Friday, June 1, 2012

daring to be uncommon.

In the still moments of my morning, the beauty of relationship and trust envelops me as I listen to Phil Wickham’s Divine Romance.  It’s one of my favorites.  It brings me back to the reality that being a Jesus follower all comes back to a relationship.  I see an image of Jesus and I embraced and moving together.  I am safe and whole.  I am loved by Him fully and completely.  And only then, can I surrender to the overwhelming grace and incredible journey He’s inviting me into.

I’ve always known that the life I desired, was called to, could only find acceptable was anything but ordinary.  Whether in a seemingly average existence or something completely off the map of normal, I long for extraordinary.  On some level, I think that as Christ followers there’s something inside of us that longs for life that’s not common.   People don’t dream of average.*  I dream of unexpected adventure.  I desire extraordinary relationships.  I yearn for an uncommon story that is unaffected by the pressures of maintaining status quo. 

John Eldridge said this in his book Sacred Romance:
We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life.

So what does this look like and how do we get there?

Well, if I knew what it looked like, that’d be the worst told story ever. 
I’m ready for plot twists and blind opportunities.  I’m excited for a story that draws others in and says “wow, God isn’t boring or far away because He was obviously at work with You.”  Psalm 139 talks about all of our days being recorded in His book.  I think God writes our stories as page turners.  He’s riveted.  We’re the stories He stays up all night reading because even though He knows what happens next, He can’t wait to surprise us with what is around the bend.  I love that.

As far as how to get there, there are only two things I know to do.

The first is to
seek the life and freedom that Scripture brings.  As it convicts, as it boldly testifies of our God, as it seals and firms His promises in our heart, we are fitted with His armor and find ourselves ready to follow with our crosses in hand.  The Word makes known to us what God’s heart is.  I know people with seemingly ordinary stories who are soaking up the Word and allowing it to direct their far from common daily journey of receiving and giving grace and love.  It’s inspiring.

The second is a practice I’ve adopted in the last few weeks.  It’s simply to get up in the morning and ask the Holy Spirit to take me on a journey.  My morning of getting ready is often full of questions.  “How would you use me today, Abba?  Where do you want to take me?  What do you want me to see or learn?  How do you want me to rest or be challenged?  Who do you want me to notice or love?  How are you going to do the unimaginable today, Daddy...and can I come, too?”

For me, though, I’ve been discovering how much fear is connected to these questions.  As much as I truly desire all the things I’ve been asking and long for an uncommon story, I am sometimes afraid to even think those prayers.  The enemy whispers that I wouldn’t be able to do it.  Whatever that even means.  I get scared of where this adventure could lead.  I might not have time for my “to do” list if I’m at the mercy of His.  My life may not meet expectation, but cause people to question or even disapprove of me.  I get scared of whom He might have me talk to or call me to love and that it will be difficult.  I get afraid that my life is impractical or unfeasible or irresponsible.  Fear steps in and breaks up the embrace my Savior has wrapped me in.  He fights to bring me wholeness and love despite it, but this fear keeps stepping in between.  It keeps me from experiencing the depth of God’s promise to never leave or forsake me.  It keeps me from desperately clinging on to Jesus when times are uncertain.  And when adventure is high and stories are uncommon, you can’t have anything standing in the way of you and your Lifeline.  I'm sorry, Jesus, for not trusting You.

So over and over again, I speak the truths I know.  God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power and self-discipline.  God, Your Spirit is wild.  I’m giving You my fear and trading it for the adventure of taking up my cross and following You.  Your journey is going to be far more thrilling and fulfilling than anything I could plan or dream and You promise that we’re in this thing together.  We might have to start over again tomorrow when I see that fear has snuck back in the midst of us.  Maybe some days it won’t.  Either way, You are patient and we continue on together.  I love soaking up those moments with You as we walk together today and I see the glimmer in Your eye as we look toward what’s just around the bend.  This life, this faith, this relationship with You is making everything far from ordinary.  It’s enough to bring me through fear into Your freedom and so we keep walking.