I guess I’m feeling a little feisty this morning. And since I sometimes have anxiety that what I’m trying to say will be misunderstood, I will be tempted to use too many words in this post. But here goes …
In a recent conversation with my middlest, I was reminded that grace is often lived out in an upside-down way. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts of mine, the part of following Christ that creates constant mind-boggling thoughts is the continual discovery of paradox. It would take a great deal of space to write down all the verses that speak of some sort of paradox. You know the ones … to live you die, to be lifted up you get low, to be happy you mourn. And then the one that gets so much debate is that ever-present teaching of being filled with grace AND truth. (Oh yeah, there is that little subject of whether He chose us or we chose Him, but not going there today).
Paradox. What seems down is actually up. Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life … TO THE FULL.” But to have this life to the full, we must actually empty our lives of self. Our grace friend Paul reminds us of what it looks like for a Christ follower to live as Christ. It’s that down I’m talking about. Out goal is to “have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself …. [and we are] to know Him, to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings, and to be like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
This doesn’t appear to be an upside of following Jesus. Share in sufferings?
So my possible controversial thought is this: Becoming a disciple of Jesus means recognizing life will be full but may not be fun.
Yep, that’s what I’ve concluded (as of today). Because as I think about my life, most days are just not fun. Honestly they aren’t. Reality for me means working at my computer, cleaning house, washing clothes and dishes, preparing meals, spraying lots of air freshener everywhere all the time … Well you don’t need to hear the rest. You’ve got the picture.
Typically, life is made up of the mundane. Therefore, if I’m to experience overflowing abundant life, I must find a way to see that life is full, even when it’s not fun.
There are certainly fun moments in my life. And I believe that God is pleased with times of retreat, vacation, game nights, picnics and building snowmen. But from what I can tell, the Christian life is supposed to be spent thinking about and preparing for … forever. In the midst of fun, we can glorify God. The bible tells us to do so. And yet, if I’m not intentional, I will ease into recreational living more than inspirational living. My thought process goes like this: I need a vacation. Oh, for a warm day in a beach chair doing nothing. Do I have to be a wife and parent today? Do I have to go grocery shopping again?
These are human desires. I get that. But if I surround myself with voices that encourage me to make more time for ME, I can assure you those voices will win. Because the truth is that I like me. And having fun is more fun than not having fun. But this I have discovered. A fun life does not equal a full life. Hey, I know lots of people having lots of fun. Yet they are so very empty. And even though I plan to always make time for fun, if I get caught up in making a fun life more than a full life, I am always going to be left desiring more. It won’t ever be enough.
So my prayer today is something like this: LORD, You created me. You know my desires and longings. You know what I need the most. There is a time to play. And You allow us time to enjoy the pleasures in this life. But let me find my greatest joy and peace and hope in YOU. When I spend too much time longing for play, then I end up spending too much time desiring more toys. And life goes sideways. Give me grace to long for and thirst after You. I want to remember and rehearse that living is found in dying. And receiving is found in giving. And blessing is found in sacrifice.
Thank You LORD, for such great grace. I’m breathing it in today. And I’m breathing out Your praise.