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Posts Tagged ‘change’

This post is part of the April Synchroblog. In honor of Easter, this month’s topic is living the resurrection. Links to fellow bloggers will appear at the end of this post.

As Christians, we wonder how to live out the resurrection. We would love it if Jesus being raised from the dead meant that we would always be in a place of green fertility, newness, and wholeness. But that is just birth, not rebirth. I believe that living the resurrection means embracing the entire cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

We enjoy spring, when things are beautiful and we see life everywhere. Perhaps this is when our faith is new and fresh. Maybe it’s when we first fall in love with someone, or it’s a ministry we’ve begun that we are passionate about, or it’s a new job that we feel like we were born to do. But these experiences will mature and change; it’s as certain as death and taxes, to paraphrase Ben Franklin. Living the resurrection during spring means holding our experiences with a light touch as they change, grow, and emerge, and not grasping at the first excitement as the ultimate fulfillment of our vision.

In summer, our passions are no longer new, but they are thriving. I guess we feel and see God working during this season. We can tell people about the things that God is doing within us and around us. As the season goes on, we go blueberry picking, and we suffer some itchy chigger bites from crawling in the bushes, but it’s worth it because we get to eat and share yummy blueberry pie. Living the resurrection here means persevering through the battle scars and both enjoying and sharing the “fruit” that is showing up. But, again, it means knowing that the fruit won’t last forever.

While we are still harvesting, leaves start to change, and we start to see signs that death is coming. Death comes differently for us all the time. Sometimes we don’t see it coming; we are blindsided by a loss of health or being “downsized” from our job. Other times it creeps up on us slowly, like, for me, realizing that it was time to leave Bahrain after 11 years. Then death is upon us.Through faith, we grieve, while remembering that “blessed are those who mourn.” (Matt. 5:4) With one hand we let go of what we have lost, and with the other hand we hold on to the knowledge that there is no resurrection without death.

Then, rest. Watch. Wait. Nothing external is happening. We see no evidence of God’s work in our lives. We have lost what we thought he had given us. Undertaking the spiritual equivalent of “rebound dating” will not be fruitful. Resurrection is not something we make happen. It is something we wait for. For a whole season. It’s quiet. The only things happening are so far under the surface that sometimes we don’t believe anything is occurring. When we live in resurrection, we let it be quiet during the winter. We wait as changes beyond our control take place beyond the reach of our vision.

But the resurrection does come. At last. After a long winter, we start to see new things growing. Perhaps this should be the most obvious season of resurrection, but in some ways it is the most deceptive. Our caterpillar died, and we may be looking for him to be raised as a fresh new caterpillar. But instead he emerges as a butterfly. The seed that was buried does not push out of the ground as a seed; all the potential that was hidden inside that seed is what peeks out of the ground. Living the resurrection is holding open our expectations, because the new incarnation of God’s dreams for us won’t look like what we imagined.

Rather than being a place, or an outward manifestation that we live in, resurrection is something that we carry in our hearts through all the seasons. It enables us to be present with each season without holding tightly onto any of them.

In this metaphorical year of my life, where I have said good-bye to so much of who I was and what I expected of God by leaving Bahrain, I feel that I am nearing the end of winter. I’m starting to see hints that life is showing up again. I still don’t know what that will look like, so I want to keep my eyes open to see beyond my expectations.

Would you share what season you are in and how you are living the resurrection in that season?

Check out the other great posts for this month’s synchroblog:

Phil Wyman at Square No More –  Apocalyptic fervor spurs benevolent giving

Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms – Getting Out From Behind The Rock

Mike Victorino at  Simply A Night Owl – Crawling Out From Under A Rock

John Paul Todd at E4Unity – Still Asleep In the Light

Patrick Oden at Ravens – A Resurrection

Brambonius at Brambonius’ blog in english – hiding the Resurrection life like a candle under a bucket?

George Elerick at The Love Revolution – (for)getting the resurrection

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus

Jeff Goins at Jeff Goins Writer – Resurrection

Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved – Rock and a Hard Place

Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – little miracles

Alan Knox at the assembling of the church – Living The Resurrected Life

Christine Sine at Godspace – Palm Sunday Is Coming But What Does It Mean

Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity – Living The Resurrection

Steve Hayes at Khanya – Descent into Hell and penal substitution

Bill Sahlman at Creative Reflections – Do We Live Under a Rock of Belief?

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Has your body ever told you a story about yourself? Mine has, but I am not often paying attention.

Sometimes my body tells me stories I don’t like. For example, I had really l-o-n-g labors when giving birth to my two kids. I did not enjoy that. But my experience with childbirth gave me a tangible example of  the slow and gradual manner with which I approach change and transition in my life. I did not notice this about myself for a long time. When I did begin to notice it, I often felt frustrated and judgmental that I am like that. However, seeing my internal characteristics reflected physically, through childbirth, helped me to accept this part of my personality and learn to work with myself more graciously and effectively.   

This month my body has had a story for me also. Even though I want to lose weight and to get back in shape, I have been unsuccessful at establishing an enduring exercise routine.  Yoga is one of the few forms of exercise that I truly enjoy these days. Even though I do enjoy it, and I feel great both during and after practicing, I consistently lose my motivation and momentum and stop after only a few weeks at a time. I come back to it again and again, but never enough at a time to really establish a habit or effect a change in my body.

Reflecting on my physical status, I decided that I was really ready to pursue changing my lifestyle. I decided to start by participating in Marianne Elliott’s 30 Days of Yoga. Marianne is an amazing person and one of my “ordinary heroes,” so you can expect to hear more about her in the future, but for now, I’ll just introduce her as the creator of a month-long virtual yoga program. You can read more about it here.

My intention for this thirty days had to do with integration. My body is in the shape that it is in partly because I am more willing to care for the inside of me than the outside. However, it turns out that my body is attached to me and that it doesn’t work so well to let it fend for itself. So I wanted to use this yoga practice to integrate nourishing my soul with caring for my body. I felt that approaching practice as self-care rather than as corporal punishment would help me move toward that intention.

My interaction with my body has taken me on quite the wild ride this month. I actually sat staring dumbfounded at the computer last night as a quote from C.S. Lewis caused one of the integral pieces of the picture to fall into place for me. I will be posting about this journey in a little series here over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!

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