This fall has been a time of reflection, discernment, and transition in Amanda's and my lives. As a part of this process I made the conscious decision to stop writing for a time on this blog. My mind was caught up in dreaming, thinking, speculating, developing, chasing rabbit trails, discerning, growing discouraged, getting encouraged, and other aspects of attempting to fulfill specifically what God's call vocationally has been for me.
Frankly, I was concerned that if I continued to attempt to post regularly here, with all of the transition in my life as well as the climate within our culture leading into the Presidential election, that posts may have tended to drift to a pessimistic, or negative, view which would not have been beneficial. I think that complaining about something should only be done if you can point to a solution or alternative which is preferred. Even if there is something worth fixing, complaining or deriding it is still not the best way. Just present an alternative, and try to live it out. So, I've taken to being silent over the past months.
Examining my life and Amanda's has been an important part of this journey. Where are we, are we focused on correct measures, and what really are we establishing as the trajectory of our lives?
Is God directing our steps, and are we open to whatever it is that might cause those areas of discontent in our lives to be transformed by following God?
Who are we, what are we wired for, and how do our passions, gifts, and dreams work themselves out in our life's narrative?
What are the sacred cows we need to give up, or the issues we've selfishly been holding onto?
What have we simply forgotten to give thanks for, or the ways we have seen direction?
What beliefs must we give up?
What beliefs can we not give up, even if we don't know why?
What is good, noble, admirable, pure, lovely, and true? Are we thinking of such things?
How are we to let ourselves be transformed?
What holds it all together? How do we get back to what is essential to life?
I wish I could say that after six weeks this was crystal clear, but it isn't. In some ways, its murkier than it was, as certain conceptions have been blown up as personal ambitions, pipe dreams, or misconceptions. Lots of times two thought streams come colliding together, and it causes turmoil, like the churning of water where two fast moving streams merge. Growth has occurred, and a work is being done within us. But it isn't simple, it isn't easy, and it most definitely is not regressing or returning to a previous state.
In many ways, I realize we are at a point where there are a several paths in front of us. Looking around, there are several different directions we could move. The quest has been to determine which is the path less traveled, the path which is faithful to our calling. The only certainty is that the path we've been down is the only one we cannot return down. There is only forward, and no return to naivety or ignorance of what we've learned, experienced, and known.
There is starting to be some clarity, and with it much that maintains uncertainty! There is a reason why many people explain a "leap of faith" in allowing their life to be transformed. Its a process, and it takes time. We are saying yes to some things that even six months ago would have been an emphatic (and perhaps fearful) NO!
What this looks like I'm not quite able to describe here in its entirety yet, but what I will break my silence and begin to describe now, and continue to work out in future posts, is some of this discerning. My calling, my way of serving is to connect with people in a manner that builds community around not a complex, lengthy statement of faith, but a simple proclamation. Its the summation of the law, and it is the way of the reign of God. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. Acknowledging in my life that Jesus is Lord, of my life and this entire creation, means that I do what he says to do. It doesn't mean winning a culture war. It doesn't mean making everyone else realize the error of their belief sets to adopt mine.
It means I bear witness as a disciple of Jesus by loving, healing, and caring for people.
It means not fighting, like Jesus did not fight.
It means recognizing that the fruit of the spirit are not universal legal statements, but virtues and values.
It means being with people who believe much differently than I believe, and getting to know and love them too.
It means forming and joining with people who accept us each as we are, while still reflecting, yielding, and growing in our lives into the way we know things are supposed to be.
It means walking alongside people on this journey knowing that while we may have lots of differences, its about moving in the same direction and destination.
Unfortunately, I realize it also means I need to have thick skin and to expect conflict and strife. They can take their best shot, but I'm not fighting.
I'm just going to move forward as faithfully as I can discern.
The path is exciting, uncertain, freeing, unexpected, and uplifting.
Anyone want to come with me, see where this thing called life leads?