Monday, April 28, 2008

to Journey

It's funny, how things sneak up on you. I cried last night - for the first time in a little while. It's not that I've been avoiding it; I just haven't stopped to really think through some of the things I've been feeling.

There are old fears that surfaced. I thought them long since banished, and instead I find them strong still. Fears from what has happened in the past. Fears from some of my experiences in 2006. Fears that I think ultimately unfounded.

It's funny how little it takes to stir things up in a us. A few events, a few missteps by myself and by others, and suddenly I find myself in a place that I thought I'd long since left.

So here I am, naked before the world, vulnerable, ashamed and unashamed all at once - that I can be so deeply afraid of loss, that I can be so deeply conscious of how fragile our relationships can be, that I can be so lacking in trust that all is in the hands of my God and King.

It's funny: I pride myself on being open with people, vulnerable. But there's two problems there: first that I pride myself on any such thing, that I would boast in anything but Christ alone. Second, that it's simply not true. Maybe I do better at it that some - but this isn't a zero-sum game, and it's not based on comparisons.

Jaimie sat with me and listened as I poured out my insecurities, weaknesses, and fears last night in a cloud-burst of emotion that surprised us both.

And it was the first time - in our nearly three months of dating and seven months of being friends that I had ever been so deeply vulnerable with her. I had opened up before, let her see certain things - but they were obvious pains, not these deep hidden pains.

It scared me, a little.

I thought myself past that.

I find now that I still have so far to grow.

I delight in this even as I am saddened by the ways in which my heart closes off.

For there is much joy and much gain to be had in the journey itself, not merely in the destination. As Jaimie and I spoke last night of this summer ahead, part of me wished it already to be over - and then I caught myself, for truth be told, though that part is there, the majority of me is looking forward greatly to the journey and the adventure of being apart 3 months. There is a vast unknown quality and unknowability to the months ahead, and a certainty of trial and difficulty, for we shall see each other litle and will be required to strive much to move forward. And to whither are we moving? I know not for certain, though hopes and dreams press deeply on me: for it is to God's will and not my dreams that I surrender, to His plans that I cleave, rather than my own fallible and tenuous vision of the path ahead.

Understand: I use this as metaphor for all else at the moment.

I am learning to live in the now though my temptation is to have my mind ever on the future. In friendships, in communicating with my family, in ministry, in everything, it is easy for me to look to the future for my joy and satisfaction: but calls me to live now. Today. This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it! And we must ever be redeeming the time - all of the time - for the days in which we walk are evil.

I have struggled of late to write - to put to pen the thoughts flighting so quickly through my mind. I know not why.

I have had the time, and the energy, but not the inspiration. My bursts have been few and far between.

Perhaps it is no more than discipline: for no task is always pleasant, and in nothing do we have ever-flowing ideas; in all these things we press on. Not, as I nearly wrote, until the pleasanter days of full inspiration come again, but rather rejoicing even in the dull moments, fixing our eyes perhaps especially then on Christ our King. Faith is proven not in our response to the grand moments of life but in our response to the quiet steady attempts of this broken fallen world to erode our hopes and - more and worse - to erode our Hope in Him.

And so: I write on.

And so: I study on.

And so: I dream on.

And so: I press on - that I may hold of that for which Christ has also laid hold of me.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting the things that lie behind and reaching forward to the things that are ahead, I press on to the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!

The road ahead is uncertain. My vision is murky.

And the glorious part?

It matters not at all: for I need not see the road ahead. I need only see the road beneath my feet and trust to our faithful Creator while doing good.

Let God be glorified in me; may His name be great in my life.


- Chris


  1. :)

    You are doing well, Chris.

    Sometimes, I think the great struggle of young adulthood is that there is the struggle. There's something in us that seems to say that when we reach a certain 'age of maturity' that the struggle will change, lessen perhaps.

    I found that true for myself, and I so vividly remember. And I've found it true for many others who have tread this path since I.

    It's not that we totally believe there will be no struggle ... just that, perhaps, we will be different and therefore the struggle different?

    Perhaps this is why children and youth find it so patronizing when adults say, "I *know*" ... because we cannot believe an 'adult' can REALLY know. Yet if truth be told, we know because, though we have aged in many ways, in many others the struggle is still the same.

    And when we sit back and think upon it, we must laugh a little ... how else would the scripture hold such strong Truth that transcends age or beauty or ... or ... time?

    We are to come to Him with the faith of a child. As we age, there is more opportunity to bury the faith of a child under layers of 'maturity.' Yet, it is in our weakness He is made strong, not in our strength. It is in our awe and wonder that He is revealed, not in our own profound knowledge.

    Your fears, your struggles, your inadequacies, your ineptitudes, they are deep flowing rivers that must be tamed ... and yet, we are unable to tame them; we have not the strength; nor will we ever have the strength or ability or knowledge or wisdom.

    It is only through coming to Christ with the faith of a child, totally and completely believing that when He picks us up and when He kisses us and when He cuddles us, that He really and trully will/is/will continue to ... make everything 'all better.'

    Because ... He can.

    And because He knows ... it is in the struggle . . . . .

  2. I'm proud of you for the maturity you have developed; the maturity with which you are approaching the upcoming summer, as well as the feelings of struggle that you are dealing with.

    You wrote: There are old fears that surfaced. I thought them long since banished, and instead I find them strong still. Fears from what has happened in the past. Fears from some of my experiences in 2006. Fears that I think ultimately unfounded.

    That is from an emotional scar of life.

    An interesting thing about a scar is that it is the remainder of a wound suffered. Scars come from wounds that are deeper than the superficial scrapes and cuts. The immediate wound will heal, but a scar will remain. We tend to forget about the wound because, after a while, it doesn't cause us immediate discomfort any longer.
    ** I'm considering the physical scars I have on me as I write this. Now I look and remember that there was hurt that accompanied the scars. **
    And in interesting comparison, sometimes a movement or a jarring of a scarred area can bring back a physical pain (e.g. Frodo stabbed with the Nasgul (sp?) sword).

    You are doing well. Continue on your journey seeking to give glory to our King. Fix your eyes on Him and He will keep you in His perfect peace. He heals our wounds. He allows the scars to remain as a reminder of the things He has brought us through and healed us from. Allow Christ to heal the wound re-revealed.

    Peace and blessings!

    Love you and miss you.
    -- Papa


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