Nearness & Folly

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“There have been men before…who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God himself.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Hey, Hipsters.

This is one of those more autobiographical, quasi-journal type entries, but I do think that sharing my personal journey in this current season will be helpful, encouraging, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful.

I have a major announcement that may not affect you (yet), but it will radically change me and my family…

Ready?

I have resigned from my job.  On St. Patty’s day I say goodbye, at least for now, to the W-2 world.  Buh-bye to a consistent paycheck, benefits, and a 401k match (or better known as comfort, security, success, wisdom, and a myriad of other expressions this world has to offer).

There are multiple reasons for this decision, some originating years ago, some popping up out of nowhere recently.  Altogether, the decision is clear.

Dreams and destiny left on the shelf are a slow death.

Am I against working???  Absolutely not.  I am, however, against being a “cog in the machine”; the dehumanization of individuals who are merely existing. Passionless existence is what I (and so many) have settled for and the slow, internal extinction is more than I (and my family) can bear.

There must be more to this life than how I will live in my retirement.  More than a paycheck and the things it can buy.  More than zeroes in an account and the false sense of stability it provides.

No more “Walking Dead.”  This is the heart of a man whose faith has been resuscitated.  As the quote above so accurately expresses, I “proved…God” until it was the death of my faith.  I “knew” so much about Him that one day I realized it wasn’t Him at all but rather a deified version of myself.

Thankfully, through the patience, love, prayers, teaching, and encouragement of many individuals, God has brought life to the dead places!  God is beautifully breaking this type-A, risk adverse, control freak.  But the breaking is not near as horrid or painful as it may sound for it is really a type of “birth.”

I have sung the following anthem for years, but I have rarely applied its message.  The song is beautiful, but the more time passes, the more I feel an emptiness in my soul.  Christianity is to be lived, not sung about.

“You call me out upon the waters.  The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery…Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t stop now…Spirit lead me to where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”

 


 

I’m marching into mystery like never before, and of course the “chatterbox” within my head (shoutout to Steven Furtick) is not liking it!

“Why couldn’t you have considered this earlier in life, before you had a poor, innocent family to drag along with you?!”  Or, “You have family with very consistent, high health needs…you are crazy and negligent!”  And my current favorite, “This is SO millenial of you.  You’ll never be satisfied and you’ll regret this!”

 


 

What about you?  Do you have expressions like this swirling around in your head?  How are you leaving God-designed destiny on the shelf, settling for a slow death?

More to come on the God-adventure in the next post.  Until then, check out this powerful scripture.

“God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.

The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,

I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.

So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God.

Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:17-31

Making a decision like this does not in any way indicate that I possess a greater strength, insight, calling, or courage than anyone else.  I’m simply learning to obey, albeit very slowly and hesitantly, and I am finding that faith confirms in hindsight.  I am the same weak, phobic, hypocritical, control freak and so this last song provides my heart much consolation.

 I stand with so many questions, but You know all of the answers.
And whether this side of Heaven, I know that You are the Healer.
And my heart will stay steadfast. I know that You are good.
And my heart will stay steadfast. I know that You are good.
Comforter, You are to me, shelter from the cold.
Constant how You carry me, never letting go.
You are with me.
And Your voice holds me together when I feel like I’m falling apart.
And I place my world in Your hands, and You come and steady my heart.
I feel you in the stillness. I know that You are good.
I feel you in the stillness. I know that You are good.
My heart will stay steadfast. I know that You are good. 
Emmanuel, God with us.

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