Summertime

Summer
There’s something about summer.

In the midst of sweltering heat and ACs, longer days and the search for fun, He always finds me. The constancy is funny. From the time I was a tween to now in my twenties, He always comes.

I’m not sure why it happens in the summer. When I was in school, summer was the time for youth conferences. Now that I’m years past school, summer is the time for adventure and a break from the ordinary. Maybe it’s not summer so much but rather that break from the ordinary, that letting go of routine so that He finally has my attention.

Laying upon my bed, the cool night blowing through my window, His words blow upon my heart again:

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness (abundance), and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. 

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” (New King James Version, Psalm 63:1-8)

The message I get loud and clear? Never let your youthful zeal die. Always love the Lord as passionately as you did that summer, dancing for hours in the mountains at summer camp. Your love will grow and mature, as it should. But always remember when He was all you wanted, when your heart burst for Him, when you stayed up all night talking about Him, when you spent all day worshipping Him. Always remember so that it’s always true:

“O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works!” (New King James Version, Psalm 71:17)

Flourish

I have loved money.

There, I said it. I know the love of money is a root of all evil. And yet, I have loved, nurtured, coddled, and caressed money.

I put my deep affection for money under the heading of “I don’t love money; I love what it can do”. I DO have big dreams of being wealthy and funding worthwhile projects and causes all over the world, but, if I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit that my heart is not 100% in the right place- yet.

The soul and spirit are a tricky pair. They are thick as thieves (that might not be the best simile to use!). My mind convinces me that my intentions are good, that my heart is pure. Thank God for His Word. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it divides between soul and spirit and tells it like it really is (Hebrews 4:12). There’s no fooling God.

And God’s not trying to fool me. He’s not trying to be mean by commanding me to keep my heart clear of all greed and lust. He’s trying to protect me. He knows that

“…the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs.” (Amplified Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10)

Acute mental pangs. That doesn’t sound like much fun. But how many times have I experienced this very thing due to my craving for money? More times than I’d like to recall.

God isn’t after trapping me in pseudo simplicity, or locking me in debasing asceticism, either. Instead, He’s after giving me true freedom, true wealth- from the inside out.

“Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.” (New Living Translation, Proverbs 11:28)

He wants me to be like that flourishing tree,

“…planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (New King James Version, Psalm 1:3)

By the river, bearing fruit, blooming, prospering. That’s what He wants for me. That- and a right heart. Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Flourish

Look

Look

As a twenty-something, the last ten years have been filled with a great pressure to figure out where I’m going in life. Confusion, uncertainty, and indecision have been constant companions. Or rather constant tormentors.

I’m sure you can all relate. There’s a feeling deep inside that assures you, persuades you that you are meant to accomplish something great. While road tripping through miles and mile of wheat fields in the Plains, watching a favorite epic on the big screen, or hearing that piece of music that always gets you, you are convinced again and again that you are meant for something special. Glory and zeal fill your heart. You write in your journal and dream big dreams. You’re chomping at the bit to bust these starting gates.

And then- despair.

You have no idea which race you’re supposed to run.

You give up in defeat, telling yourself you must have missed your cue. You wait for the next inspiration, the next “revelation” of what it is you’re supposed to do.

And so goes this cycle, again and again. Never really falling behind but never really getting ahead. The pure definition of frustration.

As someone who was at this stuck place for years and years, my heart aches to help you. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t know it all. But I do know what has brought freedom and rest to my striving heart.

Look at Him.

We make it so complicated. But God is simple. He says,

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Ps. 32:8

To know our way, we can’t be looking up, down, all around. We can’t be captivated by our own desires or the confusion and fear we feel. There’s only one place we will find direction.

In the gaze of His eyes.

We can’t see where we’re going if we’re looking everywhere else. We have to look at Him.

So today, dear friends, remember His eyes. Take time to make “eye contact” with Him, letting the gaze of your soul fall upon His gaze. And He will indeed guide you with His eye.

Thoughts on Passion: Part One

Thoughts on Passion

I never set out to be passionate about passion.

Passion doesn’t exactly fit into the tidy box of “hobbies”. When new friends ask over cups of chai what I like to do, saying “study passion” doesn’t elicit many exclamations of “Oh, me, too!” (Though I get even funnier looks when I say “practice solitude and silence”.)

As for writing on the subject, who would want to read piece after piece on passion? Surely the topic must be too ethereal and unrealistic.

But the weight and relevance of true passion kept playing in my mind- a weighty, as earthy as dirt and sweat kind of passion. Not the passion of philosophers, theorizing in lofty enclave. Not the passion of eros, filling beds and sheets. Not the passion of ambitious hungry souls, grasping for an aim in life.

The passion of which I speak is real passion, battle tried and battle triumphant by those who live it every day. This passion was not created for discussion and debate; it was not created for panting bodies or panting ambitions. This passion was created for souls, trapped in human-body-containers, walking the face of this earth. Longing for so much more. Longing for home- knowing there is, there must be, more.

This passion is about God. The Originator of it all. He is passion- fire hot and filled with wonder. To start anywhere else is lunacy.