reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

When I was a little girl I wanted to get married young, be a missionary, and have so very many kids.

Check. Check. Check.

And honestly, I was proud of it. I did exactly what I set about to do. I was serving the Lord (I mean, I am sure God appreciated all I was doing for him. Why wouldn’t he? I was such an asset.), I was married to the first man I ever kissed, and I had all these beautiful babies. My life was completely on script.

Little did I realize that life was improv.

I never expected to be living with the consequences of addiction and trauma. I never expected chronic illness. I certainly never expected to be 42 and divorced, raising children on my own. Working full time, even! That was never in the equation. I loved being a stay-at-home mom (a term I don’t particularly care for) so much.

And now. What is going on with my unscripted life?

Lyrical master, Propaganda says,

So self-sufficiency dies hard, right?
But when rightfully humbled, God shows up in burning bushes
May we step into the fray like “I got something to say”
May we hold no armies, no weapons, no ceremonial authority
Just a walking stick of an old-timer and not an ounce of fear
May we have a faith birthed out of a revelation of promise
A reflex caused by what you know to be true of God
Life is not a comic book
There are no perfect victims or villains, just us
We are smog-laced oxygen tanks tossed to capsize murderers
Resting on his power of deliverance and the integrity to accomplish it.”

Life is not a comic book. There are no perfect victims or villains. I have to rest daily on God’s power of deliverance and the integrity to accomplish it. This self-sufficiency thing is dead.

As the book of James tell us, we cannot say “I will do this and that and go here and make this money and come back.” How small minded to think we can control so many moveable parts with such an arrogant act of our own will. Only, “If God will it…” (James 4:13-17) Because let’s be honest, we mistake his will more times than we care to admit.

Where does that agility come from to make us burn the script and follow God’s leading? What happens in our deep interior life to trust God so completely that when he says go, we go. And when he says stay, we stay. Is it mostly humility? Or mostly trust? Or both, because they go hand-in-hand.

It’s detachment—that detachment from the things of the world, from expectations, from predictability, from ambition, from ego. It’s difficult for someone with a profound sense of nostalgia and sentimentality. I hang onto things—souvenirs, places, people, memories. Yet, following Jesus is a ticket that doesn’t allow for checked bags and not even carryons. It’s a radical jump (or a trepidatious tiptoe) into the unknown with your hands empty and heart ready.

Improv, amirite?

Is your life also so unscripted? Are you unsure of the right responses when it is your turn to react? The right response is always love. Radical love for a God who loves so radically that all the things hung onto seem so insignificant and sad.

Someday I will have the walking stick of an old-timer and not an ounce of fear.

Today, however, I will have a extra shot of espresso and a box of tissues.

(If I were making a Letting Go Playlist and you want to let go with me, here are two tunes to start: Made Straight by Propaganda and Where Your Go I Go by Kim Walker-Smith/Jesus Culture)

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