I considered writing about my wish to offer some magic bullet encouragement. About wishing that I could assure you that everything is going to be alright, and that if your prayers are fervent enough, you’ve lived sufficiently righteously, etc., essentially held your breath long enough, bearing your burdens in silence, then everything would be okay. Someone else might offer you that platitude, and perhaps there was a time in my life when I wished for the faith to make that so, but here is what I know.
Some things will never be okay; God is still God.
Of integrity, Brene Brown writes,
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I dare not question the faith of those for whom the mountains move, and neither do I desire their way. I am not they. We waste so much of our time chasing the versions of our lives we’ve been programmed to desire.
We call it socialization.
We call it indoctrination.
We call it catechism.
I Call it Hubris.
How dare we, even for one moment, presume to understand God’s Will for our lives? What if we learned to still our mouths, our minds and our bodies, in order to listen to The God that Always Knows?
I have learned to stay low, shields raised high, ready for assault. Not because I am wise, but because I have been knocked down enough to appreciate a shorter, softer fall.
“If I needed to shift gears into, rather than living in warrior pose, I’d waste valuable time. Having been raised with warrior faith, having learned to persevere in my armor, I live primed, ready for the trumpet sound.”
This is Faith?
For years, I resented Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:11-12 NIV) wherein he describes contentment.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
First I thought Paul was a masochist. Then I believed him to be mad. Now, having lived, learned, and experienced God, I understand. He is a man actively living his faith.
My faith, like Paul’s, is defined by my grit. I could wish it were not so, but I have made my peace. I practice my faith, rather than merely professing it. There is a soothing beauty when I dance to the song God wrote for me.
Listen. I find joy, even when called to warfare.
So, at all times, and in all things, I try staying low, watchful. Modern psalmist William McDowell sings my life,
Falling on my knees, I bow down.
Some things I can’t see, until I bow.
I can see clearly now, here on my knees.
I am a very serious person, so I laugh a lot. I write because it helps me understand the way I feel about the world. I married my high school sweetheart, and together we made two exceptional people and raised a dog so remarkable, I wrote a book about the faith lessons he taught me. I envision a world where each of us embraces the Perfect, Precise Image of God that we are, naturally, at every given moment, even as each of us exists in a liminal state.