October 14, 2011

Spend Yourself {Day 13} :: Be brave

When He met those men on the road and called them to a new way of living, He simply said "Come."

They all struggled and had loose ends to tie up, people to connect with, explanations to give. But He said, "Don't worry about all that ... this is bigger."  They had to count the cost.

And we don't know if they followed. 

We do know the rich man walked away sad. Thought he had lived just right ... but didn't really want to lose his life.

Jesus said, "If you lose your life, you'll find it."

And when He said to "come," He didn't give them a timeline or reveal the whole picture. That may have been easier. But this following was all about trust and it was entirely up to them to go or stay.

Because sometimes this faith-life requires us to take a deep breath and just ... go. At some point, this is the only way. When I finally said "yes" to a new way of living, I knew there were some things that were going to get left behind. Becasue these 'some things' weren't going to mix well ... and I had to count the cost too. And it's not that I was afraid of lightening strikes. I just didn't want to miss it: the joy ... the full life.

I had already said "thank you." But there was more. It was time to live out the thanks.

And sometimes living out the thanks is elusive and vague. Sometimes we just have to "do the next thing." And every time I sensed I had a decision to make, I wrestled and I hypothesized and I worried. What if? What then? What now? But I also knew I was already lacking, somehow. So I just kept moving forward ... toward more hopeful and toward more full.

I didn't know how to tell my two best friends I wouldn't be living with them anymore, after three years of memory making and awe-inspiring dance parties. I wrote them a letter and it didn't go well and I wasn't rejecting them. I just needed some room to respond to this question, "Will you follow?"

I missed them and I moved in with seven strangers, friends from the beginning who hadn't seen the inside of a fraternity house. I was awkward and lonely and felt six shades of unworthy. But He met me there.

Then I broke up with the boy I wanted to marry and I was heartsick and the two of us were a little lost and pathetic. People looked at us with heads cocked to the side, faces scrunched up asking, "But why in the world? You two are supposed to be together..."

But we knew.

And when we hugged and drove away that summer, we had different destinations but the same goal. Learn, grow, breathe. We went and we saw the full life and we drank it in like cool water in July heat.

Our perspective grew a little wider and our roots went a little deeper. We shed some conflicted, tired skin and we inhaled air that was a little cleaner. We laughed wild and loved well and we learned how to serve. We called strangers friends ... then we called them family.

We wrote letters back and forth about what we were learning and we dared to dream a little ... about what could be. When we both went under the water that summer, we hadn't told each other our plans. And in the same lake, an hour apart, big hands pulled us up and out all sopping wet.

We heard words we wouldn't forget. Words we didn't take lightly:

"You have been raised to walk in a newness of life." 

And afterwards, that boy I missed drove the hour to find me and he knocked on my door. In an old Branson building full of southern, twenty-somethings, he looked me in the face and said, "Let's do this again. And this time, let's not do it our way." And so we started. all. over.

Because sometimes we have to surrender before we can gain. And we have to let go of the old before we can find the new.

And He asks this tough question daily... the asking to follow doesn't stop, not on this side of living. And some days, some years, are harder than others. But He is trustworthy. And He doesn't ask us to follow if He isn't already there.

And if you're not feeling so brave for the following? That's perfect.

Surrender that fear ... and gain some God-sized courage.