Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unexpected snapshots


I thoroughly wish I had written more entries in my blog this year. You know, to catch up on life, to document the journey since being back in Utah post Australia, all the learnings and all of the growth pains. However, I think just one snapshot from today tells well what I have been experiencing the past six months or so and thought to quickly share it.

I had just finished with my small group meeting this evening and as I said my goodbyes and watched my friends leave through front door, I turned back to the kitchen and glanced at my cell phone. As I clicked a button, a new picture flashed to life on the screen and at first I wasn't aware of how it had been taken or even what it was. On second glance, it appeared to be one of those blooper shots. You know, your camera's shoved deep in your pocket and then, unexpectedly, snaps a picture and what you end up with is this blurry black backdrop with a bit of gray fuzz in the corner. That's what kind of picture this was, except at least I could distinguish some of the kitchen floor and counter in it.

As I began to think about where my other picture had disappeared to in my phone, I thought about trying out something new. I scrolled through the cell phone menu and came across another shot I had taken a month back, one I had totally forgotten. My previous phone "wallpaper" was from when my family had visited New Zealand--a very special memory. But the new photo I was now looking at was of a simple yet stunning sunset in my home state of Utah, right in Cache Valley where I was born. "Beautiful." I said, smiling to myself and selecting it as the new wallpaper.

What about other snapshots... either those past or present that I'm holding onto that's taking up the screen of my vision and direction?

I know that in the recent past, I have felt like old dreams have been kind of stolen away. Vision fades, seasons change, life happens, and we're left wondering, "How did my direction get lost along the way?"

It is such a blessing and welcome surprise to say that new adventures have come my way--adventures that I did not even see coming. They say it's when you're not looking for something that it finds you. It may be more accurate to see life through the lens of this principle: wait on the Lord and he will renew your strength. In other words, he will give you new passion, purpose, and direction for pursuing him when the time is right. The key here, I have found, is in realizing that God's timing happens to be different from ours, for He is infinite while we are merely finite.

I think this season of new surprises was an outworking of the principle of waiting on the Lord. Just when things were feeling aimless, random, and discouraging, I began stepping out in faith for something I believed in: God's kingdom moving forward in Utah. And I do believe waiting is an active process, much like athletes have a season of "active recovery." The training doesn't stop just because its a season of recovery. If that were so, the athlete would lose all the ground gained through training up to that point.

So as I began to actively wait, and just when it felt like it was getting too late for things to "come together" in my journey, God met me there.

Now I find new opportunities here which I could have only dreamed about. God had something so much more than what I could have plotted and planned on my own. He was letting time and a season of waiting do its work in me for me to realize this, to embrace it. And there is a realization that has helped me immensely in this process: it's not about me. As soon as I readjusted my own adventures to align them with the work God was already doing where I was at, I found myself part of a larger story--involved in something in which I got to play a crucial role. And I think that's what we all long for... a crucial role in a story larger than us.

We are living in God's story, wherever we are at, and as we accept his invitation to step into it, acknowledging we are participants and guests, we soon find a place in which we could have only dreamed of living. We are now living the fulfilled life, pervaded by the one who is life.

This is a new snapshot I am adopting for the wallpaper of my life--one worth keeping.