It is easy for me to forget the deep ramifications of what I believe. Yes, I believe in a God of salvation and of heaven. But I also believe in the God who mourns with me in sadness, rejoices with me in happiness and is working to restore me to wholeness (even when circumstances make me stressed, tired and disappointed in what I have or have not accomplished in the day).
He is not just the God of theology. He is the God of life, not just the life of the world to come. His message isn’t a box to check off: instead, he is bringing things back to the way they should be. He is healing and restoration. I know my own brokenness, and I want to be well.
I want to be well.
And this is the way I’ve found wellness: This is the world, it is the Lord’s — and I am merely in it.
I am not the point; that is, He offers me a way to not be the point anymore. The more I was the point, the more it hurt — the less I focused on God, the more broken things became.
And I want to be well
— so I remind myself.
It will be well.
Doing the right thing
does not fit on my stat sheet
… maybe a blocked shot
I have spent much time conditioning myself that the Lord is good, regardless of circumstance. This discipline was strengthened in me when things were going poorly. Now that things are going well, I still feel the same way. Unfortunately, I am now struggling against the mentality that God is outside of circumstances. I want to praise him for the good things in my life, but I am afraid that God will take enjoyable things from me if I acknowledge that I am indeed enjoying the current circumstances.
I know academically that God is good, and I know from grueling experience that he is good in the hard times. I’m learning to trust that God is good in the good times, too. It’s much harder than I expected; God has been a taker, so that I rely on him. And now I do!
But now I don’t know how to fully enjoy good things without fear that I am idolizing them above God. I want to live rightly, which is good. But why do I want to live rightly? For love of God, or for love of being right?
Oh, the legalism seeps through the cracks even now. And, as with all sin, it threatens to crush out the joy of the good things God intends for us. There have been many words spilled on enjoying God vs. enjoying the things God has given us with a recognition that God gave us those things.
I’m still working on what that looks like for me. But I really want to know God, and I really want to enjoy the things he has given. I truly hope these are not mutually exclusive.
I started this project to make sure that I thought about the Gospel at least once a day during a period when I didn’t want to think about it at all. Now that I’m out of the heavy trials, I decided to scale back to three days a week. “The quality will improve,” I thought to myself.
I was wrong. It just means I think about the Gospel less. Clearly, my change in frequency has been a poor decision. I over-estimated my spiritual maturity; I thought I would just be able to keep thinking about the Gospel on my own. Not true, apparently; it seems I still need outside help to keep on the right path.
Oh, wait. That is the Gospel.
Certainty gives me pause these days. A whole new part of life has opened up to me, and with those new circumstances come unique thoughts, emotions and experiences. Those three things lead me to new understanding of God. That phenomenon often leads to a shake-up of everything, whether in the head, heart or world.
I haven’ t been writing essays because of my uncertainty. I am afraid to be certain; I am so new at the facets of God’s character recently revealed to me that I feel uncomfortable writing concretely about them. Thus, all the poetry: poems are much more suited to instability, confusion, emotional displays and general linguistic chaos. A haiku doesn’t need a thesis, explanation and support. An essay does.
I hope I will soon venture into essays again. It seems that I have broken the ice today. Still, I only settled here after exhausting my poetic possibilities for the day. Some things need the clarity that an essay can provide. Because life, for all its messy poetic devices and maudlin occurrences, is not always best explained in a heap of words. Sometimes a fish is a fish.
Sometimes learning that the love of God is more passionate than any earthly relationship takes a really amazing earthly relationship to put it in perspective (“You want me more than x person, God? How?”). Sometimes hope is a thing to be chased; sometimes it is a thing to be celebrated.
Sometimes life is a poem. Sometimes life is an essay. Sometimes it’s a flowery essay, or a concrete poem. Life is more than I can put into a neat box with a bow; but sometimes it helps to put it in iambic pentameter.
All this to say, I’d like to be at a point where I write essays again, but I have to be sure of something before I tell it to you. Or maybe that idea will change too. But these I know: God is good, God is infinite, and change happens. Those give me pause, too.
new thoughts in old slots
old thoughts in new directions
taking a look at the whole picture
reconsidering it once that’s done
someone told me I was living now
but I’ve always been preparing
Now, I suppose, I am here
(I think I was always here)
And I’m just now figuring out
how the day works, today
for this is “real life”;
it’s the only day You gave me
and this is what it’s like
I have always lived in a fear of God
and I don’t trust my decisions
for I am ready to change myself
If you say, “God’s not for this.”
Yes, I will second guess myself
So that I don’t get punished
I wish I knew the God of peace
that holds us each so gently.
I want to know that God.
Oh God, let me know that God.
And now I know that you don’t know
and I pray for chances I see on the periphery
of a conversation that stretches out
not just tonight, but overarching
Is it God or you that I haven’t loved enough?
It’s probably both that have held me back.
I wish I knew what to say and how
but it scares me more that I might not say
than what you will say if I did.
And now I know that you don’t know
and I wish that you knew Him.
Life’s goal is not glee
Still, happy is a blessing
Do not reject it
I’m fond of writing ecstatic poems
but sometimes happy creeps in
instead of washing over
and the joy of calm of joy
(a circular logic, if there ever was one)
reaches deeper than fleeting euphoria
of endorphins, of warm bodies
of various sporting events
someday all will be right in the world
and we will know wild calm every moment
but until then we will marvel at the drops
the tiny parcels that arrive on our doorsteps
either balloons escaping or dry ice melting
(today, I hope, we are on the dry ice side)
both fleeting, we know it, but both oh so good.