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Navigating Change

I think that by nature, humans tend towards that which is familiar whether we fully realize it or not.  That's not all bad, except when it comes to making necessary or significant life changes.  The familiar can be the very thing that holds us back if we allow it to.

I think a lot about this because I'm always interested in change dynamics, but also because we ourselves have been in a season of change and transition.

One of my favorite passages in scripture comes from Genesis 13:17.  The story is that of the Isrealites leaving Egypt, their long term place of captivity and oppression, in destination for a better life and place that God had for them so that his purposes could be more fully lived out in and through them.

"It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn't lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, "If the people encounter war, they'll change their minds and go back to Egypt."

So here they are:  the Isrealites have just been freed from Egypt, the very thing they've longed for and desired  and yet God sees that even though this is the very thing they've cried out for for years, their natural tendency, especially faced with difficulty,  would be to turn right back to where they began even though that's not what they really would want.  God intervenes and leads them on a path, while not the shortest and most direct, but a path that would enable them to walk into the promises that God had set before them. God enabled and empowered them to come into their destiny.

This encourages me.  As much as I might like to think I'm not bound to the familiar, I do believe there is an aspect of human nature that gravitates towards familiarity especially when trying to navigate through change. Change can be difficult.  Yet, when God calls us out and moves us out, we have to be able to become free from that which we've  known to move more fully into our destiny.  Fortunately, we serve a God who is bigger than our human tendencies and if we listen and follow, he will lead us along the right path- maybe not the shortest- that will eventually bring us into all that He has for us.

You Can't Be What You Can't See

As they say, "Seeing is believing" but  the reverse is true as well, "Believing is Seeing".  We will never become someone, or do something,  that we first can't see or imagine being or doing.  Sometimes I hear people say, about their success or achievement, "I never could have imagined that I would be here!".  Perhaps, but somewhere along the way the path that led to "here" became clear one step at a time in that person's imagination, or their mind's eye. They began to imagine and see the next step and believed that it could be achieved.  That's why I think that one of the most important things we can go after in life is seeing the possibilities...  imagining what could be, what should be.

I recently heard a true story told of a Palestinian Christian, an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Muslim deciding to get to know one another.  Over the course of meeting for 2 years and learning to appreciate each other in a new way, they began to dream and imagine what it would look like for the three of them to live peacefully together.  As a result, they are starting an intentional community with one another so that others around them can see that it is possible for people who have historically been at enmity with one another to live together peacefully.  Right now, no one in the region can "see" it because it's not been done before.  As the three men peacefully live alongside one another, those around them begin to see the possibilities and imagine a new reality for the first time.

Today, may we each go after seeing the greatest possibilities that lie before us, believing that its possible and in time seeing a new reality.

"If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it." 
 Rev. Jesse Jackson


An Extraordinary Life

"Why be regular when you can be extraordinary?"   I saw this quote in a magazine last week and it got me thinking.  I always like quotes that challenge me to dream bigger, live life large and to go beyond the ordinary.  But what got me thinking is, "What does that really mean, to live extraordinary?  What does that look like for my life?"

Whenever I'm trying to wrestle big ideas to the ground, I have to start with right now.  So, I began to think, "What does it look like for me today to live an extraordinary life?"  After alot of processing, this is what I came up with (spoiler:  its pretty basic):

An extraordinary life is most likely lived out fully immersed in God's story.  There is no greater epic narrative than  that of God bringing about the restoration of all of creation.  I have a part in that, a missional impulse within me, that is key to this epic Biblical narrative.  Today I will have opportunities to engage that.

Secondly, an extraordinary life is found in living out my unique, God given identity and purpose.  Everyone's part in the Bibilical narrative will look different depending on who God has made that person to be.  Tapping into the essence of who I am every day and living that out wholeheartedly is an important (and not easy) part of living an extraordinary life.

Society would tell us that living an extraordinary life means being the best and brightest, making the most money, achieving the most fame and recognition.  I would say that chasing those goals is living a pretty regular life.  But to be extraordinary is to wholeheartedly and authentically live out my unique design and purpose on this earth within the context of God's story.   Today that is my goal.

Movement

We just got back from a week at the beach.  One of the things I love most about the beach is that there's so much movement... waves rolling onto the shore, the clouds overhead drifting by, the sand shifting in the wind, seagulls diving into the water for food... if you've been to the beach you know what I'm talking about.

I believe human beings are drawn to things that move.  Movement speaks to something deep in my soul that I think we all long for.  Movement reminds me that we're on a journey, that our lives are not meant to be stagnant and inanimate.  Movement is meant to be part of life.

When God was leading the Isrealites out of captivity, he led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  When the pillar moved, they moved.  When God called Abraham, he told him to move out of the place he was and move towards somewhere that God would show him.  Jesus himself moved from place to place.  These examples all speak of physical movement, but the physical is often an incarnation of spiritual realities.  God is always on the move bringing about the restoration of his creation.  One of the biggest moves of all times was the move that Jesus made from being with the Father in heaven to being a human on the earth.  Ultimately this move was about the restoration of a broken, sinful humanity to God.  Movement is the catalyst for change, and growth and new beginnings; God's purposes coming alive in and through us.

Without movement, there would literally be stagnation and death.  This is true in the physical sense and this is true in the spiritual sense.  Movement is necessary to life at every level.

God is on the move today. Knowing this fills me with hope because God doesn't move alone.  He invites me, he invites you, to move with him as He fulfills his purposes on the Earth.