Sunday, March 11, 2012

Believing vs. Doing vs. Being (and Ohio)

We're fresh off a much-needed trip to Ohio. It was fast, but we managed to cram in a whole lotta nothing. We decided on our way down that we weren't going to go anywhere or do anything while we were there.

But then I remembered we were only 15 minutes from La Fiesta and our plans swiftly accommodated my urge. La Fiesta was a hot-bed of happy reunions and so it goes... there's just something about going home.

We breathe a little easier there. I'm not naive - I understand the vacation factor. We're unplugged and the only distractions are the junk-food cabinets (yes, there are 2). There are lots of extra hands and I sleep like I'm 15 again.

Photo courtesy of Calvin. FYI - this is my favorite picture of my Dad ever in the history of the world.

The kids lounge around in pajamas then hike up their work pants and head out with Papaw. No one wants to leave.

The ride home started quiet. We were tired and pensive, well aware that a shift is looming.

We're half-way through rentaldom and hoping for some answers about What Happens Next later this week. So what does happen next? I don't know. I have ideas. I have big hopes. I have uncertainties and sometimes, I have a furrowed heart.

Is this what it means to be called? You tell me.

I hear a lot of talk about what Christians should be doing, what we shouldn't be doing. I hear people telling themselves that it's not about "doing" at all - it's just about believing.

I think it starts with believing and ends with believing. But there's more, in the middle. I think that sometimes, someone's believing starts with someone else's doing. I think faith without works really is dead. We can't untwist the double helix.

For such a long time I thought it was all about being - being good, being nice, being responsible, being high in attendance and low in Rock n' Roll.

And all this time, all I had to be was in Him.

So shut down that voice of judgment and rest a while. Find yourself there, in Him, where all He wants is all of you.

But be ready, because His heart is contagious.

This next week is full of so many good things. We'll be busy. We'll feel the sun on our cheeks. Maybe answers will find us or maybe our faith will be stretched another notch or two.

It doesn't really matter, because I have all I need.

He gives us these days of rest so perfect that our hearts feel a pinch of that happy ache. He gives us strength for what comes next and trust that whatever it is, it will be right and He will be there. His gifts include a sliver of the very same heartbreak He feels for the young child who was harmed or the innocent families who bury their young half a world away.

This world is hurting and He's the fix. He draws us into His redemption in spite of our own brokenness and compels us to hunt down chipped hearts and cracked souls. We know them because we are them.

We don't get things right and He still saves a place for us, still calls us valuable, still finds us charming and funny and endearing and quirky.

That is the grace that saved me. It may have taken thirty years, but I'm thankful tonight that it finally made its way out of my head and into my heart and my gangly limbs. Because until I started to really understand my place at His table, I was burning up the road without even moving. I was exhausted and failing, feeling useless to Him in my messy state of affairs. Right when I'd heard enough of the hollow drone of faith that was really just religion, light spilled in through the very cracks I'd been trying to repair.

Photo courtesy of Calvin. And hey! I cut my hair.

Maybe you never get it right. Maybe you've written yourself out of His schemes because you're too shy, too busy, too tired, too weird. I'm right there with you, and I'm suggesting something different than giving up. I'm saying we decide to lean on in, with our banged up ideas and the questions we would never ask out loud, trusting that He'll carry us to where He wants us.