Just Like Riding a Bike

 

And the risk of falling never stops existing, you just get to a point where you realizefalling and dying aren’t the same thing.

This is the truth. It started as something polished, even pretty. I originally wrote this like an FAQ. It was like Mom and Dad wrapping a bike, and underneath all the pretty paper, you can still see it’s a bike. Like why bother wrapping it?

Exactly.

The more see-you-laters, the more bye-for-now’s that I have? Oh boy, is this scary. Much like the first time we took the training wheels off my own bike (I was like 8, it was sad, I was THAT uncoordinated), and I scraped up my ribcage. And swore I’d never ride again, through yells and sobs and a fair amount of drama.

Once I got over the gashes (scrapes), that bike was the catalyst for adventure and imagination, for freedom. I remember riding around my neighborhood, popping in on family member unannounced, or into the woods, cruising down the hill towards the lake and seeing how quick I could stop.

Exactly.

These preparations for Norway feel like scrapes on my ribcage right now. They aren’t debilitating but boy, do they make themselves known. But all they are is a reminder of a Thing I still haven’t conquered. A Thing whose gashes prove I’m at least giving it a solid try without training wheels. A Thing that exists, and is real, and is waiting for me.

See, I love this. I love traveling, and culture, and different people, and my people so freaking much. I get a little itchy if I’m in one place for too long. I’m so, so excited.

I’m so, so, so scared.

I’m learning quick that the doing of the thing, doesn’t make the thing any less scary. I’m still scared, I’m just- LOOK, DAD, I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT!

Nothing changed, I just started moving. And panicking. But mostly moving. Like that weird sense of terror that happens just after the adrenaline wears off and you become self-aware?

That is my emotional state right now.

When I got on a bike again this past year (literally, no metaphor), I was in Sweden, and was not entirely sure I knew what I was doing. I was 99.9% sure I would fall off (in front of my team) and look like a fool (I talked in my sleep, it was too late for that one). And with that in my mind, I got on. And it hurt (at first), but after that? I wanted to go everywhere on it. It’s not to say I didn’t fall (I made sure I was alone), and that my thighs weren’t hateful of me (I DIDN’T KNOW THESE MUSCLES EXISTED), but I was ten again. It restored something. I remembered something:

I like doing hard things.

It feels too easy if I’m not really scared. I have no satisfaction unless I’m 85% sure I CAN’T DO THIS.

But God never changed his mind no matter how many times I said I can’t do it. God hasn’t changed his mind on me yet, on this adventure yet, and I’m me, so I’m in shock.

But I trust him, a lot. Sometimes I don’t think I should, because I use my eyes. But when I use my brain, and when I exercise my faith, not just my anxiety, I usually make the right choice.

I move to a new country (temporarily, but still for a while) in a week.

And I’m really scared.

But God isn’t. I think he’s standing there like my dad was, waiting for me to do the Next Brave Thing, to just get on the bike, learn how it balances, see how it rides, how to hold myself.

I might even fall off a few times. I might throw the bike back, tell him I hate it.

And he’ll chuckle, pick it back up, because we both know I’m gonna get back on.

And like my real bike, once balance kicks in, and I learn, and I fall a little less. And the risk of falling never stops existing, you just get to a point where you realize
falling and dying aren’t the same thing. If you aren’t falling, you aren’t going anywhere.

This whole thing?

It’s just like riding a bike.

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Deconstruction/Meditation- Part 1

This is a piece I felt God really laying on my heart over the last few days. Look for part 2 later this week. Thanks for reading.

Our father in Heaven

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is, in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our debts

As we have forgiven our debtors

And deliver us not into temptation

but deliver us from the evil one

Yours is the kingdom,

The power

The glory

Forever.

     Our father, in heaven.

Just linger for a minute on the sweetness of this. In this one passage, we address him as king, as provider, as deliverer. But I often quickly skip THAT word. Father. Dad. Abba. Doesn’t that shorten the distance? Doesn’t this one passage illustrate the complexity, the paradox almost? Jesus teaches us to pray and he opens with our father. That cuts knife-sharp through the distance I try to place. Lord feels distant and hollow sometimes, even though it’s true. There’s never a day where talking to God as my father is a thing that creates distance. When I begin to solely refer to him as Lord, I miss him as father. When I miss him as father, I miss the love, intimacy and provision he has for me. I miss the relationship.

    Hallowed be your name.

I looked up hallowed. To honor as holy. As this prayer is spoken, as it’s prayed, this is what we are asking: Father, honor your your name as holy. John Piper says this in relation to this passage: “One is that prayer does not move God to do things he is disinclined to do. He has every intention to cause his name to be hallowed.” God has every intention of honoring his name as holy. So the question to me, to us, is this: do we? God has every intention and even by the location in this passage teaches me that this is a priority to the heart of God, that the honor of his name is prioritized. His name is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of God, His name is His reputation. It is who He is. Am I, do we give honor to who he is? To be holy, is to be the highest of everything good, in a league all his own. If he is loving, than he loves the most. If he is gracious, than he is the most gracious. If he has power, than he has all of the power. If he shows mercy, than he shows more mercy than anyone ever. Is this the name whose honor I prioritize?

     Your kingdom come.

I have a note in my that says “implies an absence”. All you have to do is watch your chosen news network for two minutes to agree. I came back from Europe with this thought that I had never been more cynical or more hopeful about this world. I had just come from seeing the nasty underbelly, not all of the dark this world has to offer, more like a map that it existed in reality. I couldn’t see the depths of it, but I could point to it’s location, describe the territory a little. But I also saw relentless ambassadors of His kingdom. In every seedy neighborhood, there were people who stood like storm-drenched pillars. Refusing to give in to the darkness, they stand out like landmarks in my mind. When I am praying your kingdom come, I think of them. I’ve started coupling it with “send me”. The kingdom of God is arriving piece by piece, the more we become like Jesus. The more we establish an air of his name, his mercy, his grace, his compassion, we prepare the way. We become ambassadors.

     Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

When we describe our own will, we talk it in terms of the things we want, the ability to will something into existence. I spend a lot of time talking to God about my will. My emotions, the things I want to exist, the things I see. It’s a concentrated exercise to ask God the same. It’s asking God how he sees it. It’s asking him where he is moving, it’s asking how he sees. What do you want here, God? What would you will into existence if you had complete complicity right now? This is our consent to see the dreams and wants of God come true on this earth.

     Give us this day our daily bread.

Give us exactly what we need. A few things stick out to me. Give us this day our daily bread. The community of God’s people is implied. It’s not “God, give me what I need”. It’s “God, give us what we need”. And it’s not for the ten years ahead or even tomorrow. This is a place I fail miserably most days. I can trust him for my abstract future, but not for my everyday needs. Instead, I try to cobble it together and it never works. This whole thing only works when this becomes my prayer. There’s an assurance, too. Remember our father? If he is our father (he is), and he is good (he is), than provider is something he’s entirely capable of. In every season, in every situation.

A Life, Half Alive

I’m done putting my hope in a king less than Jesus, or a kingdom smaller or more temporal than his. It will always be hope deferred, and in the meantime, his kingdom is coming and I just can’t bear to do anything but chase it. There is no place I’d rather be, no king (or kingdom) I’d rather lay my life down for.

      Seek first the kingdom of God. As I start to figure out life post- DTS, this is what he’s given me. As I ask God how to pray, what to ask. This is what he gives me.
Seek ME first

     I try to come up with a way to describe what he’s done. What I think he’s doing next. Why I’m doing what I’m doing. Pre-DTS, the God I was familiar with was a God I even hesitated to lay the simplest rights down for. I could have not easily have said I would give it all away for the God I knew then. I was giving it all away hoping to get something in return from anything I could, but I could never quite let go. I couldn’t hold on to the God I knew, but I could never fully let go all together. I couldn’t fully do anything. When there isn’t anything you do fully, passion and purpose are hard things to come by. A life, half alive, is hard to lay down. You can never keep it together long enough to.
I do what I do now because I have finally found a king worth laying my life down for over and over and over again. A king worth every daily, painful, joyous, wild, mundane obedience. We don’t do it because it’s our only option. Plenty of men lay down their lives for “kings” that didn’t deserve it. Kings disguised as dictators, kings disguised as protectors, as satisfiers. Kings wrapped in our own self sufficiency. But after all the kings we’ve entertained, he’s the only choice.
Kings that I have given all of me to be left with nothing are not worth the price I pay to keep them. That is not a king worth living or dying for.
It’s Israel crying out for a king. And God says, “He’ll take your kids for war.” He’ll take the things I’ve given you as gifts, to fund things I never intended to happen. And that’s a good king. A bad one will take what I’ve given you on behalf of selfish ambitions. And here’s a broken hearted God, his people have chosen a king other than him. A king who may earn earthly allegiance, and may be worth the physical life. A really good king might be worth that kind of allegiance.

Very few kings are worth the relentless surrender that our God’s splendor demands. And you’ve gotta hear God’s heart here. I want you. I want your heart, not just your sacrifice. I want your heart. I want your obedience because I have your heart. A king that wins my heart, a king of sacrifice and humility. A king who never forces, whose intentions are always good, whose mercies seem to stretch beyond all human logic.

I’ve never met an earthly king like that. I’ve never given my heart to an earthly master who owned those attributes.

I’m done putting my hope in a king less than Jesus, or a kingdom smaller or more temporal than his. It will always be hope deferred, and in the meantime, his kingdom is coming and I just can’t bear to do anything but chase it. There is no place I’d rather be, no king (or kingdom) I’d rather lay my life down for.

Haven’t and Don’t

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It started with a conversation with my friend John. We were talking about something, about old habits, and about new habits. He asked me a question, and here was my answer:

“But I don’t really do that.”

And his response:

“No, you haven’t done that. Do you hear the difference?”

And I did.And I think that’s what God has shown me here.

There’s a big difference between small words.

Don’t is restrictive. It’s definitive. It draws a line, it builds a wall, creates a boundary.

Haven’t is so full of possibility. Haven’t means I could. Haven’t is a word that pioneers.

I would rather tell you of all the the things I haven’t done then all the things I don’t do.

I haven’t gone skydiving, but that doesn’t mean I don’t. I don’t know what I don’t do yet.

And that’s the point. That’s the umbrella of what God has shown me on outreach.

You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what you don’t do.

“I don’t do street evangelism.”

“But look, you just did it.”

“But I don’t- oh wait.”

And that’s just one of many examples. It’s like the best curse I could possibly have. As soon as the word “don’t” exits my mouth, I’m doing it.

I’m over categorizing myself. Really. Because what is even the point? God has proven my “don’t’s” wrong over and over again. He calls me to the way of “haven’t”, to a new, wide open way.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19

So here’s to exploring that spacious place. Let’s discover all of the places God has for us in the haven’t place.

 

 

And So We Worship

You Don't Have ToComeBut

See, WordPress says that the optimum time for my blog is 11pm on a Sunday. My body says 2am. I leave in just 2 sleeps, as my mom might say. At 9 o’clock Chicago time, we take off towards the Atlantic, 11 hours later we land in Istanbul.

And it begins.

We got back from the conference of last week around 2 o’clock Saturday morning. I’m running off of about 8 hours for the next 2 days.

Because right now we worship.

You see, we leave in 2 days. We, as a school, as a family, need $21,000 or so by Tuesday.

So right now we worship.

Because is that what it is to be children of the King of Kings?

We worship for what we don’t yet have in our hands. Because faith is a matter of when, not if.

Because of what he says, we wait with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. We know it’s coming, we know it’s coming soon, we don’t know what, we don’t know how.

But dang it, it’s coming.

We are not the groom waiting on bended knee for his bride to say yes, with the ever present chance she might say no. Seconds feel like hours and with every second passing, you question all the love ever shown.

Maybe I’m getting my metaphors all mixed up, it’s 2:16am here in Wisconsin after all. But guess what? In this metaphor?

The answer is yes. Always, always, always yes. I never have to question His love. There is only a pause of anticipation, never the bated breath of doubt.

And so we worship.

We started at 10. We’re going to 8am. We are the night watch, and we’re worshipping til the sun comes up. We worship our warrior king who not only came out swinging, he came out winning.

You make a table for me in the presence of my enemies…

What you intended for harm… 

That’s what those look like.

It looks like singing with your friends at 2am because Jesus shows up then, too. Because we once did other things at 2am, and praise Jesus, we are here.  And so is HE. 

And so we worship.

 

 

 

Looks Like Love

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“I won’t run, when it looks like love,

I won’t hide behind the fear of how my past has come undone

I won’t run, when it looks like love,

I won’t spend another night alone, regretting what I’ve done.”

Looks Like Love-Needtobreathe

Right now, it’s nearly 2am here in Madison, I haven’t written a post in 3 months, and I’m raw and exhausted. We leave for a conference tomorrow at 7am, and we leave for outreach in exactly 10 (9!) days.

God is teaching me things here on this classroom floor at 2am.

This is the spot (not exactly, but pretty dang close) that has been my teaching grounds since January 10th. The girl that walked in this building didn’t have a clue what vulnerability looked like, inexperienced in risking myself on, well, anything.

Love involves risks. Lots of them. Sometimes its joyful. Sometimes it rebukes. Sometimes you don’t get all the answers you wanted.

It’s always Jesus.

I always took the verse about perfect love casting out fear as almost platitude, someone slapping a Band-Aid over bullet-wound, crippling anxiety.

Until I got a taste of that perfect love.

But God, what if I don’t know what next looks like?

But God, what if I never know why?

But God, I don’t see where you are in this…

I love you.

And right now, that’s enough. And it’s safe. My heart is safe in the questions. In the “I just don’t knows”. Does it still hurt sometimes? Oh my goodness, yes.

Still love you.

Now, if it’s a platitude, it’s straight from the mouth of Jesus. And that brings it to life (so it’s a no to that whole platitude thing). A current favorite around here is called Pieces, whether it’s in the shower or doing chores, I always seem to hear it 16 times a day. It’s alright. God knows I need it right now.

It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good

That’s the perfect love that I can trust. When I am in deep pain. When I am so full of joy, I can’t keep it in. Even if none of the problems ever get solved, even if I never know why. Even in goodbye.

Still love you.

I engage. So I love full and big and wide. So I ask for God’s heart even when it feels like too much to carry. I am never alone, and I am never unsafe, and I am so, so weak, and so, so strong. It’s all an enigma I haven’t figured out how to carry yet.

But I’m learning. And He asks, are you hands still open?

Yeah, God. Yeah, they are.

Kahli.

Sunday Mornings.

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Did you know this morning that Our God is all of these things? Did you know that the God who has painted these sunsets goes before you? He is ever present, he is good. He gives good, good gifts. He is for us. He is all of these things all the time.

I know well, as does most everyone, that sorrow exists. Sorrow is all encompassing. We are in a place where sorrow taints everything. Sin taints everything.

God is a god of joy. Or he wants to be. Will you let him?

He wants to know you in the smallest detail. Don’t ignore those big loves that God has put in your heart. I’ve learned this week, that God can lay you flat at 7:30 and radically change everything it is that you thought and expected. And He can join you singing Disney songs in the kitchen with new friends. Dance parties. Laughing. Macaroni and cheese pizza. Midnight McDonald’s runs. Good coffee.

I forget that God made laughter, too. I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much. God made us for community and love and relationship. God made us to create with him. He made these stunningly beautiful flat plains with sunsets that just can’t even be done justice with pictures. He made the trees.

He heals us.

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.”

Psalm 96:1