I haven’t written a blog in a very long time; it’s been since about February I think (yep), and it seems that my blogs are getting more and more spaced out. I talked about that the last time i wrote a blog, in fact. I've been thinking about it, and I think this is a good thing for your sake. In fact I think that if I wrote a blog as often as I’d really like to, everyone would quit listening to me about anything. Not because I’m super boring (I mean, I know I can get boring...but not super boring) or because I’m a rambler, but just because I sometimes think I understand something in life or something God’s teaching me or a situation I’m in and then I later realize that I really had no idea what was going on. So maybe there’s a tiny, tiny little shred of wisdom in me that keeps me from writing blogs all the time. Again, I think it’s for your sake mostly. I’ve grown very comfortable with being just this side of crazy...are you ready for that? Are you ready to be living just this side of crazy like me? I’m not too sure.
Anyway, on to better things. I’ve been thinking a lot about those three things in the title line a lot this year. What is success? Is there such a thing as true, lasting love? What exactly am I supposed to be doing with this life God’s given me, and I have I already screwed it up too much to be doing that?
I think that these are things we all think about from time to time; I’ve just been obsessing over them lately. There is so much change in my life right now. I’m in my upper-mid twenties, and I look around and see my friends from high school and college and the lives that they lead and I truly see how different my life is. It’s such a huge difference. When I was little, I knew that I’d be married by now, that I’d be working in some type of ministry, and that I’d probably have a little preggo-eggo wife hanging around. I don’t have any of those things. Of course, this is coming from the same guy that just knew that he’d also have a hoverboard, a flying car, and a little pet dinosaur-clone by now. Those things didn’t really work out either. I know what you’re thinking....”Oh man, he’s right....Where the heck is my hoverboard?!?” But alas, those things just aren’t happening right now. I don’t have a job that pays me a lot of money, I don’t have a wife with a baby on the way, and surprise! I’m moving back home to save money because I want to be moving to a new city soon. How did I get so thrown off?
I’ll tell you how. God intervened. My plans just weren’t gonna do the trick, and I’m guessing He had something else in store. Wavorly wasn’t my intention going into college, and our old band (freshmen15) started out as a joke between me and Dave. How did I get to this place? How did my band get to this place? Sitting on a ton of new material, slowing working our way through it and intentionally making it the best possible music that we can make it be...not pursuing labels just yet, watching our show numbers slowly dwindle down as the chorus of Praise and Adore starts to fade into the back of people’s minds and the rest of the album skips along merrily behind it. Again, am I crazy? Yes (again), I am crazy. But I promise you, God is in this. He’s working in my life in ways that I have never imagined. I’ve seen crazy things this past year, things that (honestly) a southern baptist kid from Mississippi would’ve never thought he’d see. I’ve met a real prophet on the street that spoke into my life like only someone that had been with me for the past year could have done and I’ve seen God promise me something in scripture and tell me to wait on it and watch as He worked it out. He’s still working it out. But despite my deepest fears, worries, and insecurities, He’s working it out! These things...these questions...they still keep me up at night. But God has shown Himself faithful to me and in lives all around me. These worries, these fears...they also keep me up at night and try to ruin my days. But God is still working. Just because I might give into things that I don’t have to give in to doesn’t mean that He’s not working. It just means that I’m not paying attention to Him. Maybe that’s what that whole “seek first His kingdom” business is all about. I’ve learned a lot about “identity” this year. About who we really are in Christ, and honestly it makes me uncomfortable sometimes. God loves us so much that we are “heirs with Jesus.” That might just be the hardest pill to swallow ever. I have a really, really hard time wrapping my mind around that statement...around that Truth. I’ve been living in error for a while, thinking that God was mad at me for my little screw-ups and the sins that I can’t seem to get passed. He’s not. He’s not mad at you either. If you have Christ in your heart...a real relationship with God, He looks at you and He sees Jesus. And nothing that you could ever do can add or take away from the Jesus He sees. Nothing. Is that some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card for you to do whatever you want? Absolutely not. That is the reason that you should want to know Him more. How can He see you like that? Ask Him. I bet He’ll blow your mind and tell you. Maybe not in the way you think He’ll tell you, but He will tell you. For the longest time, I thought that if I ever had to face Jesus in a room, He would look at me, kinda frown and put His head down, shaking it from side to side saying “What a waste you’ve managed to make of all the blessings I’ve given you. I just don’t know if I’m going to give you anymore.” Have you ever wondered that, or thought of an encounter with God like that? I will tell you this now, and you need to hear it: God will look at you in all of your weakness, all of your brokeness, all of your insecurity and doubt and you know what He’ll do? He will smile at you. And He’ll look at you and say, “I love you so much. You have no idea how valuable you are to me, and you don’t have any idea how proud of you I am.” That is the weight of God’s love. That is the cross that we bear. That is what Jesus meant when He said to take on His yoke, for it was easy and the burden was light. Open your heart to that kind of love and see where it takes you. And if it doesn’t make you want to take that love into the darkest places of your heart and the darkest places of this world, then you are missing it. Keep asking, keep knocking, and keep seeking. God will open that door to you, and He will never slam it shut in your face.
C.S. Lewis wrote a book called the Screwtape Letters, and it’s about an elder demon giving a younger demon advice on how to tempt and sway humanity. In that book, Lewis writes one of the most profound ideas I’ve ever read, and anytime I think about it it inspires me to keep going. The elder demon is trying to describe the love of God to the younger demon (and of course they both detest the love of God) and he says something to the effect of “their God delights in them so much and wishes that they would step out in faith so much that He delights even in their stumbles.” Now, that’s not exactly how it’s written because I don’t have a copy of the book sitting right here beside me, but do you get the point? He delights in you. Even when you’re trying to have faith and you seem like you’re just falling flat on your face, God loves the fact that you are stepping out in faith towards Him. I’m telling you, it’s that much. And that idea (to me) is the summation of success, love and the meaning of life. That is your identity as a child of God. Don’t forget it, and don’t forget to show it.
Talk to you soon.