It’s amazing watching children live life together. They encounter each day with so much passion and freedom. Every moment is completely consumed.
When they bump their heads, it’s the end of the world. They don’t understand why that table attacked them and they need to be rescued. But, wow! How quickly they recover. And back, marching headlong into the fray they go.
When they are given a new toy, it’s as if they just won the Superbowl! They dive into their play with overwhelming joy. And anyone who threatens to deter this playtime needs to be cautioned: “Enter At Your Own Risk.” You will become a fierce enemy if you take away this new treasure.
But this is what I enjoy the most about children. No, not the fighting, arguing and constant need for parenting but their ability to recover from all of this. Their ability to love.
They can be found squaring off, ready to destroy each other, one moment and then hugging and running around holding hands the next. They often, very literally, kiss and make up. Forgiveness is a daily and sometimes hourly part of their relationships. It is the way they love each other.
What a tremendous example for those of us who call ourselves “Jesus Followers.” To live this freely. To love this purely. To forgive without any thought of past or future offenses. Could there possibly be any better way of life?
Do you have friends like this? People who know you inside and out and love you anyway? That’s the best description I could ever use to talk about the amazing staff I get to work with every day at Journey.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. There is not complete acceptance with them. In fact, quite the opposite! There is constant harassment. They tease me about my archaic paper calendar, about my bullet point personality and about my desire to plan things months in advance.
But don’t start feeling sorry for me. I get my jabs in as well. Believe me, there is plenty of harassment to go around!
The truth is, when I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to get to the office. To share life with them. To laugh. And to simply see what might happen next.
I could tell you about what really goes on in our 2-3 hour Wednesday staff meetings…but that might be going too far! Instead, just click on this link:
and take a look at what happened a few months ago behind the scenes as we made a video about Journey Lorena (our new church plant). It is truly a joy to walk beside the people of God every day.
It’s something we all dream about at some point, isn’t it? Where we will live when we finally arrive at the life we are working toward. You know, the white picket fence — the American Dream.
For some it’s small and quaint. For others is expansive and out-of-the-way. For my daughter, at least at this point, the only requirement would be that it is pink!
For us, this is the ultimate dream house. We love the color variations in the rock, the tin roof and how the paint connects it all together. And then there are the dormer windows and the columns on the porch that break up the lines and draw your eye in. There’s just not much wrong with this house, other than…it’s not a house! It’s a bank in Cameron, TX.
Kristen and I drive by this beautiful structure every time we head south to visit her parents in Round Top. We love looking at it and dreaming of what could be in the future. It’s a constant reminder of the life we’d like to have.
It’s amazing how tied we are to houses in our culture. We go into unbelievable debt for them. We work two jobs and make double payments so we can afford them. And we USED to agree to ridiculous mortgage schemes in order to get into a house that we really had no business buying in the first place. We do all of this working toward that perfect dream, just knowing that when we get there all will be right in the world.
Question: What if we put that much effort in building a different house? A house of peace? A house that constantly carried the presence of Jesus. A house that became a blessing to everyone who entered it. What if instead of working two jobs for brick and mortar we actually quit a job to build a house that lasts? What would our homes be like if we were OK to live in half the square footage in order to have more time investing in our children? What if the “American Dream” is actually the greatest threat to the greatest desires of our hearts?
Kristen and I still love that house and we may or may not ever build it. But one thing I know, if we do build it, it will be done in freedom, not bondage. It will be a blessing and not a curse. Because that’s not the house that I really dream about when I close my eyes at night.
I never understood this until I hit my mid 30’s. The ability to sit down right in the middle of little kids running around, the TV on or a computer in your lap and just fade away into oblivion! It is a gift saved for those who have traveled a few more miles.
Now, I long for days like this. Peaceful Sunday afternoons. Rainy weekends. Or like our vacation last week, a remote cabin in the mountains of Colorado. To have nothing pressing and the ability to just be – what a gift!
However, this moment was truly something special. I was sitting at the table, playing a game with my mom and my kids and I looked up at my dad and found him in this state. Immediately one word popped into my head… “REALLY?!?”
Really, Dad? You’re that at ease with the world? I get the naps on the couch with golf playing in the background but this?
If you’re not quite with me yet, take a close look at his mouth. Yes, that’s right…it’s a dental floss pick! He’s out cold right in the middle of flossing his teeth!!!
Now to be fair, he did work really hard. He caught a ton of fish and yes, I caught a grand total of – wait for it – 0! But this is the accomplishment I most aspire to. How about you?
The clothes line. It’s a picture that has been almost completely erased in our contemporary world. We live in a microwavable society and we don’t have time to wait for the wind to dry our clothes. We have instant access to nearly everything. If you want to know how tall Dirk Nowitzki is or even how to spell his name, just Google it (he’s 7′ tall by the way). If you want to know exactly how much longer before your kids get home, just text them. If you want to get the seven-day forecast or find out the latest breaking news in the world or sports, just hit the “News & Weather” app on your phone. I don’t need to go on. You know how small our world has gotten and how instantly everything comes to us. Even this blog is an example of this.
I love much of this new era we are in. Staying connected to so many more people. Not having to watch the news but knowing what’s going on in the world. Not getting lost everytime I go somewhere new. But is there a price that we pay for this?
Sometimes I long for the simple and less convenient. For moments of walking around with a cup of coffee in my hand, knowing that it will be another hour before my next task can be attempted, much less completed. Time to breathe. Time to think. Time to connect one on one with someone – not through a computer or in a text message but face to face. Where I can see the light in their eyes and the smirk on their face. But too many times, this is missed.
We have so much opportunity for relationship in front of us and so often we settle for less. We share a polite, “How’s it going?” in passing or send someone a “poke” on facebook or add them as a friend but still find ourselves isolated and unknown. It is too easy for us to hurry from one important event to the next, forgetting the people the event is really about. And we accept surface relationships as normal.
But…we were made for more! We were created to love and be loved deeply. To be known at every level and loved anyway – even in spite of the stuff we wish wasn’t there. We are shown a picture of this from the Father, as he takes our dirty laundry and incredibly makes it fresh again. And as he hangs it up dry, our shame of what once covered our stuff is now gone!
I can look you in the eye and tell you of the old stains in my life with a smile on my face, having no thought of embarrassment because it’s not there anymore. When this is done, authentic relationship is developed, love is shared and the Father is made known. And when we hit a bump in the road and the coffee flies all over us, we can draw from this relationship and point back at the clothes line. A reminder of the newness given by the Father in the past and the promise of what’s available to us now.
So bring on the coffee and the conversation (click here to be taken to http://www.recklesspursuitbook.com). Let’s share this life together. Don’t worry about the spills, I know a good cleaner!