Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coming Up for Air

I’m just finishing Margaret Becker’s book Coming Up For Air and I have to admit that I’m jealous. Lately, with life situations totally crashing all around me, I have felt the unnerving sensation of drowning and desperately needing to come up for air. I have wanted to run away to clear my head and bring my blood pressure down to normal. After reading of Maggie’s decision to stop traveling, stop performing and simply check out of life for a little while, and that it is, in fact, possible to regain perspective, I’m actually hopeful that I might not drown in my circumstances. (I want to call her Maggie now, because after reading her book she feels more like a friend, and Margaret seems too formal - sorry if i've offended you, Maggie...*er* Margaret).

But there are so many books out there about slowing down and living above our circumstances, so why has this particular one resonated with me? (besides the gorgeous cover)

I think the answer is hope. She wouldn't have taken such a radical 'sabbath rest' if she thought that there wasn't hope for a more balanced and authentic full life. Hope is offered by her experience, and I want to grab onto it like a rope offered to a drowning person.

Although “Coming Up for Air” isn’t a biography or even necessarily a true memoir, as such, I was reminded last night of the power of our personal ‘story’ in the context of community. Is it possible that God’s working through our lives is not for us, but for the good of the people who share in the story? If we don’t share our story, are we cheating the people around us of the benefits of our struggles? Sharing our brokenness, our times of desperation, and our story of God’s working in and through our desperation gives so much hope. Is this what Paul might have meant when he said to always be ready to give a defense for our hope? If we hold back on all of our real life issues, do we default on our hope?

Just stuff I’m thinking about.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Am I Human?

Okay, it has been a long time since I posted. Funny, I read that on a number of blogs. :)

But today I feel like I have something to actually blog about! At a lunch meeting today I had the privilege of hearing Erwin McManus speak about his forthcoming book - "Soul Cravings" (November 2006). Now, I'm a bit of a reluctant postmodern and don't want to jump on the bandwagon too quickly, but it was encouraging and challenging and refreshingly real to hear him talk from his 'gut' passions.

There is no way I can recap what he said, but what struck me most was McManus' desire to make a very real face to face connection with people in their very humanness. McManus said that he so wants to understand those longings and needs that are simply a part of our being human, and having that as our jumping off point for encouraging people to become Christ followers.

What did I get out of it? (caveat - this isn't what Erwin said, but where my thoughts went as I listened)

I need to accept that I am human (sounds weird, but I know I'm not the only one who longs to be free of human foibles).

I want to understand how God meets me exactly in my need - my lack, my failing, those things about myself that grieve me.

I want to live fully as a spiritually-connected, God-enjoying Christ follower, and that this life would glorify God so that others would not hesitate to wait to jump on board and follow Him too.

Just some thoughts... but I have to say, this is one manuscript I'm really looking forward to getting because I don't want to wait for the book.