16 Jun

To write or not to write… Usually I would jump at the chance for my fingers to hit these keys but this time its been different. A good theme for the past couple weeks that I’m learning to appreciate. Different! This aspect of life hasn’t always been my favorite because I tend to be a creature of habit… aren’t we all? These days, I’m reengaging in the idea that different is a blessing, that it’s something to be sought after, something our spirit naturally craves. I mean who wants to live out the same routine, the same schedule, the same groundhog years day after day? Don’t we want a little excitement? Mystery? Unbelievability? It is a wonderful life after all!

If you’ve followed along in my previous writings (52 Weeks of Prayer, 12 Months of Movement) you’ve been included in my struggles, walked with me in the challenges of life, and have an idea of what joys I’ve experienced while learning daily what it means to be called. This season is no different but then again the difference is me. I’ve spent the better part of recent times going through (e)motions without fully touching my own. I’ve closed off my heart and concealed my ideas because I’ve not only experienced hurt, regret, disappointment, and heartbreak but I’ve also been surprised by the continual battle my own flesh wages against me. I shouldn’t be surprised by these recurrent grapplings though… for Scripture tells us about the evident works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) and how this world possesses all that can entice it (1 John 2:16). It really never ceases. There is a true war which influences the nature of our being. One that can focus on the beauty and treasure of it all or one against the glories of our Maker. This one against, fights hard to put us in a place of complacency and independence, as if it’s the best thing this world has to offer. We get immediacy and selection, offers and indulgence. How grand this life of possibilities! So one would think…

It’s in these traits of prospect, I think we lose something. It could be an unpopular opinion but this difference I’ve been experiencing shows me that perhaps life has become too “easy.” Don’t get me wrong… I’m thankful for the ability to write this now, for the luxuries of the times we live in, but have you ever just for a second slowed down to think about what these graceful and common blessings have given (or taken away from) us in exchange? How fantastic and elementary we have it compared to our ancestors of old? Sure, the past does not come without problem nor do origins begin without error but the difficulties of prior times seem foreign to this susceptible era of convenience.  

Life makes it so easy to get into routine, to find comforts and experience variety. We’ve been graced with the ability to create our own future with tastes of what could be even when we’re not certain of all there is. Quickly we run to anything that will bring instant relief, ignoring opportunities for stories and connection. We’ve become reliant on ourselves to formulate where we’re headed and grabbed hold of ideas that there’s nothing (or no one) we should submit to. There’s northing to stop us from satisfying every desire nor should there be any trouble in doing so. We’re owed what we can take in this life and it seems all we want is personal gain or abundance of everything material. Food, possessions, time, consolations, surface beggings that ignore the true depths of reality. What is it that can satisfy our need for more when we’re all lonely, broken, confused, and troubled?

Ohhh now wait a minute! You might be thinking this description of humanity is not on par. That we’re whole and fulfilled, enlightened and creative, carefree and limitless. Yes we can be, but if my eyes do not deceive me, the masses seem to be sleeping on the intent of wellbeing. Time is useful only for showing off or acquiring. There is less practice of gratitude and self examination in trade for personal satisfaction and critical interaction. Partaking in experience comes with waiting to be heard while listening and conversation are a lost unfamiliarity and eye contact produces anxiety or an uncomfortability which everyone is rushing to avoid. We’ve lost connection in fastening to the created instead of our Creator. How independent we’ve become on this pursuit of happiness instead of excitedly collaborating with the Author of our identity and Maker of all things good. Trading inquiry of truth, passionate wisdom, and a heavenly quest for accepted passivity, subdued folly, and artificial encounters. The next best thing is always at our fingertips but never grasped because there is a redundancy in the sun setting which produce ideas not far off that there’s more to this design of post Garden simulation. Burdens and complications press in on every side, the weariness from overwhelming tides disrupt our longing composition for partnership with both something (Someone) greater and intended difference. It is the scheme of the jokester to grow our selfishness and entitlement while twisting the Good News of reason for Glory because we shouldn’t be inconvenienced or bothered.

How bothered I’ve been in the responsibility of life when it feels like there is no gratifying reward. When all that’s fulfilling and actually enjoyable is made out to be an offense or judicious even though real desires stem from a unifying understanding and divine illumination that we all, no matter how independent, unseen, sinful, grand, personable, or isolated, can experience the real meaning of joyful satisfaction. Our engagement with the time we’ve been given can be purposed and significant. We can encounter and live in the love and acceptance we so desperately fight the world to receive very little of. We are of importance already given in grace despite any societal disregard of our collective personhood. So why have we been urged to forget all of that? Why don’t we pursue the mysteries of Divine or ask about meaning? When did we abandon the promise of factual Spirit driven worship in order to jump on fictitious phantasms which only produce more darkness? The truth is, I can pinpoint my latest detour and the moment I decided my direction was better than the path prepared for me but boy was I wrong (even in the last 24 hours I’ve had some of these moments). I knew I was wrong yet took the valley anyway. With every step I saw the mountain I left to wander and with each footfall the mountain became just a little hill in the distance, one that I used to be so familiar with. One I knew would be difficult to find my way back to but one I will always be sure to return to because we are never that far gone.

The valley I travelled wasn’t miserable by any means. There weren’t tragedies of disaster or devastations of ruin. Time still passed and it passed quickly. It passed so quickly that before I knew it I began to forget what my mountain looked like. I built dens in my new valley that kept me from remembrance and I became uncomfortably comfortable living in the routine of disconnect from everyone and every joy. Life was familiar but the familiarity wasn’t producing anything outside of waste and it’s in this time I’m thankful that waste can be burned to ashes and ashes are traded for beauty because this valley has run dry. It’s no longer sustaining the need of my spirit and its ruining the purpose of what can be. Something of excitement, something of mystery, something of unbelievability and something different. Yes, it may still be the same mountain from which I once left, it may have routine paths and scheduled meeting points but those routines and schedules are ones that produce light in the dark. They are ones that grow my belief in hope that things can change. People can change, life does matter, and the stories or connections we make along they way are the most important because they allow for heavenly glory which is really the point of it all. “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Rev. 4:11)

Reflecting on my life back at home, I think it’s hard to live in the manner for which we were created due to some of the things I’ve mentioned above and such demanding distractions that can make relation an inconvenience like we talked about. However, excuses are only as good as the ones we make to justify our decisions and if the choice to ignore beautiful realities or the richness of heaven that we’re invited into is the valley we want to live in, then my heart breaks all the more because the view from this mountain is breathtaking. It’s more wonderful and stimulating than any valley could ever offer and I hear the reward is eternally perfect. In fact, I’ve had glimpses of its perfection. Oh that we would be a people to run and not grow weary. That I would be a person to deny my own thirst for relatedness or relent in my seeking to find someone who understands and loves me completely without waver and realize I’ve already been given that drink and in being found I’ve found. There’s no need for me to keep searching because the gift of grace has already given me everything I need to live different and at that, be excited to do so. Won’t you come live different with me? Come join me on this mountain, accepting His free gift of grace into your heart because even though it can get steep at moments and in others it can feel like your climbing alone, the truth of the matter here is that someone is always passing by to greet, waiting to be seen, and Another is always walking with you to make sure you’ll reach the top. Thank You Jesus for not holding a grudge or letting my actions of self, influence the way You relate to me. Thank You for the patience and understanding it took to bring me this high. May you make way by Your leading, giving examples of how to care for others, and allow my all to be all in You. Assuredly Yours, Your love.

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