an ordered chaos

August 27, 2009

There is a beautiful, visceral, painful tension in the space between where deep emotions are not ripe enough to become words…and I’m there

London has been incredible – in some ways incredibly uncomfortable, in others incredibly eye-opening, and yet still others incredibly wonderful.

I’ve heard “change of place + change of pace = change of perspective” and it’s true. I knew this first trip would change my perspective on things directly related to my MBA life (education, institutions, markets, diversity, etc) but I did not know how much it would shift my perspective on things that represent my life back at home…

friends, guys, money, geography, leisure, how i spend my time, what i read, what i watch, and on and on and on…

so there is a lot going through my head – mostly about relationships and people; because relationships are deep and complex and important. people are irreplaceable and i think how we treat them is a window into our soul.

and there’s a long way between who I am and who i want to be. i also happen to believe God is the one who moves us that distance…and i trust Him. I want Him to.

so i don’t know how much i have to say right now – and it’s why i’ve been quiet…all i can do is keep going back to this idea i managed to utter on my twitter the other day,

“There is a beautiful, visceral, painful tension in the space between where deep emotions are not ripe enough to become words…and I’m there”

may God do what only He can do with and in that…amen and amen.

a great prayer

August 13, 2009

a great prayer, compliments of an old Erwin McManus podcast.

Jesus, You said that You are the way, the truth, and the life. You said that we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free; and, that he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

So I ask You Jesus to free us from the lies that hold us captive.
God free us from the lies that devalue the image of God in us.
Free us from the lies that demean us and keep us in shame and guilt.
Free us from the lies that fill us with fear that we cannot become who You tell us we can become – and that we cannot live the life that you’ve put in our hearts to long to live.

And I thank you Jesus that for everyone who would trust You something new begins to happen and the lie no longer has power over them. and they now know what it means to live in the freedom of truth.

I pray that for each person here; and, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.

THIRTY!

August 6, 2009

today is my 30th birthday.  WOW! so far, i love being 30…it’s almost like a lightswitch went off in terms of my confidence – in your 20s you’re so used to that process of trial and error to figure out who you are that when you are 30, you have an authority to know it! Don’t ask why…and that probably doesn’t makes sense, but who cares, it does to me.

in any case, I think Tim McGraw sums up this day better than I can – so here it is:

I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years

Oh my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out [AS A] wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years

embrace it

August 5, 2009

I’ve been listening to this pastor lately out of portland, Rick McKinley.  The guy is brilliant, revolutionary in his insistence that the Gospel is simple in concept and utterly disruptive in practice.  He basically says the same thing in different ways depending on the scripture that week (I think most pastors do this, they just tell the story they know of God, and wow, some should really not share theirs…) Not Rick though, this guy should have a very loud microphone.

what he says, again and again and again, is that God loves people in a way that doesn’t make any sense to us at all.  That God does these things and we rush to pay Him back, but that’s ridiculous b/c well, God is God – what can we really offer Him? He unashamedly illustrates the divide that sin creates, only to paint further this image of a God who reconciles us – watching and waiting for a response of worship, not work.

How much of what we do in the name of Jesus is an attempt to pay Him back, to be in a more comfortable, equitable relationship?  How dangerous is it to build a life under a thin veneer of gratitude and worship instead of on a foundation of it?

i’m still trying to wrap my head around it.  more importanly maybe, i’m still trying to get my heart around it.  Who am I God that You would promise and deliver on the stuff You’ve said?  It blows my mind.

there is one thing that began to frame this idea for me.  In a mesage on what reconciliation with God looked like, Ps Rick mentioned the idea of the embrace of God.  I laughed a little b/c at the time I had just gotten back from visiting my friend Alison’s parents in Jackson Hole.  I often say, the trip is worth a single hug from her mom.  It’s a great embrace, i can’t explain it, but it’s right and every time i get one, i know it. 

here’s how Ps. Rick describes it:

The embrace of God is yours through the work of Christ.  You are received into His favor…
some of you have had this experience, of just the really great embrace.  it’s not the uncomfortable one or it’s a little too long. or you just get the 3 pats on the back like “ok good-bye thank you”
 
…its the embrace where it’s right.  
it’s a father embracing a son. it’s a masculine embrace, the son just knows: 
i’m loved. 
i’m cared about 
i’m blessed 
i have favor 
he’s proud of me
 
it’s the daughter who can crawl up into her father’s arms and just go: 
i’m protected 
i’m loved 
i’m cherished, 
i’m valued here.  
i’m safe.
that’s the embrace that we are talking about in reconciliation…
His favor is always toward you b/c of the worthiness of Jesus.  That embrace is always yours. 

That, my friends, is something i’m learning to embrace.

 
 

work

August 4, 2009

people usually ask what I want to do after my MBA…and i think it’s a dumb question.

The reality is that what we DO is an expression of who we ARE – so i tend to focus on becoming the person I want to become.  One who values people, choice, is free, is gracious, is humble, is relationally healthy, is emotionally strong, has a high capacity, a conviction to live at the highest level, continue learning, and maintains a spirit of excellence…

I want to be the kind of person who acts on behalf of people who are unable to act on their own behalf in a way that provides them greater freedom to make choices. 

          So, to do that, I’d have to i.) love people and ii.) have resource. 

I hope my experience at Duke, coupled with full-time work and normal “life” will present me with a gauntlet of opportunities to raise my game and go to another level – and shape me into more of the person I hope to be…

and the work will fall into place

A Twitter friend once posted, “Just once, I’d like to learn something the easy way.” 

Amen. 

Some people have a gift for it – my best friend is one of them – she just observes other people, takes it in, then makes the right decisions part of her ethos.  How? I have no idea. 

Recently, in the wake of one of my learning opportunities (read: bad decisions), I found myself on a much needed ‘drive and think.’   Nestled in my shiny white BMW, left knee bent up to my chest, right arm steering my gorgeous machine, winding down A1A music blaring – i felt free.  Free to face the truth and the demons; wanting a familiar lyric or tune to embrace my chaos and reassure me that everything works out OK in spite of it all. 

That’s one thing I’ve never gotten a clear answer on from the church – does it work out or doesn’t it?  Are my “hot mess” tendencies going to derail me or not? I mean, they are pretty clear about the “ultimate” resolution – but i’m not bent toward easily imagining dragons buried under the ocean and Messiahs riding out of the sky – let alone how any of that impacts my drive on A1A.  I live in the short-term.  I live where people are impacted by my decisions, not the least of which is me! I understand the condition of my heart determines my behavior but my behavior(s) also shape the condition of my heart.  

I’m fighting this war on two battlefields – and frankly, i’m not so great at defending my heart against the wounds of bad behaviors. 

It occurred to me, in the sanctity of my precious beamer, that i could actually ask God – did i mess this all up?  Does this work out for me, in spite of me, or not? Can God still do IN me and THROUGH me what He longs to do, or am i just hopeless?

So i asked.  I asked the God of the universe, the guy who put the sky together – i just asked him.  I talk to Him often, but even with the closest of friends, sometimes you grab their shoulders, look them in the eye and really ask.  This was one of those.

In all of the honesty that I’ve always hoped God was big enough to hold, I told him I like it, I love feeling the things I feel and I know better: i know they aren’t right or good.  I know they are dangerous.  I know He put them off-limits b/c He loves me perfectly – better than I love myself.  I told God that I wished I could claim to be a bug flying toward the light…incapable of resisting. But I believed him when He says He’ll provide a way out and to claim to be that proverbial mosquito, if i were to say I’m incapable of resisting, I’m calling Him a liar.  And I can’t do that. 

The ability to choose is what makes me most human.  If i abdicate responsibility for my choices, I become a little less human.  I won’t do that. 

I did what I did. I made a series of decisions that led to a consequence.  

There’s blood on my hands.

In a sense, I am the one, in Herod’s courtyard saying “He’s not what I want. I think I can do it better.  This doesn’t look like what i want it to look like…so I’m taking it into my own hands.”

and the blood of an innocent man is on my hands.

And I wonder if God’s big enough, good enough to hold me when i’m covered in His blood. 

I wonder – GOD how i wonder – if I messed it all up – if i disqualified myself somehow b/c I can’t get it right.

I want Him. I want to love Him well. I want Him to lead me b/c I like that way SO MUCH BETTER.  But time and time and time again, I’ve proved that I can’t muster enough strength or discipline or resolve to just do what I know God’s asked me to be. 

I’m covered in blood.