Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Journey Without Maps

"Faith is better understood as a verb than as a noun, as a process than as a possession. It is on-again-off-again rather than once-and-for-all. Faith is not being sure where you're going but going anyway. A journey without maps." - Frederick Buechner

Journey. I really love that word. It awakens something in me that I cannot explain. It seems so...infinite and inviting.

Infinite because it seems to capture the endless possibilities and lessons to be learned in this life. Also because as Christians we know that we are not Home yet, but we're ever on our way. Sometimes that way is treacherous. Sometimes it is wondrous. Most of the time it falls somewhere in between.

Inviting because it seems so...communal. The idea of journey seems to imply that there are others on the road with us. Oh sure, sometimes it seems as if we are all alone on our journey. Like we are being asked to walk this endless road by ourselves. We feel lonely, abandoned, and utterly isolated. But it is all an illusion. There is at least that eternal Someone there beside us and often countless others surrounding us seeking to walk the same path. On our best days there's a tangible person or two with whom we can share the ups and downs of the journey who has chosen to take the journey, too.

I am at a point in my journey where I am exhilarated by the idea that it is a journey without maps. If you had asked me a year ago how I felt about it, the answer would have been different. I felt isolated and alone and angry that I didn't have a blueprint for the journey. There's no blueprint or map right now for any part of my life and I'm loving it! I feel excited about what is ahead even though I see it not.

Why the extremes in response to this journey without maps? Well, the easy answer is that I am human. It happens. The better answer is that I find myself trusting God to a greater degree at this point in the journey. My vision is clear and I am able to see how He has guided me through the mountaintops and valleys of my life and that He continues to do so now.

Ask me again in a year and I might have different thoughts (depending on the day). For now, I'm excited about what is around the next corner and cannot wait to see where He is leading me. I also look forward to sharing this journey with the unbelievable people He has placed in my life who can remind me what I've said here today when I find myself in the less-than-enthusiastic camp...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fear Conquered

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." - 1 John 4:18

These words, while a beautiful thought, have always sort of haunted me. They replay in my mind when I find that I have not quite conquered fear in my life (a daily...or at least weekly occurence!). I have learned to fight through fear and just go for it in most circumstances. And while this can be a good quality, I think it has largely kept me from experiencing what this verse really means.

As is always the case, my devotional brought up the same theme. I have found that when God is trying to teach me something, He exhausts all avenues. The same idea seems to surface everywhere I turn. When I finally sat down to ready my devotional the other day, here is what I found:

"When the story is over, the fear will be conquered; God will have delivered. The troubles will be mastered, and God will have freed the believer. The needs in life will have been met, and God will have provided for every need." - Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master, August 12

I immediately called to mind the verse listed above. "There is no fear in love...perfect love drives out fear" kept replaying in my mind like a broken record. Those words and Kinlaw's words convicted me and caused a longing to awaken in me. The refrain is not unfamiliar to me...

I kept thinking...I want fear to be conquered in my life now. I want to be freed from worry and fear now. I want my needs to be met now. I just want to live free in the now.

Then it happened. I had what I like to call a "mini-ephiphany." A moment of absolute clarity where it all just comes together for me. I don't imagine it will be earth-shattering for many of you but I thought I'd share it anyway.

As I sat and reflected about that verse and what I had read in my devotional, it all just began to make perfect sense to me. I don't have to conquer fear. I don't have to try and free myself from worry. I don't have to know how everything is going to work and how. It is not up to me to have that perfect love that drives out fear. I just have to cling to the One who does...

It occurs to me that I might be making sense to no one but myself at this point, so let me put it differently. It seems to me that the verse should read (at least in our minds), "There is no fear in love because God is love. God, who is perfect love, drives out our fear. He drives it out because fear has to do with punishment and those of us who love and live in God know that this is not the end of the story. We need not fear because we are covered by the perfect love of God."

I knew it before, but it became clearer to me the other day...it is not up to me. I'll still have fear here and there, but I need not try to conquer it on my own. I'll just allow myself to be embraced by the One who embodies the perfect love and has the power to drive it out.

I'm done fighting through my fears on my own. Where has it gotten me anyway? Maybe it has made me a little "tougher" or (worse) given me some sense of false pride in my ability to overcome. It never lasts...and it shouldn't.

I am determined to live free in this life. I believe I can, not because I have the power to do so, but because I know the One who does. And there is no fear in Him...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Just for Fun

I thought this was hilarious. Check out the Weinermobile Woes.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Movie Preview

My friend Cindy alerted me to this forthcoming movie on her blog a while ago. I just got around to watching the trailer...and I'm hooked. Please take a moment to view the trailer. Then promptly go and mark your calendars for the release date (October 19, 2007). You won't want to miss August Rush. The cast is phenomenal and the concept is original and looks to be deeply moving.