old saying goes, Home is where the heart is. My heart is with Him.

Home. I see it the eyes of the ones I love. Family. Community. Trust. Hope. I feel it in the waves as they crash into shore. Movement. Change. Power. Mystery. I hear it in the laughter of my 2 year-old niece as she runs for no reason at all. Freedom. Joy. Release. Flight.

If He's put eternity in our hearts, but our minds cannot fathom it, how are we to live? Do I stride purposefully toward Him, or aimlessly in a direction of my choice? I struggle to hear Him, yet I cannot deny He is closer than my skin. He is fierce. Gentle. Beyond. Within. And in the same breath, I am discontent and at rest.

Somehow there is grace enough to keep on living.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Paradox of Passion

The past year of my life has been pivotal, to say the least. I could fill space listing off all the things I’ve done, missed, failed, achieved…but that is quite honestly not the point. It’s not about me or what I think I know of life. It’s about the One who has so delicately woven together this existence (more so, this coexistence) called humanity. The lessons to be learned in His grand design are innumerable, so I hope to share one small piece of what He is saying.

Allow me to begin with a realization I had as I spoke with a good friend recently. In my recently completed college degree, the classes I worked hardest at ended up being the ones in which I received a B. It puzzled me for a while, even troubled and disheartened me. These are the milestone classes in my collegiate career. Shouldn’t I be getting an A every time? Shouldn’t I be excellent at what I’m passionate about? And that’s just it…passion does not automatically equal excellence.

Passion is a volatile thing. Excellence is difficult to achieve. Being human makes the process messy. And we often learn a great lesson through trying and failing in some way or another than by trying and succeeding the first time. Though I worked countless hours and lost sleep over some of my passionate endeavors, it didn’t mean I received the grade or result I feel I earned.
Sometimes what God is trying to teach us is this: in the end, the grade (or whatever method of judgment is in place) is arbitrary. The experience gained and lessons learned are the true things of value. How many years did I spend troubling over a letter on a piece of paper to determine my progress? And how many times do I apply this same paradigm to my life outside of academia?

Life’s richest experiences are anything but cut and dry. There is no formula for how to do this thing called life. All we know is that we are to do it together. The Bible instructs us over and over again through the stories of ordinary people like Moses, Esther, Nehemiah and David. We see God’s glory and power displayed through the acts of the heroes of our Christian faith.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us of a cloud of witnesses that surrounds us as we run this race. We follow in a legacy of unspeakable power and grace. We were meant to follow through on God’s calling in our lives, even if it sometimes means going against the grain of our culture or taking a risk. The example we follow is that of paradox, faith, trust in God and so many other dynamics of this upside down Kingdom.

Too many days we are caught up in meeting an expectation—be it spoken or unspoken. In light of understanding my own passions and seeing how those who have gone before accomplished their callings, I must ask myself often what really drives me. Is it fear? Passion? Eternity? Faith? Many days it chalks up to approval, validation, success. But ultimately, I rest in the fact that God knows my heart. Beneath all the surface desires and distractions I battle each day, He sees my deeply rooted motivation. It is to know Him and be known by Him…and to bring others into the folds of His Kingdom.

[ Also published here on RELEVANTmagazine.com. ]