Yesterday at around 4:15 pm, the last of the wispy clouds scudded across the sky, revealing a blue landscape and a bright sun. Kids poured out of their houses. I abandoned dinner plans for "let's just see how long we stay out here."
And, of course, we put up the trampoline.
I am declaring winter as officially over.
Last night, I basked in that exhausted feeling that only comes from too much fresh air. This morning, I read outside, with the sun hot on my face and a warm cup of coffee in my hand. I felt like I could breathe again. The stale air of my inside world was replaced by the pure feel of the outside.
In the same way, I am breathing air again into my faith. I was stretched and tested this winter but am coming out of it a little more reckless in my belief. I'm re-reading the book Anything by Jennie Allen in a Bible study with friends, and I AM TELLING YOU (in all caps AND bold italics so you know I mean business) it is incredibly freeing.
I can't do Jennie's story justice but I'll sum it up by saying she and her husband completely surrendered to God "anything" and their lives changed in bold ways. Not painless ways, not always comfortable ways. But in all they experienced and lived, there was a sense of huge purpose and trust and impact.
Even better, there was insanity.
"God is still not very practical, and to follow him takes trust. Following him completely requires belief that he is good even if everything here and now is not, that he sees us and has an intentional plan for our few years here. We trust in a spiritual person who leads us to do spiritual things that may not totally make sense." (Jennie Allen)
And in the beginning of this journey, she felt she was "spreading insanity."
Sounds good to me. Because my own control or belief that my plans are better has certainly not been working. Living with one foot straddling the line of Trust Him and the other foot in I Want Control has been unfulfilling.
"I know we are afraid of anything too radical or costly. I used to think I would find life in the medium ... But it was really numb and boring and empty, to be honest. Now that I have tasted being all in, I don't want medium. We weren't made for medium." (Jennie Allen)
Words could not be truer. There's a part of my soul that dies in the medium - I feel it. Like I am not living fully. I am safe, comfortable, and moderately happy in the medium, but something about it feels very incomplete.
I am not a risk-taker physically - I don't need to scale Mt Everest or go cliff jumping in Hawaii. I practically panic crossing tall bridges in a car these days. But I see the rush those risk-taking fools feel when they attempt these feats. It's like they come alive only when they jump. And yes, it might seem insane but only in that insanity do we really live.
And so we jump.
My favorite chapter of Anything is a part where Jennie likens our safe, comfortable faith experience to being on a cruise ship that is going down, but the day is so beautiful and blue and we are so comfortable and enjoying ourselves that it's hard to imagine anything is wrong or that we are in any danger.
So we don't heed the captain's warnings. We sit, drinks in hand, relaxing in the sun. "I kept sipping my drink with an umbrella in it, lest they all think I'd gone crazy, running for the rescue boats on a perfectly lovely day."
Can we give up our earthly comfort - and embrace appearing insane - to, as Jennie says, "obey the captain's voice?" Do we really believe that what he has in store is better for us than anything we could possibly imagine?
And if we do, why aren't we running around yelling - Wake up! Wake up! Get off the boat!
God is saying, There's more. There's work I have for you. And only a short time to do it in.
I want to be insane in the eyes of the world if it means that I will be chasing only God. I don't think anything else could feel as alive, real, big, powerful, meaningful, and wonderful as that.