When it comes to creativity or art we settle. We settle for predictable. We try to eliminate the mess. And in doing so we cheat ourselves of the experience of the mysterious.
The mysterious is often unpredictable. It is messy. But, it takes us outside of ourselves and can give us a glimpse into a Kingdom that is and is to come…that is far greater than anything we have ever or will ever experience here on this earth.
It leaves us completely overwhelmed by the greatness and wonder of our God.
It is found in the moments and experiences that give us chills and leave us speechless. The ones we want to pause and stay in just a while longer. The moments that so many of us are craving and at the same time are afraid of.
And we’re afraid of them because they’re unpredictable. We can’t pre-write and pre-plan them in a script or minute by minute production schedule. Most of the time they’re hard to measure. We can’t know ahead of time how people are going to react and respond. And so, we avoid them.
And I can’t help but wonder if we avoid them because we’ve convinced ourselves that we shouldn’t do anything unless we can measure the results. And we’ve wrongly convinced ourselves that the results are up to us. We forget that we are called to plant and to water. The growing…the results…that’s up to God. And I wonder how much more we could plant & water if we were willing to surrender the predictable for the mysterious in our art.
“Do you want relief or do you want to be healed?”
When I read that on a blog the other day it grabbed me. I stopped. Read it again. And realized it was a question I need to be asking myself…reminding myself of…more often. Because if I’m honest, most of the time I settle for relief. Because relief is a lot easier than healing.
It’s the difference between a scab & a scar. Scabs have found relief. They’re on their way to being healed, but they can still be ripped open & cause a lot of pain quite easily. Relief is fragile.
Scars on the other hand have healed. The effects are still visible & may always be, but they’re not causing any pain nor do they threaten to cause pain. Healing is solid.
But healing is also beyond our control. We can control we relief. Most of the time we know where to go to find it, and it’s quick. Scars take time to heal, and we can’t control them. But I would still rather have healing than relief. And I believe that’s what Jesus desires for us as well – healing…wholeness.
I was doing some major blog catch up the other day (major as in I haven’t caught up on them since before I left on May 22nd) and ran across Seth Godin’s Organization vs. Movement vs. Philosophy post, which got me thinking.
It’s worth taking 2 minutes to read his definitions of each, but I especially liked the definition of philosophy. “A philosophy can survive things that might wipe out a movement and that would decimate an organization. A philosophy can skip a generation or two. It is often interpreted, and is more likely to break into autonomous groups, to morph and split and then reunite.”
The post left me wondering if our focus is misdirected. If too often we are focused on building better organizations or igniting stronger movements when really we should be focusing on better sharing and living our philosophies…our beliefs and convictions about life and the world.
The beauty of philosophies is that they last. They are bigger than us. Yes, we will need to create organizations to carry out the work our philosophies inspire us to do. And our philosophies will inspire us to ignite movements of change. But I think we miss the point when we think that our organizations or our movements are the end. They are not. I think they are simply vehicles that allow us to live out & to share our philosophies.
Churches today are heavily focused on being organizations & starting movements. Yes, churches are organizations. But let’s not make that the end. Let’s not direct our focus on simply building a better organization with better programs. Instead, let’s strive to have churches that are united by a philosophy. A philosophy that is lived out together in community. One that ebbs & flows. Morphs. Maybe even splits & reunites. Because that can survive the ever changing landscape of culture. That can have an impact far greater than our lifetimes will see.
Freedom. 7 letters that have taken on a whole new meaning for me over the last year. And in so many different ways. Freedom from guilt. From lies. From religion. Freedom to be honest. To risk. To simply be. Freedom in community. In worship. In relationship.
But today I have a completely new & deeper understanding of that word. I spent this 4th of July with 100+ refugees in Memphis, TN. People who have escaped more torture & oppression than I will ever know. Children whose eyes stare into the distance as they daydream & I silently pray that if, in that moment, the past is haunting them & replaying in their minds that they would find healing. Most of those individuals are tasting freedom for the first time in their lives.
That makes freedom more tangible than I thought possible. It goes deep and my whole being feels free.
Do you truly, deep down in your heart, feel free? Are you living in freedom? Sometimes I think we miss out on deep joy that can only come from embracing that freedom.
Words cannot describe the joy on the faces of our new friends yesterday. And it’s a joy that somehow, despite everything they’ve been through, seems to run deep. It was the laughter of one little boy on a swing. And the chaos of tons of children on a giant slip n’ slide who couldn’t comprehend why in the world we would be using water for such a thing. The joy of parents to see their children run around…playing…smiling. And, it was the joy of being free. Even if they couldn’t put that into words.