LIVING THROUGH THE FOG

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I don’t own much, as a single 25-year-old with roommates, but I’m currently downsizing.  I’m currently in the process of cutting out the excess. And this involves a lot of cleaning.

Yet this isn’t normal cleaning. It’s not ‘pick up this and that, vacuum, and do some laundry’ cleaning. It’s honestly less like cleaning, and more like abandoning the useless. This is the ‘pull out the old, find the discarded, get everything you own in front of you, this may take weeks’ type of cleaning. And in this cleaning, the mess just seems to accumulate. The floors become covered, the junk becomes scattered, and, yet, through it all, progress is made.

It’s a funny thing how a deep clean first leads to a deep mess. How a real cleaning must start with making a real mess, and getting everything you’ve been hiding out in front of you. It seems counterproductive, yet it’s necessary. It is the first step. It is a part of life.

As we go forth in this life, and we try to clean our lives up and simplify; as we try to find clarity, we first run into messes and fog. The key, I believe, is seeing these moments as necessary – as the first step towards progress.

Our mess. Our confusion. Our chaos.

It all must be experienced. Without living through the mess and confusion, we feel no relief when the fog lifts, and the road ahead can be seen as straight and smooth.

Without the mess, we won’t know what to do when the fog lowers once again, and confusion sets in. Yet because we have lived, and our lives have already had moments of clutter and fog, we will come out of the other end stronger each time. Wiser each time. Because with each bout of fog and chaos comes a bout with clarity, where we can feel the sun on our faces. And each time, that same sun feels warmer, and looks brighter, and that same fog seems lighter the next.

Through the fog comes the sun.

Through the chaos comes the calm.

And what a worthwhile fog it is.

What a worthwhile chaos it becomes.

 

-a pitiful masterpiece

THE WORSHIP FOUND IN THE PROCESS

ImageAs a worship leader, I’ve had many different internal experiences while leading worship. I’ve had nights where I feel like I failed afterwards, and nights where I’m on the verge of tears because of the love I felt in the room, pouring out to God. And I’ve reflected on all of this. I’ve reflected on what happened during the day when I have a bad worship experience, as well as a good, and I’ve recognized something that, like worship itself, is bigger than singing. I have found that whenever I’m able to lead a worship session – whether it’s with 100 people or ten people, the worship is always easier when I’ve been living truthfully that day. It’s always easier when I’m living as a human, rather than trying to live as God himself. It’s always easier when I’ve spent the day worshiping God for continually renewing me and refining me, and it’s always more difficult on days spent focused on being a ‘good Christian.’

 I think as Christians, far too often we worry so much about being seen as good people that we forget to live like actual good people, and instead end up living a life focused on ourselves, and worried about where our evil desires are going to lead us next. This is an ironic problem to have, because when we worry about looking like a ‘good Christian,’ we end up worrying about ourselves. And being a Christian is the exact opposite of that. Being a Christian is living a life where you are never focused on yourself, and always thinking about everyone else. When we have to think about being a “good Christian,” we usually end up being a bad one, because we end up living a life focused on the person Christ has transformed us from rather than the person Christ has transformed us into. We end up living a life where we’re so aware of ourselves, and how many times we’ve failed to be good, and how many temptations the devil is putting in front of us each moment, that we ignore the world around us, and the good people in it. We fail to recognize that these people around us every day are people who are equally as good as us, and equally as loved as us, and there is a God who longs to rescue them just as He rescued us. We fail to recognize that Christ lives in us and through us, and in turn we fail to take confidence in this fact. Instead, we live as if the devil has control of us, and we have to constantly look out for the next sin he’ll force us into.

Let me ask you this: Have you ever worried about sinning when you’re thinking about someone other than yourself? I’m not talking about when you’re thinking about what someone else can give you. I mean actually, truly thinking about them with God’s interests in mind. Have you ever sinned while taking a genuine interest in other people?

Have you ever sinned when you’ve thought about not sinning?

What are you doing to keep realizing you are already someone Christ has made good?

One of the best prayers we can pray is to ask God to continually refine us and match our mind with His, because as we pray this, we can take confidence that God is doing it. We can begin to live outwardly instead of live focused on the turmoil within, because we can take confidence in the fact that God has done what He has said He’s done: made us a new creation.

Pray for constant oneness with God. Pray for His mind, and as you grow more and more in Him, you may find you also grow more and more interested in others, and less worried about yourself and your next failure. And as we take the notice off of our own imperfections and brokenness, we may find ourselves more able to help people in theirs.