Wednesday, October 3, 2012
So here I am, in New York for 8 months now. What do I have? What have I learned? What have I done? Have I made it good? These questions I ask myself regularly. The pendulum swings from them being productive questions to repressive questions. Today, they are productive. The produce in me, today, energy to move forward, to be strong, to play my part as only I can play for the Kingdom. As I was listening to Mumford's new album and reading in Ephesians these are the pictures that stand out for me most. We can start with Mumford. There is a line in "The Boxer" (originally sung by Simon & Garfunkel...I choose Mumford's version) that says "'I am leaving, I am leaving.' But the fighter still remains." I'm not going to tell you what S&G or M&S is trying to say but I will tell you the story it tells me when I hear these lines. I see a man (or woman, namely...me) that has gone through hard times, has fought their way through and is left with scars from the battles whether they be battles they were put through or put themselves through. They have fought hard and long and are now on the other side choosing to lay certain things down, move on, move out from the things that have beaten him down. But one thing remains. The will to fight, to protect and succeed and strength. The battles fought teach you how to fight, build "muscles" and flexibility. These skills left once a fight is over are invaluable. You become stronger and more ready to be good, prepared. With peace and confidence and courage. As I continue to live life on this Earth of this thing I become more sure of every day. We are constantly in refining. And when we can see this as a blessing your day to day can become joy rather than oppression. I think of precious metals being melted. Refining changes the substance with fire, a painful and devastating thought. It might be easy to think that the precious is being ruined in the fire but what is actually happening is only the precious and good remains (because the refiner knows the exact heat needed for the process) and is reshaped for what it was truly meant to be. As the process continues different things are added to the precious to make it stronger and more suited for its use. Each time I'm put in the fire the things that make me weak like insecurities, doubt, fear and indolence are being taken away. They are being burned out of me leaving me with what makes me strong and precious and good. I'm being reshaped into what I am called to be on and for this earth. And this I welcome. I have had this picture in my head for the last five plus years of a woman naked but slightly veiled or shadowed, no detail or face or skin shown being lifted from a raging fire. She holds a posture of submission, strength, peace, confidence and ease. I have shied away from being that woman for too long here in the city. Today I choose to be how I am made. Nothing less. Who knows what that means practically each day but each day I'll figure it out. When I not being who I'm called to be not only am I sacrificing the Good Works that God has done in me but I am sacrificing the plans that he has to use me in His Kingdom for those that are lost and hurting. That brings me to Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 19 through 22 paints this grand picture of building or a temple. He calls us as believers the household of God (and fellows with the saints) to be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the only cornerstone that holds all together for the dwelling place of the Lord. I see a world where God has provided believers a place to build their foundation on. He has given us examples and led the way for us through his apostles and prophets. A literal reference point. He gave us Christ to unite us with Him and with each other to bind us and hold us together in his strength to form a bond so tight and so pure that it can be the dwelling place of the Lord. Literally, I see us as believers being accountable to what we are called to do, love Christ and love others, playing our part in this world that builds the Kingdom on earth. A place that allows God to be present which in turn allows those lost and hurting to enter our lives and see the work or the Lord for themselves. A place where they are free to experience his great love with out condemnation from us who know the truth. When we as believers can hold onto the truths of Christ and come together regardless of denomination or upbringing or culture or personality we are a part of something so much greater than ourselves. I am inspired to hold to my calling to be exactly that for those on the outside. I know the love of Christ too well to withhold it from any living being and will make it my forever mission to live my life in a way that allows God to be seen for who he is and to use my life to show his love. His love is too great. Brothers and sisters, be this with me! Lets be together a dwelling place of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control because there is nothing that can have power over these.