Thursday, January 19, 2012

Longing


The ache between sorrow and longing is a razor's edge of sameness. We grieve what is not and in the same breath long for what could be.

What is it that you enjoy and long for? I am coming to a solid place in my own personal theology that that is where God meets with me. Yes, we've all heard of Eric Liddell's famous and beautiful quote: "When I run I feel His pleasure." We've heard the succinct beauty of the Westminster catechism: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." We've heard modern day theologians explain that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him - and yes, yes, yes - I believe and love each of these truths. I have been rescued and built up by Manning's books like the Ragamuffin Gospel and Nouwen's teachings on the love of the waiting Father. I have stood naked before grace and I have - and am - learning to let it be the only thing that clothes me.

But what does that look like in our lives? In our bodies? In our hearts and in our longings?

I am starting to believe it's our bodies and senses that the Holy Spirit often uses to show us the way. What brings you alive? What makes your heart beat faster and gives you that ache that makes you wish you were doing it, not reading about others doing it? What are you willing to endure pain and pressure for?

What reeks of enjoyment for you? What makes you sparkle and suffer all at the same time and makes others want to come do it with you?

Wheelchair bound, sick-bed bound, bound by the constraints of little kids and their needs-induced sleep deprivation - I know what I dreamed of year after year. I read book after book after book about hiking steep mountains and running mountain trails. I devoured and treasured book after book and touched the type written words and played with them in my head. I loved the words as much as the beauty they sang about and captivated me with.

What does your body dream of? Not what is it capable of now, but what speaks to its core?

That may be your place of worship - and when consecrated to the Great Enjoyer - maybe that is what you were born to do.

We were asked on Sunday at church: What does it mean to you to be a follower of Jesus? We sit around tables for our gatherings and we turned to our table-mates to share and discuss. I could only think of the words someone told me a long time ago: Your faith is as deep and real as the last time you let Jesus love you.

Yes, there are seasons of dying to this fulfillment. Yes, there are seasons of it dying altogether for the sacrifice and sake of loving others. But our bodies were made to crave and move and hunger and enjoy - and what if that is all a patterning to teach us the longing and fulfillment of worship as an activity?

I have a friend who once sat at our dining room table and described skin diving (no air tank) deep under the waters around our Pacific Northwest islands. He spoke reverently of the ocean life and beauty he saw at 180 feet below water. As he talked his eyes spontaneously filled with tears. "That is my church," he said. "It is impossible not to have worship yanked out of you surrounded by that type of wonder."

Our dining room table hummed with a sacred silence as we all stopped and felt his words. My eyes filled with tears, too, as my heart ached. The inevitable question in the room was what activity breathes with that level of worship for you?

5 comments:

Cari said...

Beautiful post - rich and challenging and so seemingly authentic. Thank you for taking the time to share when you do. You're one of the few voices I keep on my reader because I know each time you dare to share, my heart is moved and challenged.

Michaela Brown said...

I discovered your blog about four or five posts ago and each one has spoken to me, convicted me, reminded me of the truth. Your writing has become something that I anticipate, looking forward to. :)
Have you read 'Desire' by John Eldredge? As someone who seemed to be consumed by desire and longing for so many things, so much of the time, I literally grabbed that book off the shelf in tears one day and sat down to read it, hoping it would answer some of my questions. It did, opening the door to the beginning of a new journey: one of contentment where I begin to see where each longing fits and where it's taking me and why it's there. I highly recommend it!

Chelle said...

You make me think.
You stir heart wrenching + beautiful things up in my heart and mind friend...thank you so much for your words...they are such a beautiful, life giving gift. Your words inspire Worship. Thank you. Love you.

Nikki said...

So beautiful....you make me ask questions it may have taken me years to come to, on my own.

Sarah said...

Creating anything usually makes me alive. But I have to say that in the past 10 years of my life I have been playing roles in my life that are ill fitting to me. They chaff at my very personality, but I am not depressed, I am elated. I am not a victim, I am triumphant because in every difficult thing, take details they can make me cry, I see Jesus doing them for me as I rest and watch His life flowing ever so faithfully through me. It is as if every difficult task is a chance to win. When I let go and let him mother my children, let him live in this foreign land I feel lost in, I am alive in a very mysterious way. I sense the victory that I CAN do all things because it is Christ who lives in me. So I also worship in my weakness because then I see His power in my life changing it, making it alive!