It has officially been a year since I began this blog. So much has changed since then that in moments, I barely recognize my life or my heart. Good changes, mostly, but some that have come through painful lessons.
I’m learning what it means to be present and engage in the life you have. There’s this tempting option to view huge chunks of life as a waiting period during which you simply have to abide your surroundings until your circumstances are more ideal. In the Old Testament, exile was a great example of this. But did God ever encourage His kids to look at exile as just a waiting period? “Ahh, just hang out for awhile. Don’t do much. Don’t get used to this period of life, or try to do anything with it. Just put things on simmer, and let it ride.”
Ha. No. No, I don’t recall Him ever saying that, or even leaving things open to that interpretation. Instead, He said told His kids to settle in to the place of exile. Build homes. Plant gardens. Take jobs. Get to know the neighbors. Serve them. Have kids, watch them grow up, and marry them off. Live and live well. Make the place home. Even if you don’t think I’m going to leave you here for long, treat it like I am. Be present, be engaged, be active. [See Jeremiah 29 for something more than my paraphrase. Seriously. Go read it, you won’t regret it. Lots of good stuff about God’s faithfulness when we least expect it.]
I have been guilty more times than I can count of treating life like a waiting room. Sitting down, smiling awkwardly at the people around me, picking up a magazine, and keeping to myself. It feels in moments like I’m waiting for the right time and circumstance to actually DO life. And that just won’t do. That has likely been my biggest lesson in 2011. It’s still a work in progress, to be sure, but I’m learning as I go.
In 2012, my goal is to learn live simply. Which might seem a little counter-productive, since 2011 taught me to not treat life like a waiting room, just sitting around. I mean, what could be more simple than just sitting around? Ha…no, for myself, learning to live simply has started with this: figuring out what’s important to me, and living like that’s actually the case.
Life gets so cluttered, you know? Your priorities get really misshapen to the point that you don’t even recognize your life as being a journey toward something. It’s just a big jumbly mess of activities and possessions and competitions. So at the beginning of this year, I’m starting out by asking myself what is important to me.
First and foremost is God and His Kingdom. Second is my husband and our family. Third are the dear friends that we’ve been given to take the journey with. Fourth is creating and sharing beauty that lasts in a world that knows very little of that. Those are the four most important things in my life.
Then why do so many of the things that take up my time have absolutely nothing to do with any of those things?? If those are the most important things in my life, why don’t I live like it? If, at the end of the day, there are only really four things that matter to me, why does life feel so complex? And how can I strip it down to a place where I’m actually living like what I do matters?
That, my friends, is day one of 2012. Let the journey begin.