Back to The Book

The other day I was reading a good book. THE good book, actually. And I read something rather odd about a piece of dark magic.

That is a Harry Potter, Tom Riddle reference if you missed it. It is ok though. Because it really isn’t about dark magic, but God speaking through His Word.

Let me just be real for a minute. Life has sucked recently. Not just figuratively, but literally. One week ago today I had my worst day at the bakery. Everything that could go wrong seemed to. To spare you the grim details, I went home afterwards and wanted to cry or yell or something to express somehow how I was feeling. But I don’t express my feelings. I hold myself together and help other people with their problems. Lyric has problems at work and mental breakdowns, so I help her work through it. I am the stable one who has it all together, right?

And then we went straight from a draining and long work week to a conference all day in Chicago on Saturday. So on my day to sleep in I still had to get up at 5am. Just like another day at the bakery.

Let me be clear, I love the bakery I work at. I love how it is only half a mile from my house. I love seeing and getting to know all the pastors and church leaders who come in for meetings and the young moms who come in with their kids for pastries or breakfast. I love all the connections I can make. I love seeing the same familiar faces each day and being able to ask, “The usual?” And my co-workers. They are great (mostly). Good changes are happening their. I’m excited.

But Friday it was hard. Recently, I’ve wondered if it is really worth it.

And then ministry. Can I even call it that? I “attend” Bible Club on Tuesday nights. Do I have an actual difference in my neighborhood? It is so easy to withdraw. To work 7-3 and go home and feel sorry for myself because I have no life and do it again the next day, and the day after that…

I know I’m called to more. I know I am making a difference. But, to be honest, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. And I haven’t wrote. Not in a couple months. Because the words aren’t there. Or I just can’t seem to find them.

I know I need to write. Like I mentioned, I don’t express my feelings. Writing is a way for me to unwind, to process, and to be honest with myself. The words on this screen are part of me. Very few people know me, the real me. I wish that weren’t true, but it is. I’m working on it, but it is hard. One way for me to connect is to write. To bear my burden to the rest of the world, or you, my reader, at least.

So, like I said, life has sucked. And I get some overwhelmed because I think I should be here or there or have that degree or this relationship or that job or whatever it is you expect of me.

As God often does, he spoke to me through is Word. I’ve been reading through the OT and am currently in Jeremiah. I was on chapter twelve. A routine chapter about Israel’s rebellion and God’s fire and brimstone condemnation coming to punish them. The usghe. But then I read verse 5 and stopped dead in my tracks (figuratively, because I was seated).

If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

Boom! Conviction. That is a fancy, Christianise term for that voice in the back of our heads that tells us something so simple, yet so profound. It is a small thing, yet somehow we missed it.

In the New King Arthur translation (wait for it…), that verse reads:

If you can’t be relied on in the little things, how can you be trusted in the big things? It is about daily faithfulness, not the highlight reels or Sportscenter clips. Show me that you can handle the pressure in the menial tasks before the big leagues.

Wow, that really hit home. I realized that I have been so looking forward to mine and Lyric’s wedding, ministry AFTER that, and everything to come, that I have neglected the present moment. I have forgotten the beauty in today.

I paused. I took a breath. I read it again.

If you have raced with men on foot
    and they have worn you out,
    how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
    how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

I realized that for Lyric to follow me in marriage, I have to lead her now. In the little things. Because I was lazy and bored of being alone, I wouldn’t care about my health. I wouldn’t run, because I couldn’t run with Lyric. I wouldn’t eat, because I was only making food for myself. And it took time. I would forget to brush my teeth. It was the little things, but I realized it all reflected a complacency I had fallen into. The danger every engaged couple is, or should be, warned about. While looking forward to The Day and I had somehow missed Today. And today is here today and gone tomorrow. The Day isn’t here yet. How can I expect myself to love and lead Lyric in seven months if I can’t love and lead myself now, today?

Today is a gift. To fully utilize that gift, I must live in it. Not just survive, but thrive. That means waking up every morning and eating breakfast. Not forgetting to brush my teeth. Working and saving for that day while serving my customers and co-workers with excellence today. Coming home and going for a run. Continuing to realize my dream of running a sub-7min mile marathon and qualifying for Boston. Getting cleaned up and making dinner for myself. Not spending tons of money or eating junk food my mom wouldn’t approve of (she may or may not still need to advise my food selection). Taking the neighborhood kids to the Kroc Center. Spending intentional time pouring into them. It means spending the evening not scrolling through Facebook or on the internet but reading a good book.

Loving and living in today means all that and more. So Lyric, I apologize. I apologize for being naive in looking so excitedly at that one day that I missed you here, right next to me, today. It is scary I reached this point, but God always loves using those seemingly random Bible verses to steer us around back on track.

I am grateful for today.

Now back to that book.

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