Archive for March, 2012
I tend to think I have big dreams. Some have said ‘unrealistic’. Which, I can agree with in part. But I’ve always thought that God is a bigger dreamer than me so why not ‘go big and go home.’ Now, it’s the follow-through to accomplish those dreams where I tend to come up short.
I have theories and ideas. For example, just today I was thinking of how great it would be to purchase a home, fix one side of it up for me and the other as a little Bed and Breakfast, then I could stay home, write, take care the yard and the garden, have people over all the time, meet new and interesting non-Americans (hopefully) and enjoy life.
This isn’t really a pipe dream, it could happen. I just have no idea of how to actually get it done in the drudgery of a 9-5 that pays my bills, but barely. There are some realistic items that need to happen before this could be accomplished. So I get stuck and I stop. The dreamer in me comes back to reality until I’m fighting in traffic, day-dreaming again.
That’s why I find it so incredibly fascinated that the true Dreamer, created so much goodness! He thought of everything and executed it! He thought up mountains and trees and oceans and evaporation and rain and photosynthesis. He dreamt of our bodies and every little thing we would need in order to breathe and run and hear.
Before the foundations of the world the eternal Dreamer put into his mind and then spoke. And his dreams became true. You are this true dream of his. dreamer in Dreamer.
I am a daughter. I have parents. This will never change. I will always be someone’s child and you are as well. Everyone has a parent. Now, you may not like them or get along well with them. You may have multiple parents—step, biological, adoptive, foster—parents. But we are all children.
Christ can relate. He is both child and Child. He came from God the Father, lived as a child of Mary and Joseph, and returned to reign on the throne as the Son of God.
Some children have siblings, a brother or a sister. Christ had those as well, on earth and, now, so much more in his kingdom.. In Roman’s Paul calls those who are in Christ, “co-heirs”.
I attend a meeting on Sunday nights where we gather to express Christ. Sounds fancy, right? It’s actually not. It’s just everyone contributing and sharing about what Christ has done and is doing. Where He has given us eyes and ears to see Him and how we continue to be amazed at how he is everywhere. When we started meeting it felt foreign to call each other “brothers and sisters.” It’s who we are, but living out of a true identity is always difficult at first. The new feels foreign. The lie seems safer. But I digress.
On Sunday nights I remember Christ has made it possible for me to call him brother. His being Child has made it possible for this child to partake in unsearchable riches of my brother, who is Christ. Not only in myself, but so much more through his expression in the brothers and sisters I am with on a weekly basis.
You know that person, right? The person who can do anything and be really good at it? She can pick up a guitar and a month later be opening for Dave Barnes. He has never run a marathon and decides to a few weeks prior and then finishes the 26.2 in the top 25% of the field? The girl who decides she wants to do stand-up comedy and gets a gig writing for SNL. Kristin Wig, U2, David Beckham, and Frances Chan are some of the people who are best at what they do.
Reality TV lends itself to this as well. Always looking for the ‘best of the best’. Did they make it to Vegas? Did they win the Battle Round? Who really will be the next Top Chef?
Best—it’s something many strive to be and become. When I think religiously about best the first word that comes to mind is holiness. I have often excused my self-righteous behavior as striving after “being holy because He is holy”. That’s where I wanted to be the ‘best’, in my moral character that somehow reflected Christ.
I am now certain that self-righteousness is not best. Christ is Best. And I am best in Him. My friend Milt wrote a book called The Butterfly in You. This book reminded that me striving to be the best at being ‘holy’ is quite pointless. Why? Because I already am. In Christ, in Holy, I’m already holy. I’m hidden in it. I already am best in Best.
I can’t get better. I already am. I don’t have to continue to strive after or become something I already have. I just get to rest in Best. Recognize his best-ness (is that a word?) and sit in it.
I don’t have to lead more bible studies, sing in more choirs, and have more biblical knowledge so that by my own efforts I can somehow obtain a level of holiness that would equal his. As if my ‘being holy’ had anything to do with me. It does not. It has everything to do with Him. Thinking that I can somehow become like him through my actions without the realization that because of Him I am there already. I do not need to do anything to obtain a status I already possess because of Him is futile and arrogant.
best in Best—it’s already where I am. I can stop wasting my time trying to get somewhere I am. I can enjoy those who have the gifts of humor, athleticism, and music because I am confident of who and where I am.
“They” would like us to believe that if you are part of a couple, or a family, or a large group of friends that you are alone. But I believe on the right day with the right circumstance you can feel more alone in the midst of people than you do when you are by yourself. Why?
It’s because we want to be known and loved.
We want people to know our eccentric self’s and love them anyway. We want freedom to be cranky or crazy at any point and time and know there will be no judgement. And sometimes when we begin to act like our true selves around people we hear snide comments or ‘jokes’ that don’t really feel like jokes. So we wrap up and put away the true parts of ourselves so we won’t lose friends and be alone. The irony is when we do this, we feel unknown and alone.
When I think of Christ and alone, I think of the cross. The sky goes dark and He cries out because he feels forsaken. I write feels because I do not read anywhere in scripture where it says God turns his back on Christ at the cross. But if there was any place to feel forsaken and alone, it would be there.
However, even there Christ is alone in Alone. Not only that, he is Alone. He, Alone, is the only one worthy of praise. Alone knows who I am—fully. Alone knows the cranky and the crazy and chisels away at them so we become more comfortable being alone in Alone.
I was sitting on the back deck, by myself, on a Friday night. This probably sounds glorious to some of you but I as sykeing myself up for another Friday night alone. I had invited a few friends over and none of them could make it—which I knew would happen because my spirit knew I needed to be alone in Alone that night.
I needed to be alone to remember I’m not alone, but that I live in Alone. And living in this place means it is impossible to not be known and not be loved. It is impossible to separate me from Alone because He sacrificed himself so that I could become part of Him. Often I long for this expression on earth via a husband. That’s been the box I’ve kept Alone in, as if that’s the only way I will fully be known. I have used this husband as an escape from my aloneness. (You married friends are laughing now, aren’t you. )
One man is not big enough to contain all of the expression of Christ and it’s unfair of me to think he will. That’s been my default for years that my husband will be able to express Christ to me better than anyone else. But this husband, alone, as an individual, will never be enough to express all of Alone. He’s so much bigger and his Body consists more than one part.
Even alone I’m not…I’m in Alone. This is a truth I have heard often. But sometimes it takes literally being alone to accept all of it. To really believe it. And once it’s believed the natural overflow is seen in everyday life.
Let me tell you about a few events in my life. First, let’s talk about the weather. I don’t know if it’s like this where you live, but here in Middle TN it’s been warmer than normal. This has caused spring to bloom in full force and all at once instead of the normal, gradual bloom. I love spring here. It’s amazingly beautiful. However, my weak sinus/allergies do not. I have not been feeling well. Functional but not well.
I’ve also been dog sitting this week. I love dog sitting! My life doesn’t lend itself to having a dog of my own so being with others for a while is always a nice and welcome change to me.
These two things lend themselves to being alone a lot, which isn’t bad unless your eyes have been open to the life that happens in community. Then not only does your literal body feel half dead (from the allergies), so does your spirit (from the lack of community). As I asked some sisters to pray for me, one gently reminded me of how we are “alone in Alone”. I knew this to be truth but didn’t want to accept. But I needed to hear it. Then I remembered this post I had written.
Now, recently I finished reading The War of Art which talks about the resistance we face while trying to be creative and what a discipline it is to sit down and be creative every day. One of my favorite quotes from the book is
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”
All of these things bring me a self-challenge that I want to share with you. When I wrote this post I didn’t anticipate this, but beginning Monday I hope to write on each of those topics. About being “alone in Alone.” I hope you enjoy it. But if you do not, it’s ok. I’m not writing for you. I’m writing for me and would love for you to be apart of the journey.
John Mark McMillian has a lyric that goes a little something like this
Glory to One, God’s murdered Son. Who paid for my resurrection..
Amen and Amen. One day my physical body will be resurrected because of the Christ. However, that’s just the surface. You see, my spirit knows that the resurrection happens on a daily basis. And it’s not mine, or at least I hope it isn’t mine. I want my soul-life to die and His life to be resurrected in me. Paul said it this way
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
As excited as I am about my physical body being resurrected, I am more excited to have my soul-life die today and His-life lived through me.
Glory to One, God’s murdered Son. Who paid for His resurrection….
I love you. I love your colors–gray, green, purple, and white with highlights of yellow.
I love the songs of your birds and the business they bring to trees.
You remind me that new life is beautiful. You inspire.
Your pollen keeps me trapped inside and I detest seeing you from the cage called building. I want to run in your open fields of wild flowers.
I love the calm your rain brings to the ground. I love the streams that fill to overflowing and how flowers know it is time to arrive.
Cool mornings fade into warm, comforting afternoons and star-filled nights.
Because of you, we remember to pull out grills and have bonfires and invite friends to eat with us.
Because of you, we remember death has an end and light and life are really in charge.
You cause us to anticipate more than we would normally have the courage to anticipate.
I will enjoy you as long as you are here. Seasons come and seasons go, there’s a time for everything. I hope to make the most of you.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I have heard this verse many, many, many times. Always in the context of not giving up, keep hoping, keep trusting.
However, as this verse has been stirring in my spirit the last couple of weeks I believe there to be more than what is on the surface here. There is something deeper, richer, more true here.
Travel with me to the summer of 2001. I was helping lead a missions trip in the country of Guatemala where we visited schools and shared Christ via music and drama. I was riding with the missionary I had met a few days previous, and he asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told this stranger that I wanted to influence the masses. This stranger told me I already was. Fast forward to one of the few moments we got to spend talking to students (in broken spanglish) where these girls asked me to sing over and over again. I did not know it then, but they were speaking to my spirit. Christ was using them to remind me who He created.
It is now 2012 and about a week ago at our sister’s meeting, we were encouraging each other by stating out-loud who we are in Christ. It was said: “Heather, you inspire people to growth” and “Heather, you are His sweet song”
Hearing who you in are in Christ changes how you live. That’s why I tell you these things, because I live differently now that I am remembering who I am. In 2001 I had a small taste that these were the truths about how I was created. As the journey continues, as I delight and partake in the divine life Christ offers, I am able to see that the 2001 desires are who I am in Him. And as such, I am able to receive them as gift, given to me. They are desires because it’s already who I am in Him. It who he created before the foundations of the world. They are desires because they are the part of Christ deposited in me before time began. Why would He not give me more Himself?
I am only able to remember who I am as I delight in Him. Now about or around Him, but in Him. I rest in the strong fortress and remember the reality of me. Apart from Christ–my desires mean nothing. (John 15:5)
The Heather Flower
I attend a gathering where we call each other brothers and sisters, like they did in the New Testament. Not because , as some see it, we are ‘better’ than others, but because our spirits recognize each other spirits and the truth of that sentiment. We are all co-heirs with Christ and as such, brothers and sisters. At one point it was very foreign and seemed odd to us. However, it is really quite beautiful now that we have gotten over ourselves and are now able to live in this truth. But I digress…
This week we got together to talk about God’s provision. I’m writing the beginning of this entry before we meet and the last half after.
As I’ve been contemplating which provision story I want to share, I’m having a hard time keeping it to just one. Do I tell how as a child the Lord would provide food and money to pay the bills when we didn’t think we’d have enough? Or do I tell about how when I was in college and some financial aide was taken away, a friend stepped in and rallied other friends and they paid most of my bill for me? Or do I tell of how when I moved toNashvilleI had $27.00 in my bank account for groceries for two weeks and how it stretched and I somehow made it without buying ramen. Or do I talk about the year and half I was unemployed and all of my bills got paid, on time, through odd jobs and friends and family and sometimes the government? It’s hard to narrow it down to just one story.
When we had our Sister’s meeting last Wednesday, a sister reminded us that it’s not just financial provision He supplies. He provides wisdom when raising children, and soft-spoken words of truth in a volatile situation. He provides patience, grace, faith, joy and love when we do not have it in and of ourselves. Is this the story I share tonight?
I’m not sure. Because all week I’ve been seeing how Christ is evident in the overlooked provisions of the every day. I needed to get to know a friend better, so she emailed me about getting together. I needed to be reminded of who I am in Christ, so a sister sends a reminder via text. I needed to get my taxes done and got to leave work early on Friday.
These are little provisions, aren’t they? They are easily written off as coincidence or circumstance—but the Lord works through them all. He does it all. He has done it all. Because he is outside of time and space, we just walk into what has already been accomplished.
During our meeting last night, I did not share anything. I heard true-life stories of miraculous financial and job provision. There were stories of how peace, healing, time, homes, and restoration were given. As well as stories of old identities being stripped away and new, unshakeable, ones being lived out. I did not have to share because those stories were all apart of my story as well. I remembered different parts of my life that related with each story told. I, too, recognized how none of them are possible outside of relationship with other human beings.
Now, we brothers and sisters will never again be able to say that we doubt God will provide, even the little things. We just have to remember last night. When faith is hard to find, we remember and we borrow from last night. There is power in remembering the reality of provision.