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

SNAKES, CLIFFS, AND BEARS: THE UNCERTAIN TERROR OF FOLLOWING CHRIST

The fear of Christianity is a peculiar thing.

Lately I’ve been in an incredible state of recognition – recognizing the odd nature of God’s requests in my life. I’ve recognized that, quite obviously, He has continuously, without fail, called me to do the things that have always terrified me. My original goal was to tithe regularly. Now I’m asking people to support me so I can help college students realize the potential in Christ which I took so long to realize myself.

If you haven’t experienced it, asking people for financial support is a terrifying endeavor.

Yet God has changed me through the years.

The things I once feared are now the things I couldn’t imagine being torn away from. The things I once vowed never to do in my life (i.e. preach) are now the things I see in my future. The things I always wanted to do, and had planned as my stability in life (i.e. architecture) has become an afterthought, and frightening in its own right.

So maybe God will call me to do that eventually. Once it becomes a more terrifying thought.

I guess the point is, God has completely changed my motivations. Architecture, in my life, represents the path on the safe side of the river – the path towards self-glory. It represents the path towards worldly success and recognition. It represents the path I chose for myself when I was seven years old.

Yet God has brought me to the other side of the river. And it is terrifyingly wonderful.

Ministry, and serving the world for the sake of the Gospel and Christ’s love which must be felt by everyone on this rotating sphere we inhabit, is the path of complete self-denial – the path full of snakes, and 100 foot drops, limited visibility, and bears. What’s more terrifying than bears, right? Yet it is the path towards the greater reward. It is the path of unexpectedness. It is the path that keeps me wondering what will come next. It is the path with an always moving and adapting storyline. It isn’t the path of least resistance, but it is the path of most interest.

It is the path that seeks to expose my potential. And that can only be found by fighting off a bear in the fog every once in a while.

Looking back, it’s kind of funny that I just used a bear analogy. In high school, whenever me and my friends would go camping, I was known as a sort of bear whisperer. I’d make up stories of times where a bear would come up to me, and instead of attacking me, I’d just talk to it like it was a human. I’d just talk to it as if we’d been friends for years, asking him about how his family was and that sort of thing.manbear1

Of course this was just for laughs. I’ve never come across an actual bear, despite living in Wyoming, and I’ve certainly never had a friendly chat with one. Yet in my current stage of life, and the stages yet to come, I must respond to the bears along the path in the same manner as I joked in high school. I must treat them as old friends, pushing me to embrace that which terrifies me. Because if there’s one thing God has taught me other than that He is full of grace and love, it is that the sooner we embrace the terrifying task He has put before us, the sooner we will see the good that comes from it. The sooner we talk to the bear as an old friend, the sooner we won’t be able to imagine our lives without that bear.

What is the bear standing in your path that you must face? Have you embraced the fear and confronted it as an old friend? Or have you decided to avoid it and cut back across to your old path from before Christ changed your course?

If you’ve cut back across, there’s good news: His path is always just across the river. All you need is a bridge – and God has provided us with a carpenter.