Well, it's a new year and we're still here. Definitely time for another update since the last hard one. James and I made it through some busy holiday seasons at work and we're glad for some time off to celebrate James' birthday.
James is in the other room doing a rough draft recording one of the songs he's been writing and I'm so excited about it.
The first two weeks of this year have brought a lot of new insight and inspiration already. We sort of skipped the traditional reminiscing about the last year and setting goals around New Years, but it's a conversation we have so frequently now, with our search for purpose and meaning. Talking about our goals in August, and October and November meant January 1 didn't mean anything out of the ordinary.
The last Sunday of 2014 we went back to one of the last three churches still left on our list and we really enjoyed it. In a lot of ways the people there seemed to really be free to be themselves. There was hardly any "show" or that "look at how great we are!" that we've gotten really exhausted from. I didn't feel like I'd walked into a fashion competition like many other churches we've visited. But there was a heaviness there that is hard to explain. Looking at their vision statement and their website there was a lot of weight on what we can do. I know it sounds kind of lazy for me to say, but I'm really no longer interested in what I can do. I can do a lot. I can completely exhaust and burden myself and get a lot done for Jesus, but when I read the Bible I just don't think that's what he wants for or from me. He really isn't concerned with what I can do. So, reluctantly, we crossed that church off our list.
The first Sunday in 2015 we tried one more new church we really wanted to like. But from the get-go we knew it wasn't home. The sermon was, of course, that beginning-of-the-new-year "get your crap together" sermon. Unfortunately, we couldn't agree with most of his sermon, because, Jesus is the only one capable of getting your crap together. I really liked the parts where he read from the Bible. But his sermon didn't much relate to what the scriptures he was reading were saying. Sitting in that service I felt the Super Christian coming out of me. It's my alter-ego and it says, "Because I have Jesus I AM capable of doing what the Bible says." Instead of saying, "Because of Jesus' love and his finished work, he calls me righteous even though I'm going to screw it up again. He will never love me more or be more pleased with me than he is right now."
While we are finding freedom and joy and life in simply accepting God's love and not trying to finish His work for him, it sure makes it hard to listen to pastors talk about how we need to focus more, try harder and pray more.
The third Sunday in January we went back to the first church we visited over a year ago. After worship the pastor said, "I'm no longer impressed by Christians who show their passionate love for God. I used to see them and want to be like them. Instead now I'm in awe of God's passionate love for me. I see it and I want to be with him more and more."
After church James and I looked at each other and said, "This is home." The people seem a little dysfunctional, maybe crazy, and they don't look or sound like "our people", but instead of trying to show the world what they can do for God they are simply resting in God's presence and the only thing they're trying to do for Him is receive His love from Him.
That is beautiful to us.
Resting in Jesus,