Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm back. I think.

It's been a while...

Last month was busy. This one is no less so, but is so in different ways, I suppose (as is often the case). This semester is no less busy than the last, either - probably more so.

I've been thinking, off and on, about all that God has been teaching me - how to communicate it. Honestly, I've been at something of a loss. I'm learning much. But it's hard to even qualitatively describe, much less to quantify in such a way as to be communicable with words. They're, for lack of a better way of describing it, great sweeping vistas that are slowly opening before me, incommunicable as of yet because not yet fully understood.

Being a girl's boyfriend is an entirely different thing, in some sense, from being a girl's friend. There are many things that are the same... but there are things that are uniquely different, peculiar to this different stage of relationship. It is as though I am simultaneously made aware of my role as a man and of my utter inability to measure up in that role. I am not capable of leading this woman rightly. I am not able to do this perfectly. (Before any of you jump out, I know that perfection is not attainable in the here and now - but that does not mean I desire any less to do perfectly by Jaimie in this relationship.)

I know that I will hurt her at some point. That breaks my heart. I long not to hurt her. I long to be a "perfect" boyfriend - to get everything right, always be kind and gentle and caring and attentive and wise. But I will not... And so I thank God for the grace He so freely gives us, even as I pray that my mistakes will be few and far between. I pray that He will take even the places where I do fail and use them for His glory and our good.

There is a sense of responsibility that is deeper, more profound than I have experienced before. I imagine it must be merely a pale shadow of the responsibility that a man feels (if he is in any way in tune with God and the demands God places on men) for his wife. That thought (rightfully) intimidates me a bit - in a way that encourages me to press on in my faith.

But my relationship with Jaimie is far from the only area in which I am changing and growing.

I continue to be passionate about the gospel, about this campus, about my hall and my friends and my colleagues. I long to see God move here. I see opportunities for God to move on this campus and I yearn to see others leap at them as much as I do. I want to see myself leap at them as much as I ought to. I want to see a people broken for Christ - utterly surrendered to His will. That passion is slowly deepening, solidifying. Vision is slowly emerging. I have not merely abstractions but the shadows of plans - and that is a good thing, the answer to prayers.

Jeremiah is an interesting book. It is a book of contrasts - indeed, a book of ironies. It is profoundly literary. I was struck most by a passage in Jeremiah 3 where God asks the rhetorical, "Will I redeem such a people as this?" In context, the expected answer is clearly "no," but what is striking is that His actual answer is "yes." He is a God who delights in saving people, rescuing them, saving them - even when they do not deserve it.

This, combined with my ongoing fascination with the God of glory presented throughout all Scripture, combined with my sense of urgency about the gospel, combined with my incredible awe at the fact that we are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation... I am awed, humbled, encouraged to press on in prayer and in vision-casting and in doing. I am emboldened in all these things to continue in the work that God has set before me.

I have been slowly pondering what to do over the next year here at OU - what direction to take in terms of ministry: how to place myself most strategically, how to be most effective, how to make the most impact, how to prepare for the time after college most effectively. I have been considering where God would lead me after college, and my ideas are shifting, changing, far from solid. I have several thoughts, all of which are thoroughly appealing at some level: grad school, seminary, work... I do not know where God is leading. I know that, as of this moment, my inclination is to finish undergrad, get a decent job and pay off what little debt I have and save somewhat so as to be in good shape to go wherever God leads, and then possibly go to seminary for training and equipping for the works God has for me. I do not, however, know if that is what God has for me, and His plans are infinitely better than mine. (I have made the mistake of not asking God His plans for me before, and it's a mistake I hope not to repeat!)

And in all of this, coming somewhat full circle, I am encouraged by Jaimie. It is not only responsibility and weight that our relationship brings - but also much joy, much encouragement, much delight. She encourages me to press on. She reminds me that I am not alone. She helps me to understand that God does use me, and often in ways I do not - sometimes cannot - see. And this is good. It helps me to press on. It gives me hope, and I have desperately needed it. It can be hard, sometimes, to press on, when one does not see the fruit of one's labor (and sometimes even when one does).

But then, that is faith: to walk on, assured of what one hopes will be accomplished and with the conviction of all that one does not see coming to pass.

So I am learning faith. But that does not say the half of it. And in all this, I have not said the half of it. As I said, it is yet beyond me to even understand fully, much less communicate.

But, that said... I'm back.

- Chris


  1. You may not feel like you're fully able to communicate all the things as you would like to, but you certainly are still verbose in attempting to do so. :P

    It is probably best that you don't feel like you're able to be all that you would need to be for a young lady. If you did, you would probably be a bit self-deluded. After nearly 23 years of being married, I still don't feel like I am anywhere near being all the man and leader that I should be for your mother. But I keep trying.

    Love you!

  2. Chris ... no one, NO ONE, wants a "perfect" boyfriend or husband or girlfriend or wife. NO ONE. If you're always perfect, where does that leave her? Then her imperfections become emblazoned in the sun, radiating for all the world to see! That stinks! No one can life up to perfection, especially when perfection is dwelling within such close proximity.

    Though you desire perfection, rejoice in your IMperfection. It is in this place that she will love you ... not where you're perfect, where you don't need her, where your very presence is always indicting.

    Relax into who you are, and allow her to relax into who you are, too. That is not the same as being complacent. It is accepting the man God created in the womb of your mother, born into sin, and yet, even still, so very deeply loved.


    And ditto your dad. I wonder that we're not to be married for life because it takes a lifetime to figure it all out!

    Yes, there is the place of moving forward and pressing on toward the goal. But there is also the place of taking a good look in the mirror, and smiling.

    And, just to be cantankerous ... who wants to be with someone who is never satisfied with themself? Always trying to be so perfect? Then one would have to wonder each time they are with that person who, exactly, that person is *today*!

    Okay, yeah, I'm being cantankerous. But I just wanted to give you a woman's pov. We do NOT want a perfect man. We want an imperfect man who is teachable and moldable in the hands of Almighty God. Let yourself be who you are ... so she can come to love you ... EXACTLY AS YOU ARE ... not as who you hope and wish to be. If she wanted a man who is as you hope and wish to be, she wouldn't be with you.


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