Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Confident Uncertainty

I am becoming more and more
comfortable with uncertainty.
For so many years, I wanted to know
just how everything was going to work out.
And so I adhered to certain “formulas"
to make sure nothing went wrong.

Then life started happening in ways
that I didn’t expect that it would.
I was grounded in the fact that
if I did X, I would get Y.
So when Y didn’t happen, I began
questioning everything that was X.
Unmet expectations mess up the way we see.

Expectations are often based on formulas:
I do this and that happens. 
But the Bible isn’t a book about formulas;
it is a book about Love.
Love God and love your neighbor.
Let mercy triumph over judgment.
Clothe yourselves with compassion, 
kindness, gentleness and humility.

When we focus on doing X so that
we get Y, we can also believe that 
people not doing X will never get Y.
We can begin to believe there is only a 
particular way of doing certain things.
So we get judgmental. Superior.
We forget about Love.

Others' decisions are going to look different  
from the ones we make. They’re supposed to.
We do the best we can and trust that God
is good even if we, or they, get it wrong.
If love and mercy and care and
compassion and gentleness guide us,
then we can accept all the challenges 
confronting us in life, all the differences 
we encounter, and all the uncertainty
we face every single day.
It’s called faith in the goodness of God
and trust that He works all things
together for good.

It’s not a formula, but it works every time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Broken Open

“After breaking open the jar, 
she poured it out…" 

So much in life—loss, rejection, failure—
can leave us feeling broken.
It can take a while to realize it’s not about
being broken; it’s about being broken open.

We spend a lot of our lives self-contained.
We give what we must, but mostly we are
holding on to what we have to survive.
With responsibility and commitments, 
we can feel like we have nothing left to give.

I think that's normal in our earlier years.
But over time, the trials of life begin to
deconstruct the container.
Things aren't working like they once did,
and maybe not much looks like we thought.

Mostly, our hearts hurt and we wonder
what happened and what went wrong.
Until we see that nothing is really wrong;
we are just seeing that things are 
much bigger than we thought they were.

The larger perspective that we're
beginning to see is one which can hold
everything together by love and mercy
and grace and compassion. And we are
the containers for those precious oils,
needed desperately by everyone who breathes.
It’s paradoxical that the precious jar 
is most useful when broken open.
It has taken many years to blend 
together the oils that the jar contains.
They are indeed expensive.
When we begin to see their value,
though, we care less about the cost.

People don’t care so much  
about what we hold dearly,
they care about what we give freely.
They may not care about our opinions and
really don't care about our political views. 
But there aren’t many who don’t want
our love, compassion, grace, and mercy.
We can pour those out all day long.

It’s what broken open vessels do best.