Tuesday, January 27, 2015

song of joy: out with the old, in with the new

Last December, I prayed and asked God to name 2014. He told me to call it "New Things", and so I did. I wrote about the hope of those words here, but I had no idea how the year would go.

The newness has been a bit of an undoing in my soul, and I am thankful for the way God led me last year. But it's been challenging and hard, dark and yet in many ways full of God's light.

We spent the end of 2014 sealing up every item we own in boxes. It's strange the way your whole world can be compartmentalized and marked with bold Sharpie words like "GAME ROOM- pillows + books" or "MASTER CLOSET- belts + heels". Our stuff weighs less in our souls when it is itemized and labeled, as if the imaginary link it has to our souls is broken and we realize we are so much more than the accumulation of things.

And now, it is 2015, really and fully. And this year will be one of joy, of breaking light, of fresh strength and views from new heights. I have made a conscious choice to sit back a bit this year and watch to see all God does.

I am slowly unpacking boxes. Half of the stuff we packed up seems to be making its way into piles to give away. The things that remain are precious, beloved, and remind me of the story God has written for us: stories of His love, His sense of humor, the way He brings us up from ashes and delights in who we are.

My soul is also unpacking some old things, and I find I am letting go of some accumulated things that I no longer need in there, too. I feel lighter, and my prayers come more frequently these days, like contractions that precede a miraculous birth.

The farther I walk with God on this path, the less I really know what boxes and labels everything fits in- with the exception of my soul. My soul only ever fits well in one place.

"'As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God."-Romans 14: 11-12

There is a long list of things that won't matter at all on the day we stand in His presence. They will be unpacked and found to be completely unnecessary:

  • Our appearance. (face, body, hair, wardrobe, complexion, muscle definition, etc.)
  • Our status. (career, achievements, accolades etc.)
  • Our possessions. (house, car, wardrobe, gadgets, etc.)
  • Our hobbies/ passing interests. (favorite teams, collections, ideologies about this and that minute argument, etc.)
  • Our opinions about others. (what they say, how they look, who they ought to be, etc.)

Because we live in this temporal world, where these kinds of things are important and often have daily impact on us, it can be tempting to spend too much time, resources, and energy on the things on that list. 

What will matter when we stand before the judgement seat? What will God talk to us about? What parts of our life will He delight in, what errors will He correct us of, which of our days will He sing about when we lay ourselves low before the heat and glory of His presence?

That's a different kind of list altogether.

  • His love for us. (who He says I am, for what purpose He made me, how He delighted to set me free and bring me home)
  • How well have we kept the greatest commandment? (Love Him first and most.)
  • How well have we kept the second commandment? (Love others more than myself.)
  • Were His priorities also our priorities?  (How much more did we trust Him and His word than our fears and the voices of people who did not know Him? Who did we clothe and feed and tend for His sake alone? When did we make ourselves uncomfortable so that others could be comforted? etc.)
List it out, write it in bold letters, let it label and define us, and hear the words that never fail to make us new again and again and again: We belong to Him, we live freely in Him, we have been made for Him.

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." -1 John 3:1-3

Oh, yes, moving day will be simply beautiful.

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