this is not a game: a wholehearted life

The past six weeks of traveling flowed together so smoothly that I'm not sure where to pick out a thread to begin processing.  The time in America felt like such a sheer gift, given by a good Father for no reason of efficiency or what I consider productivity, but just because He dearly loves me and delights in giving good gifts.  One of my classes in Thailand was focused on the book of Acts and my cohort studied -- and practiced -- living in community and seeking to follow the Spirit.  ATC was excellent and different than it has been in previous years, with a theme of remember who we are in light of who He is.  And now this week, Miriam and I are in Kunming, getting ready to go back to Chuan Wai for the spring semester.  I'm looking forward to it and so very thankful for having this time to process the massive amounts of input that's been coming at me from angles of personal and professional development, from relationships with other people and with Him, from experiences and travel. 

At ATC, we were each given little journals with some prompts to respond to.  I barely even made the attempt while I was there -- my mind and heart were so full that mostly I just needed to sleep in between talking with people and attending meetings!  But Miriam and I decided that today in Kunming would be journaling day. 

One of the question prompts was How will I order my life in practical ways to acknowledge that the significant work I do overflows from my intimacy with Him?

As I answered this, I thought about words from an article by Dan Allender (link) that I read recently.
A gospel life will be rich, complex, contradictory, and surprising until the end.  That's what makes it real and true.  That's what makes you real.
Rich and complex?  Sure!  Surprising?  Maybe.  Contradictory?  Maybe not.  I like my life to make sense, to myself at least.  I like my choices to be justifiable to others, because then I feel like I am justifiable to others. 

When I found myself writing those words down, I thought, Oh.  Oh.  That's not really who I want to be.  That's not how I'm justified.

I also thought about Jason's Firefly board game that we played a few times in Virginia.  To win the game, each player has multiple objectives: pick up this cargo, seal this deal, bank this much money, complete these missions.  I tend to see my life like that.  I want to do the good things He's called me to and check off those boxes and have good relationships with people and have a good relationship with Him.  Because that's how the game is won, right?  Complete all the parts and make it to the end.

But the message of Scripture is far more focused about the purpose of my life, what I should be pursuing.  It's not a checklist of objectives to complete.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, said the wisest Teacher, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33)

With the Psalmist, I want my heart's cry to be,
I have no good apart from You...
You are my chosen portion and my cup,
You hold my lot. 
(Ps 16)


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