Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let Go

As the year of 2013 approaches, I find myself reflecting over the year that has been, and as I weigh the ups and downs I'm not sure whether or not I'm ready to embark on a new year just yet.  Though I've definitely grown closer to God through the tests, temptations, and trials that have been, I also find a part of myself wanting to regress rather than progress, and the further back the better.  In just one recent evening, I inundated my speakers with sounds reminiscent of my younger, less spiritually challenging days.  Among my selections were Savage Garden, Phil Collins, and even Cyndi Lauper.  It seems the 90's weren't far back enough, I closed my eyes and allowed mental time travel to take me back even to the 80's when my hair stood straight up and my greatest care in the world was which car Barbie should drive to meet Ken.  It's not that 2012 has been bad; on the contrary, it has been amazing, but it has been more difficult than not and I suppose my momentary return to the fetal position is just a whiny attempt to avoid continued growing pains that accompany spiritual acrobatics.  My most recent, and hopefully last, annual gymnastic feat of the spirit involved testing I never dreamed would come, when out of an unforeseen encounter my heart was insidiously catapulted from the present to the past and then forward once again. "Jesus, steady my feet," become my plea of recent days, and after a brief retreat to the oceanic views from Seal Beach, He finally did.  So, this year? This year, I let go.

Friday, December 7, 2012

You Are Going to Die

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I'm not sure how you happened upon this blog post, but I don't think I personally would have made it past the title.  I don't readily click on or read anything that screams out "you are going to die," so I'm not sure what it says about you that you're still reading, but contrary to how it appears, I'm not planning on a morbid post. And by the way, why is it that we are so quick to connect the topic of death with morbidity?  Though the pain and sorrow felt among death's survivors is undeniable, death in and of itself is merely a final doorway to eternity (good news for the one who knows Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior, not so good for those still rejecting Him, which brings us to the point of this discourse.)  I'm on the topic because I recently read the obituary of an old friend from college, and though we lost touch more than a decade ago, I was more than just surprised to learn of his passing; I was troubled.  At just 33 years of age, he left behind a wife and two young children, who will no doubt be struggling through this now bittersweet Christmas season. I look back and remember casually talking to him on the Hendrix College campus, and as I reflect over the memories, I'm reminded of how little we know this side of Heaven about our final day. Fourteen years ago when I knew him, neither of us had any idea that he would die on September 17th of 2012, and as I contemplate the utter uncertainty of death, I can't help but also wonder about my own. As a Christian, I know I'm not supposed to fear death (Psalm 23:4) because it's merely the beginning of my existence as God originally intended it, but the reality is that for many years, I did fear it. I didn't just fear it; I dreaded it, couldn't stand to think about it, and would shut down mentally and emotionally when faced with the reconciliation of it.  That being said, however, I have fortunately learned along my walk with God that I tend to build things up in my mind to be worse than they actually are or will one day be.  What a sweet relief to have finally become aware of my propensity for dramatic exaggeration of life events.  Death isn't to be feared (again, ask yourself whether or not you know Jesus Christ), although I know it can be difficult not to, but like it or not, you are going to die.