Monthly Archives: February 2012
Last week I asked myself What If. And you answered. Boy, oh boy, did you answer!
What If generated such huge response, I was overwhelmed by your encouragement, and camaraderie. Thank you!!
Most of the things you all had to say were along the lines of
“I’ve been thinking/feeling the exact same things!”
“I really need to be more proactive in loving people like Christ!”
“I’m gonna go make my own What If list!”
You all confirmed something that has been burning in my heart for far too long now. God is moving among His children to step out from behind the screen (both literal and metaphorical). To step out from behind our protective
shields smiles, and be willing to risk big in order to love big.
Not out of some selfish motivation or desire to be seen, or praised, or atta-boy’d. But out of a desire to finally put feet to what we’ve said all along we believe.
To truly follow His example and love. Deeply. Real. Openly. To love when it’s easy. To love when it’s hard. When it makes sense. And when there’s no earthly explanation other than this burning, this yearning deep in your soul to move. Act. Love.
This past week I have been loved by you all. By your encouragement. And by your gentle nudges to not just write it. But to really do it.
And so, dear friends, I once again have asked myself What If…
What if I prayed, listened to His voice and looked to where He points. And then acted. Joined Him.
And then, What If you did, too? And then you? And then that guy over there with the crazy beard who doesn’t look like a Jesus-lover? And that girl with the kids?
What If... we, flawed, imperfect humans really committed to loving like Him. To reach beyond our comfort zones to reach those whom He puts in our path. And then we came back together and reached out to one another? Celebrating when He brings amazing stories of restoration, eyes opened, tears of joy cried from a heart broken, then repaired, by the love of someone unexpected. And embracing and encouraging when we step out in a What If moment and things didn’t go as we’d hoped. Or planned. Or expected. When we feel like our What If failed.
So, I’m throwing it out there…what do you all think? Could we…should we…be a What If community? I’m thinking a weekly time we can gather here and share our What If’s…or our fears about it…the way things went amazingly well…the way things fell utterly apart. Not as some “meme” to garner traffic and links and whatever else we who blog tend to look to garner. But to do none other than support. Encourage. Edify. Praise. Worship. Love.
If you blog, you could share a link to your post about your What If experiences that week. If you don’t blog, share your experience in the comments (you can do that, too, even if you do blog).
Again, the idea isn’t to point to ourselves. But to seek, and offer, accountability and to share life together, even if through a screen, over the internet.
Not a believer/Jesus follower/Christian/person of faith? I don’t want to leave you out! You may know better than any of us who walk this path of faith just how much our lip service and lack of action has done to damage the reputation of Christ. Would you be willing, as we step out in risk, to step with us? And ask your self your own What If…and explore what it is that compels us crazy, normal, messed up people to follow a man like none other in history?
So, what do you think? Will you What If this week?
I was driving home last night from my weekly grocery shop. I love it because on the way home, the radio station has an hour of just relaxed, chilled out music. It’s a time that refreshes me, as odd as it sounds.
Last night, it was drizzly and cool and dark on my way home. I had the wipers going and was just soaking in the music when out of nowhere the wipers suddenly synced in with the beat of song and for about 10 seconds the whoosh-whoosh of the wipers kept perfect time with cool, smooth chilled out music. And I smiled. It’s happened before, but its been ages. And it always makes me smile. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my days as a big ole band nerd marching my way through high school (I consider band nerd a term of endearment, by the way). Maybe it’s my love for all things symmetrical and simpatico. Whatever it is, I’ve been chuckling about those 10 seconds of whoosh-whoosh-music perfection since then.
And I can’t help but think about my life. Every now and then, seemingly out of nowhere, something in my life syncs up. Whether it be my marriage, my friendship with Christ, my parenting, or my comfort level within my own skin. And for a few brief seconds, I revel in the random cohesiveness of it all. And, I hold it both vigorously with both hands, and yet lightly, because I know at any second now something will happen and jar it just enough to put one thing half a step behind the other. And thus the moment is gone.
It never lasts as long as I would like. And I can’t predict with things will sync up again. But those few seconds of togetherness bolster me and boost my emotional energy enough to keep me smiling throughout the next phase of the journey as I revel in the randomness of it all. And the beauty of a life filled with random togetherness.
There seems to be a recurring theme in many of my conversations of late. These conversations pop up when
you I least expect them, and at seemingly odd times. The topics of discussion range from family life to broken hearts to school to abortion. But they all are circling back to one central theme (dare I say truth?).
Faith is messy.
We in the western world like things put into neat little compartments, wrapped up in pretty packages, with nice, clear labels. We like to have a category in which to put everything. A place for everything and everything in it’s place, right?
And when it comes to faith and matters of the soul, we seem to take those ideas and desires for a neat, tidy, pretty, labeled package to the extreme. We want to know what category you belong in. Then we want everyone to know that we are okay, we know what we’re doing, we have all the answers and don’t need any help. We know what to say and when to say it. If we venture into a church with any sort of regularity, we barely have to think about what we say, where we go, what we do. We are in auto pilot. We put on our best clothes, smile our pretty smile, and talk about how much we love Jesus. And that’s the way we like it. It’s simple. It’s clean. It’s easy.
But what I’m experiencing in my journey of faith is turning out to look much different than that. My faith is messy. My life, my relationships, my mind is messy. I don’t necessarily mean messy as in messed-up; wrong; dysfunctional. Though at times it is all those things, too. I mean it’s complicated; more gray than black and white; it takes energy, critical thinking, and blood, sweat and tears.
And it desperately needs community. The Bible says that faith without action is dead. But I’m also finding that faith without community is shallow. “Christianity” in the western world has become shallow, cold, exclusive rather than inclusive. It is sterile, impersonal, and lonely. Of course, I’m speaking in very general terms. And I use the term “Christianity” very loosely when it is in such a context.
If people claim to be a people of faith, there needs to be community present along with the actions that accompany that faith. There should be real community, where life is shared, warts and all. Where people are free to talk, discuss, question, wrestle and grapple with the messiness that comes when humans mingle with the Divine. In an atmosphere of true community, there is safety in walking through these questions, issues, and even doubts that are swirling within the spirit of each one of us. Real community is beautiful, supportive, freeing, and messy.
It’s not easy, or pretty, to work through your stuff, whatever that stuff is. But, oh what sweet intimacy and friendship and love that is cultivated when
people we put their our guard down and truly share life with one another. Why do we put up the facade that we have it all together? Fear.
If they really knew the real me, they’d never want to hang out with me again.
If they only knew what I really wanted to ask about God, they’d think I’m an idiot.
There’s no way I’d deserve to be loved by God if He, or they, knew my past.
Sadly, most, if not all, of those statements have been proven to be true (other than that God not loving you part) in countless “bodies of faith” over time. Most likely, each of us has personally experienced it.
But the beauty of real community – community based upon and within the unconditional love of a Man who walked this earth and shared His life with all sorts of people – is that in such community, there is freedom to question, to ask, to wrestle, to struggle, and to decide. And the true beauty? No matter the decision, there is always love. Lord, let me be a part of a community like that! And make me the kind of person who fosters community like that.
Inspired by a wistful sigh by my 4 year old daughter
I wish I were the moon, way up high in the sky
To watch the world and the sea as they go twirling by
To shine with a silvery light all my own
While the stars and their twinkles decorate my sweet home
I wish I were the moon, to hide out through the day
To see you each moment as you go on your way
I’d always be with you in day or in night
And shine out the brightest when you’re in my sight
I wish I were the moon, to dance overhead
With the wind for my music, the clouds for my bed
I’d snuggle down close to keep watch while you sleep,
Wash silvery beams o’er your dreams so deep
I wish I were the moon, so the world would all see
Your heart is the one that’s most precious to me
But I’m not in the sky, I’m tucked down in my bed
So I’ll love you with hugs and with kisses instead
I’m linking up with Growing Home
If you’ve spent any time here poking around through past posts, you’ve likely seen me write about faith, joy, depression, community, fear and how going it alone not only stinks, it’s not the way things were meant to be. (side note: I really, really wanted to put a comma after “fear”, but I’m told we no longer put commas between the last two items of a list so…)
All that to say, these ideas – of faith and community – have been rattling around in the ole noggin for awhile now. And I’ve been doing some introspection, and retrospection, of my own heart and life and it got me thinking: what if…
What if I ring that friend who just lost her baby? I know I don’t know what to say. She knows it. What if I just put the fear aside, and her heart in front, and say something like, “I don’t know what to say. I know you’re hurting. I love you and I’m here.” What if…
What if I stopped worrying what the widow down the street would think and just invite her over for dinner once a week already?
What if I sacrificed an extra hour of sleep once a week to make those treats to sneak into the teachers’ lounge at my kids school? I’ve only been thinking about it for three years now…
What if I looked the lady at the cash register in the eye and gave her a genuine smile for 2 seconds instead of griping at my kids, fumbling with my wallet and trying to do mental math to check her arithmetic?
What if when I was cutting my grass I went ahead and cut the grass of my neighbor across the street? I know he has heart problems.
What if I stopped worrying that I would some how step on her toes and just go over to that homeschooling mom’s house and offer to help sort papers? Or re-shelf books ? Or cook dinner so she can sort and shelf and grade?
What if I stop when I meet that other mom in the shop I always seem to bump into? The one with the tired eyes and four kids under 5 years old. What if I told her she’s doing a great job, and none of us are in this alone. This motherhood thing. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know her name. What if I just said something nice. What if?
What if I leave my thoughts and judgments about that person’s lifestyle on the back burner and extended a handshake hello and bought a cup of coffee?
What if I get off this merry-go-round of cookie cutter “faith” and stepped with a shaky, unsure foot onto the wavy, watery ocean upon which He walked? What if I let His radical love so radically burn in my heart that I can’t help but love others more than myself? My comfort? My time?
I’m linking up with Your Thriving Family! Momma Made It Look Easy The French Bird Blog The Better Mom The Miss Elaine-ous Life These Five of Mine Plus Two Raising Arrows Time Warp Wife Growing Home Commit2Write Some Girl’s Website Goins Writer