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.


  1. This is a really long looking link... But a GREAT message (audio). The meat of it starts around 16:50. It goes right along with what you're saying above, and what JESUS is saying to us. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing...

    God is waiting for me to make some changes. He does have big plans for all of us, doesn't he? :)

    With that said, we went to La Fiesta...not once, but twice this weekend. Last night and today for lunch because it was just ONE of those weekends that called for La Fiesta. I'll just call it, "food therapy". Thankful we only live 12 minutes from La Fiesta...just sayin'.

  3. i like the hair cut. but your hair could be anyway and i'd like it. ; ) um, calvin has some skills with the camera... i forgot about that. the favorite pic of your dad is really something special. makes me miss mine! sorry, that sounds weepy. anyway. this life is such a high, low, fast, sometimes slow adventure, huh?? glad He is in charge of it all.

  4. He is the fix. Thank goodness for that.
    LOVE that you have such wonderful times at your parents.
    Parents are the best blessing. I invited myself over to my parents house tonight. They are the best people on earth.
    I hope all the best things happen with the house. I pray for you.
    Calvin is an excellent photographer!

  5. yes, let's lean in and let the light spill over. let His light spill and let us reflect that light even if it is messy, uncomfortable or weird. shine on.

  6. I'm trusting, I'm trusting, even when I'm weary.
    Hoping you get some good news about your halfway point in rentaldom!

  7. Love it all. Mr. Calvin is sporting quite the hair. He may have to borrow Ruby's clips and pony tail holders!! Cute kids!

  8. This was wonderful. Such a nice pump up for the week! My favorite line was about our hearts feeling a "pinch of that happy ache." Our happiness here is just a hint, a pinch of eternity. You captured that beautifully!

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

    it sounds like it's all about abiding...and sometimes He calls us to do, or rest, or go, or be, (just be, as in still,) and He hopes that all the ______-ing is rooted in Him.

    thanks for the wonderful writing- it feeds my soul. i tend to like photo-heavy food blogs, and you are one of two that i actually read regularly! glad you had some respite at your parents. we all could use a bit of whole lotta nothing with junk food cabinets.

  10. Thanks for your quick drop off of mucho yumminess--where I have you stand in my very dark kitchen whilst we shoot the breeze for a moment. ;) Next time hopefully I'll be two-pawed and you can stay longer. But today, I'm thankful.

  11. Oh my goodness. I can't even pick a favorite line from this post because I love them ALL. Would you even believe me if I told you that during our Pastor's message yesterday, "Fan or Follower", I had the distinct thought running through my head that in my fervent effort to keep from becoming a human "doing" I'm afraid I've become a little disengaged from THIS life. That there has to come a point where one foot follows the other, and I become more aware of what in THIS world is going on. Not to "earn" anything... But, you know? So I couldn't believe the TITLE of this post...let alone the substance of it. I plan on re-reading it at least 100 more times.

    And while it was not the main point of his message, he actually said the words, "It seems God is doing the most stuff where people have the least amount of...stuff."

    *chills* He really is the same Spirit. Sometimes I feel like a phony because not all that much appears different about me from the outside. But on the inside it's tidal waves and explosions and I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited.

    I'm not sure what in this world He's up to, but I'm IN!

    1. I just have to comment on your comment! You rock! I love your *chills* paragraph because I feel the same way. God is up to something and I pray it is a huge world wide revival. I guess I need to say- let it begin with me!

  12. Beautiful words. Such inspiration to start a new week with!

  13. Love this...thank you.

  14. Wow, here you are talking to ME again :)

  15. AMEN! That was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your transparency!

  16. amen and amen! thank you for my morning inspiration :)

  17. Really, sometimes I wish you'd just leave my heart alone for just five seconds, and then you go and stir it up again.

    It does seem so much easier to lean in when the living seems less stretchy.



  18. Ohio is a good place to be. However, I feel the exact same when I head home to Indiana. We are backwards, you and I.

  19. This was a timely read for me. I had conversations yesterday about much of what you wrote here.

  20. Isn't it amazing to now realize that after all this time...

    You could have actually been HIGH on Rock N Roll?

    You are too funny & your honesty is always lovely!

    I had a few "A Ha!" or "Jigga What?" moments of my own on Sunday.

    One moment was during Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Gary Zukav.

    Your dad has such a kind face & hearing about all of the kids wanting to be with "pawpaw" made my heart smile. :-)

  21. Another beautiful, inspiring post once again! Thank you for your honestly, I can totally relate...blessings on you this Monday!


  23. Saved by Grace! That is all. I love the thought that even our faith or the sincerity of our faith is not what saves us. Only Jesus.

    We are all in a burning building which is sin. Below is a net to save is which is Jesus. We need to leap to the net to be saved...the leap is our faith. But only Jesus saves.

    It took me a while to wrap my mind around this concept. I grew up trying to earn and do...all we have to do is "be" I LOVE the way you share how God is working in your life. Your heart is showing and Jesus shines through!

  24. You know our story of adopting Joy. I was talking to my husband about it recently, trying to remember what it was really like. He said something that was so true - I didn't always feel God's peace, but I was so aware of God's push. You are amazing at capturing the mess and beauty of responding to a call that doesn't make sense yet. I think too often this gets presented so neatly that it's easy to feel like anything less than a perfect plan w/perfect calm must not be from God. THANK YOU for being so real about your journey.

  25. Thank you for sharing, Shannon. We're faced with a decision, that although a small one, will rock our world. We have an opportunity to be His light and share His love. It's a tough decision as saying "yes" will change our daily habits and life as we know it. We're scared. But, I just prayed asking God to give me some direction. Then I read your post. Darn you blogosphere! ;) Your words were the encouragement and voice I needed today!

  26. You seriously have no idea have your words resonate with this heart of mine. Seriously! I'm leanin' on in with ya, girl.

  27. Shannon, I've been reading your blog for months and never even said Hello to you. Don't know why. Lord knows, I've laughed out loud and cried some too and been inspired and motivated and I love your amazing way with words...but tonight, when I saw the photo of your Dad...I wanted to drive to Ohio (from NC!) and meet him. (and maybe even have a ride in the cart around the farm!) Beautiful photo. Beautiful Life. Thanks for letting us be a part. Love, Darlene

  28. i have missed coming here.
    what is the matter with me???
    you have such a beautiful way with words.
    this post makes me want to go spend some time with my God. thanks.
    I'm going to go do that....right now.


  29. i LOVE the double helix, and the questions we would never ask out loud. those are what keep me engaged in it all.

    barbie f.

  30. maybe my favorite sentence ever (so hard to choose!),
    "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."

    and Calvin has his mommy's photog. skills for sure!

    xox, jenny