October 21, 2011

Spend Yourself {Day 20} :: Live your story

We all want to encounter God. We were made for this interchange, this collision of human and divine. The created intermingling with the Creator.

When I was in high school, I sat in the popular girl's basement with my closest friends, watching college kids act crazy and I listened as they told about Jesus. I remember the tall, good-looking leader and I can still hear him reading, "What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

I don't know how many times I heard about that God-shaped-vacuum in my heart that could only be filled by Him.  And in my teenage neuroses, I thought I knew a lot ... about this God.

And when I heard the college kids tell their stories, I wanted to have a story to tell.
Because that's who we are. All of us. We want a story too.

And too often I want a story that isn't mine. I think I see a "really good life" and I think I want in. I forget what I have and I want what wasn't purposed for me.

I forget that we all have our own stories and we have our own lives. They are happening now and all around and He is in them. Can you see Him?

Jesus, who calms the storms and turns water into wine, is at work right now and He is all about your life. It looks different than mine and mine looks different than hers but He is all over them both. He is really, really big that way. And he is really, really personal.

I had some friends once and they were friends of the road. We spent time together at camp and then across the state lines, doing the same work. Then we moved and our lives didn't intersect again. Years later, I heard of them through channels and their lives had changed. They had mourned and they had buried a child and I hadn't known. I read their story and I was awestruck. Moved. Changed.

Because I had a young child too and my mama-fear had skyrocketed and I worried too much and what if-ed, cried in a counselor's office about feeling crazy.  I fell asleep reciting this every. single. night. Couldn't bear the thought of losing her and couldn't keep my mind from going to crazy places. 

Then their story ... and I watched this over and over again and my anxiety didn't worsen. Strangely, it was relieved. All I can say is that their beautiful journey of grief and grace changed me.

Jesus all over their lives changed me...

And after all of their loss and all of my fear, I wanted to know God the way they knew Him. I envied their faith.

He whispered soft and direct ... "Could you walk their storm? This story has cost them greatly."

And I realized that He had written something different for my life. He was accomplishing great things through them, in their sadness and in their courage, and it wasn't for me. But it was ...

Do you hear what I'm saying, friend? You have a story.

And when you let Him move all over it, encounter Him in it, your life will be a vessel of blessing. Others will see you, read your story all over the walls of your living and. be. changed. 

Who is this man that calls to the wind and the waves? He is God who came down to make himself known and He encountered every one He met in a beautiful and profoundly personal way. The God of the universe and the God of our tiny, fleeting lives.

So live your story, friend, and live it well. Let the God who made you be written all over every page. Get freed up from wanting to live like them. That isn't for you. But this life you are living, it matters.

And I need to see you walking with a personal God on the days when I feel all mixed-up and left out. I need reminding that He is still at work. And you help me see Him. And I will repay the favor when you are feeling mixed-up too ...

And to you, friend, if you find yourself walking out a hard chapter just now? Be encouraged. He is in your midst. Oh, don't miss Him ... especially not now. This is an encounter with a holy God.

It is yours alone. And it is for us all.  

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