Friday, August 20, 2010

“LOST" Life Lessons

from my Journal -- May 25th 2010

What is LIFE really all about? The answer often gets LOST in our busyness.

This question has been on my heart due to my brain being immersed in finishing reading David Platt’s new book RADICAL, finishing watching the series finale of 2 of my current favorite TV shows that are ending after many years on TV, LOST and 24, the proposed Staff Restructure(and then not)in the church I currently work in, and the fact that today is Jenny and I’s 14th year Wedding Anniversary. The LOST series finale in particular, similar to the ending of the final book of the NARNIA series, really got me thinking about the importance of the people in our lives. These relationships at the conclusion of this show outweighed the “hidden meanings” of all the things they had been through. Also, the character that finally opens a door for the reunited friends to enter into together forever outside of a church is aptly named ‘Christian Shepherd’.

Simply put, through the lens of prayer and the filter of one specific passage of Scripture(LUKE 11:13), the Lord stilled me with the reality that I have found myself living for accomplishing “to do lists” instead of loving Him and others.
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

We all struggle with this mentality of practical busyness but especially in our American culture. There is this unspoken pressure of getting to the next thing or that you must be pursuing what is ‘out there’, a type of ‘other than’ life. This mentality quite often leaves the people in your life in the dust.
So, recently I found myself driving home from work being at complete peace in this truth. Simultaneously, I found myself confessing to the Lord that I realized in my life over the past few years I have sinned greatly according to this principle. The one thing He waits to give us that we need the most, namely Himself(Holy Spirit), is what is usually pursued last.
LUKE 11:13 revealed for me that I had been loving another besides Him and the people in my life by pursuing an elusive ‘other than’ life. Whoa, right?

The ‘other than‘ that I realized I have loved is the pursuit of WHAT I DO with my life and What I GET from life.

For at least 3 years, Jenny and I, family members, and other friends have had had serious conversations together as to WHAT I should be doing with my life OTHER THAN being a Student Pastor and how to prepare for that time. I have taken the GRE and have researched working on a doctorate. I have applied to teach at junior colleges in hopes to get experience teaching college students, so that someday out there, along with earning a Doctorate, I could be a university or seminary teacher. And perhaps, somewhere along the way, fulfill another dream to write a book or two.
The steps taken toward being a professional college teacher have failed several ways so far. The beginning of the long process for writing a book may come to light this Fall, but it may not. Even if it does not, what will I “do” then? Does that mean all else in my life is for naught?

Jesus promises us Himself. To be loved by Him and we in turn grow in love for Him as we walk with Him. And always, that journey He gracefully calls us into, will equally revolve around a journey with other people. He wants us to let ourselves be loved by and to learn to love. The point then is the Journey, not the places along the way, the destination, or our career paths.

Francis Chan puts it this way in his book, Forgotten God, “...we forget that we were never promised a twenty-year plan of action; instead, God promises multiple times in Scripture never to leave us or forsake us. God wants us to listen to his Spirit on a daily basis, and even throughout the day, as difficult and stretching moments arise, and in the midst of the mundane...
Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us. He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true life...” (pgs 120/122)

Additionally, Oswald Chambers explained about this struggle between focusing on the Journey or a destination, by saying:
“God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith. But if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and allow God to make your choice for you. This is the discipline God uses to transform the natural into the spiritual through obedience to His voice...
Many of us do not continue to grow spiritually because we prefer to choose on the basis of our rights, instead of relying on God to make the choice for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eyes focused on God. And God says to us, as He did to Abram, ‘. . . walk before Me. . .’( Genesis 17:1 )"
“...We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.”

from My Utmost For His Highest MAY 25th & JULY 28th

So, what I have had ingrained into my heart over the past day and a half is the simple but life changing truth that we all desperately need to get LOST in living out:

Life is not about WHAT we Do OR What we Get.
Life is about WHO we let Love us and WHO WE Love in return--that is all we can take with us when this life ends.
Most importantly, the WHO is found in allowing Jesus Himself to love us and we in return growing in love for Him. We must then daily give ourselves to Him and His leading in the midst of all our frail human relationships being loved by others and loving them in return(1 JOHN 4:7-12).

“And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is LOVE” 1 Corinthians 13:13
See (Lost season 6 final scene - Ending video)

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