Friday, March 27, 2009

Who am I, and where am I going, and am I being redundant?

I saw a doctor in my late high school and early college days; I guess he was all right medically, but in general he was a bit pessimistic. When I told him I was majoring in history he said, "Ah, looking for a career at Baskin-Robbins scooping ice cream!" We laughed at the time, but it was true--with all the time I spent analyzing the past, I hadn't the foggiest idea of what direction I'd take in the future. Even today, my life is peppered with unanswered what-are-you-going-to-do queries. But lately, I don't think I care. At least, I've been learning that who you're becoming trumps what you're going to do. The reminders just keep popping up. I particularly like the old motto that Richard J. Foster cites (in Latin no less): actio sequitur esse, "action follows essence." In other words, take care of who you are, and that will flow from there. I see it in the Word, too. Psalm 25:12 is awkwardly phrased, yet to the point when it says, "Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose." Additional verses, sermons, conversations, and experiences, they all corroborate the same idea, and I suspect that it really is this "simple." I'm not saying that it's quick or easy--in fact, it hopelessly complicates matters for task-oriented individuals such as myself--but I'm convinced that the key to my future endeavors, and even to "finding God's will for my life" (as if it were lost), lies not in external factors as much as in my own identity, an identity that must begin and end in Christ.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hey team,
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to read the call to worship at church on Sunday. The text is below. Thanks to those whose ideas influenced mine --

I’m worn down by words sometimes. I think this is one of the devil’s better tricks. I talk so much, I read so much, I hear so much that words lose their meanings.

So I’ll read a psalm where David thirsts for the Lord, and his thirst seems like no big deal.

Yeah yeah, he’s thirsty, I’m thirsty, we’re all thirsty. I get it.

Then I’ll read about how God is the mighty rock and that won’t matter either.

I’ll read about the river of God being full of water and no, that meaning won’t connect with me either.

Then a day will come where the meaning does hit me. One day I’m spiritually in the desert, this hopeless middle-of-nowhere place where I’m starving and dying and a million other intense adjectives and there’s nothing I can do about it…Nothing that is, except long for God.

And those are the moments when my mind and heart rediscover their ability to feel, taste, and live in truth. Suddenly I understand that when David says his legs are in clay without God it’s because he literally cannot move without God. That when Jesus says He is the light of the world, it’s because He is the only thing that can be seen in an eternity of pitch black. Suddenly the idea of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, of hungering and thirsting for God…suddenly I realize that the desert is teaching me a thirst far better than any earthly quenching; the desert is teaching me that, in my deepest parts, I was made to crave--and to know--the Living God.

I’m not talking about yearning for God only when the chips are down. I’m talking about voluntarily entering the desert, being on my knees, sprawled out and asking to drown in His love every single day. It's about learning to live in longing for Him, and knowing that whether my day is good or bad, He saves me. Everyday He saves my life.