Tonight I'm writing on an empty stomach. There's a banana keeping a handful of spices company in my cabinet. I think I have a bag of carrots somewhere in our fridge I bought a couple of weeks back (?). Heading to the grocery store less than 2 miles away is Plan B, right behind playing up the dramatic and eating a dark chocolate bar for dinner instead. I'm going with Plan A.
My current food inventory count is an accurate reflection of my life the past month and a half. I've spent one weekend of that time in Nashville, the rest filled with thousands of miles on the road as well as up in the air. From planned events to spontaneous weekend trips, it's been a whirlwind of thought-out preparation and last minute decisions. About one hour ago I pulled into our driveway after a long drive back to Nashville from Chicago, our gravel walkway crunching loudly below my heavy feet. This is my lately.
And alongside the tiresome symptoms of travel has come a whole lot of good and restoration in this heart of mine, the most recent example through the completion of a book called "Love-ology" by John Mark Comer. One of my favorite quotes from his book:
As followers of Jesus-- male and female-- we are called to live by faith. That means we can risk. We live in a world where the tomb is empty and anything is possible.
The gospel gives us the freedom to fail. Because we are loved. No matter what happens. Whether we succeed or not. Whether the business venture works out or not. Whether we get into that school or settle for second best. Whether she says yes or he doesn't return your call. It doesn't matter. Our self-worth doesn't come from any of it. Which means we are free to risk, to fail, and to get back up and try again. It's okay.
Love is a chase. A dance between a man and a woman. And it starts when a man says, "Come away" and the woman replies, "Let us hurry..."
The book is obviously referencing romantic relationship towards the end of that passage, but in a big picture way, is truly referencing the dynamic between God and His people. He is pursuing us every single moment of the day, and all we have to do is respond. This is what taking risks can be-- a response.
We live in a world where the tomb is empty and anything is possible.
Whenever I start to feel anxious about an outcome, I think about this sentence. Do you currently live as if, without a doubt, the tomb is empty and you're free? Can you imagine what it might look like if you did?
For myself, 2017 has been all but easy. I won't try to cover that statement with positivity or cliches. Events in my life the past six months have attempted to close me off, to ward off anything resembling risk. The seed was planted with a rocky transition back to Nashville followed by the passing of a college friend in February. Since then, walking through the stages of mourning with my best friend, Tessa, has been incredibly difficult. This year has revealed unexpected disappointment. A handful of relationships have revealed areas of my life I need to address, to grow in. It's not easy to find more work to do when you've been living as if you're all set.
I want more than anything to be the one who heals every disappointment, every heartache. I'm a helper, through and through, many times with the motivation for my own satisfaction! I doubt I would have been able to pinpoint this personal trait without experiencing waves of uncertainty and confusion the past 6 months.
And the most frustrating yet beautiful fact is I can't and won't ever be the one to heal. I have to surrender this desire to be the healer and honor a God who, despite all the events this year, has in turn provided me beautiful moments of redemption and renewal.
I was given a second chance to come back to Nashville.
I was given the opportunity to reflect His love to a friend in mourning.
I was given the gift of a strong Christian community both near and far.
I was given the opportunity to speak Truth into repressed fear.
I was given the choice to believe I am worthy apart from circumstance.
Now that I'll be sleeping in my own bed on a more consistent basis, I set a note on my nightstand with words, "Safe? He's not safe. But he's good." This is a line from C.S. Lewis' Narnia series when Mr. Beaver is describing Aslan. I'm learning God is not primarily concerned with our safety; God is primarily concerned with our transformation to shed our old selves and continually become who He has designed us to be. Choosing to risk is one way to honor this transformation!
I hope I'll look back on this post in a year with a handful of risks in the books. I'm requesting prayers for encouragement, trust, and faith as I move into the coming months. If there are specific areas of prayer needed on your end, please send me a message!
Sending love from Nashville!
pictured above: My childhood friend, Kelsey, and I at her bachelorette soirée in Chicago!