Wednesday, February 1, 2017

on being a revolutionary ordinary woman

We were hurrying out the door to meet my friend, Gina, so she could do me a HUUUGE favor and take some photos for me, and one of my boys lobbed this doozy at me:

"When are we going to take down the Christmas lights on the house? I mean... it's February."

What??? The lights are still up? I had forgotten. I hadn't noticed. I had subconsciously deleted the task from my to-do list. I don't even know what Christmas is anymore. Austin is experiencing a California-like winter- it is sunny and 75 degrees today. It feels like Easter. Maybe those are now Resurrection Sunday lights (this seems very Jesus-y to me. I like it. Let's start a new trend). Anyways- who does this kid think he is? I am raising truth tellers, and it is coming back to bite me.

This one line from 1 Peter 1 in the Message keeps rolling back through my scattered thoughts, smoothing out my life again and again:

"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God."

If I am missing Christmas lights as I hurry out of the house and back in, perhaps my deep consciousness of God is not connecting with my reality? 

I didn't say all of this to my son, of course. I just winked and said, "Maybe we should leave them up for this Christmas. We could be the first house ready for the holidays!" Then we got in the car and headed for the highway, and the heavy traffic going downtown. 

Sitting there in the car, waiting for my turn to move three feet closer to the Mopac exit, I pondered how ordinary I feel. I thought about our quests for the extraordinary. I thought of thousands of ordinary women marching all over the globe. No matter what your views are of that reality, my deep consciousness of God says this: The women of the world are ready to make a difference.

Jesus was so ordinary for thirty years, no one saw His glory bound path clearly- not even His best friends. It was ordinary men and women who first loved God first and others more than themselves. And yet, we seem to be afraid to be ordinary. We prove our allegiance to our humanity when we look for signs and miracles, for flashy exhibits of God's greatness. But Jesus taught revolutionary concepts through parables; ordinary stories to explain extraordinary truths.

Revolutionary vision means seeing God in Christmas lights and Tuesday morning traffic.

I don't want to miss the Christmas lights any longer. I don't want to do too much, run too fast, and try to live at a pace that makes me miss what's right in front of my face: my home, my people, the love of God for all of us. Jesus talked about people who would turn extraordinary spiritual acts into selfish ways of living. It's a frightening reality but we could become like them, and know our own greatness well, but never really know God: 

"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" -Matthew 7:21-23

My success and failure is bound up in how deeply my consciousness seeks God in all the things I do today. My greatness flows from the love I put into all the ordinary parts of my day, not how many things I accomplish or how much I can increase my influence. Whether I'm spreading peanut butter on toast or wrinkle cream around my eyes, I want to remember that how I care for the people in my life (myself included) proves how much I love God's creation. I want to take a loaf of bread to my neighbors who are legally here from another country, but may not feel particularly welcome any longer. I want to sweep up crumbs around our table and bless the messy people who have refused to even try to use plates and napkins. I want to wave the other cars into my lane instead of hugging the bumper in front of me.

Jesus once let ordinary women sit at His feet and listen to conversations that were only supposed to be for men. He loved them and lifted them in an ordinary place, and in a revolutionary way. He has done no less for us.

After all, what mercy have we deserved? Which of our sins did was forgiven because of our own holy acts? When was the grace of God anything except an amazing gift we could never be worthy of receiving?

After our morning of photography, my kids and I went to Zilker park. Barton Springs is there, and a few brave souls were swimming in the chilly water. We walked down to the edge of the water and put our feet in. Then all four of my ordinary children decided to jump in, fully clothed. They decided the daring act would be worth the cold and wet ride home. The joy of cannonballs off the diving board would be a reward for their courage. Forgetting the opinions of the lifeguard and all the other people there, they just jumped.

Our ordinary day turned into a moment none of us will ever forget. Yes, people stared. Yes, it was a little crazy. But there was a joy in my children I haven't seen in a long time. No one fought. No one got offended. Something amazing happened when they all jumped into that icy water together. 

I walked up the steps to my car, four drippy, laughing children behind me. I hope they always live like this, seizing their ordinary moments and living with their whole hearts. I hope they always let love and unity win in their lives. It will change how they live their lives, which really could change the world.

May we all do the same.

1 comment:

  1. absolutely love your heart, Carrie. Your perspective. More people need to read this. Love love....