Friday, 5 March 2010

called living

And yet, within our ordinary lives, we hold an extraordinary treasure. We have become part of God’s life, God’s story, God’s work in the world. This weight of glory cannot be taken lightly. We each have a role to play, as individuals and as a community. We are part of a new kingdom, under the lordship of Christ, and we are to pray and work for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.

We have each been given gifts with which to fulfill our roles. The trick is knowing what they are and how God wants us to use them. There is no self-help book or personality test that can fully reveal your role in the kingdom. This understanding comes through prayer, contemplation, practice and community. This understanding comes through the supernatural wisdom of the Spirit, wisdom which works itself out day to day as we listen to His voice.

Sometimes we can get caught up in “calling anxiety.” (Guilty as charged.) We wonder what our purpose is, whether we’re fulfilling it, whether we’re doing enough. We compare ourselves to our role models, our peers, constantly measuring ourselves by an artificial standard. We define ourselves by all kinds of standards of “success,” often garnered uncritically from pop-culture, or even pop-Christian culture. We may be losing the discipline of spiritual discernment, especially in the context of a Christian community. And so we worry and wonder, burning spiritual and emotional energy, feeling lost and ineffective.

The answer is less an answer than a process. We must be willing to enter an ongoing conversation with ourselves and the Spirit. We must be willing to take an honest look at the gifts, abilities and inclinations God has given us – including our limitations. When we submit ourselves to the Spirit, we open ourselves up to His limitless creativity. He is the one that fits our roles to our circumstances, that opens doors to new possibilities, that inspires us with new ideas. And we do not work alone. God places us in particular communities where He fits us to accomplish more together, where He gives a common vision. We must learn to listen to His voice together. What is the Spirit saying to you? What is the Spirit saying to the church?

There is no need to worry. Listen, trust, obey. It’s going to look different for everybody.

The fun thing about this is that there are no set rules. Our passions are as varied as our personalities, and God loves to ignite them with his purposes. God is a limitless being, and the possibilities are endless.

So we set out to work in the Father’s kingdom, with the Spirit alongside, living out our Lord’s prayer. It is only in this Trinitarian dynamic that we live fully.


believe in life

I have a feeling motherhood will produce an ontological change in me.

There are certain things I must believe going into this.

I have to believe in the project of life, in its goodness, its purpose, before I can be entrusted to shape one.
I have to believe that the little acts of love and care matter as much as the grandiose academic and ministerial achievements of my peers.
I have to believe that somehow being part of God's creative and nurturing process is a worthy calling in and of itself, because God loves to create life, loves to love the ones He creates, longs to embrace them and thereby transform them into loving, creative, joyful, thankful marvelous individuals.
I have to believe that I can either invite or reject God's kingdom, Christ's lordship, in my own home and relationships, in the way we raise our children.
I have to believe God loves me as much when I'm changing diapers as when I'm preparing Bible studies, and that diapers are as much his agent of transformation as theological debates.
I have to believe the way we live matters, even when that way seems tedious, or monotonous, or tiring.
I have to believe God is active in the sphere of housework, cooking, playing, talking.
I have to believe he is a present at our table, as at the altar, upon my hearth and in my garden, in observing the days and seasons.
I have to believe life is a gift worth celebrating in small ways through small joys, worth living simply because it is from God, worth living well because it is being renewed in a glorious image.
I have to believe the Spirit speaks and directs me as a mother as much as any minister, that His breath blows in my own backyard.
I have to believe in life.

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