Hello friends and happy Monday!
I don’t know about you, but it seems like a lot of life has been lived in just these past four days, since Thursday.
Just a quick note — I wanted to share a podcast episode that I was interviewed on! It’s called Fireside Talk Radio, and this first episode (in the two-part series) dropped this morning. I so enjoyed my conversation Cathy — so if you’d like to check that out, you can listen here. And thank you, Cathy, for inviting me on your show!
Alright onto tonight’s post!
Confession: last Thursday, when I was flying back from Utah to NYC, in addition to writing that emotional blog post, I also did something not great on the plane…
I was evesdropping.
Ugh, I hate to admit it…but hey. It was a silent plane, and these two men – sitting directly in front of me – were having a lively conversation, and just putting it out there! So it was harder not to listen, than to listen…if that makes sense.
Any who…my interest was piqued because…the conversation was about God.
Now, let me just set the scene here…these two men did not know each other. The one — we shall call him the evangelizer…was probably about 60. Wearing what you’d find at a wilderness convention. There may have been a fishing hat/fishing vest involved, I can’t be too sure. Definitely some facial hair. And hiking boots.
The other man — we shall call him the evangelizee — was a young New Yorker. Late twenties. Handsome. Dressed to the nines in a crisp white button-down with –either avocados or giraffes — all over it, a la J Crew, in a size that was definitely too small, but showed off his biceps, leaving no question that this man worked out. In other words, I for sure noticed his entrance. Especially because he gave me that “look” when he sat down — you know the one. The sly smile that basically begs — Please, enjoy the gun show, muh-lady.
OK – so now we’re caught up.
Anywho – during the flight, wilderness man was talking to biceps about God.
And – I’m going to stop with the witty nicknames now, because it actually was a powerful moment, that captivated me for much of the flight.
But there was one exchange in particular, that really struck a chord with me — to the degree that, well…it’s stayed with me until now…four days later.
The older man was talking about God, and the younger man said, “You know, I’m spiritual, and I’m cool with that…but I just don’t know if I can believe in an actual God. Your God of the bible and all those stories, and organized religion…it’s just too much for me.” And with that, the younger man got up to use the lavatory, and came back with his airPods in his ears for the remainder of the flight.
And it was at this point, in the whole episode, that I realized that I had been experiencing a very personal matter, for this young man. And perhaps, I should have put in my own ear buds and butted out of the exchange.
But nevertheless, here we are.
It definitely made me think. The whole “spirituality” verses “God” argument has been hotly debated, especially in this new age realm of today, where people put more faith in crystals and horoscopes than in anything coming from “church.”
And frankly, I get it. I can see the appeal. A desire to become a higher version of yourself, escape the chaos of reality by emptying the mind, and trying to tap into your spiritual self — listen, that sounds absolutely marvelous.
That journey to self-peace, and finding abundance, and centering yourself in gratitude — is truly beautiful.
And if we’re being honest, a vibrant prayer life includes all — well, most — of those things.
But here’s where they differ.
God loves you back.
And that is a scary thing for a lot of people. Myself included.
Spirituality is a one-person-show. You tap in, you tap out. You are the curator of the experience. The self-betterment. The self-discovery. The self-awareness…it is a singular, contained, episode — which, is great — but you’re on an island.
With God, it’s not about the take…it’s about the give.
It’s about giving yourself, your time, your heart, to the God who loves you enough to die to save.
It’s a relationship.
And I think that’s where the approach avoidance comes in, with a lot of people. Sure, maybe I’m playing armchair psychologist right now, but I think that closeness scares people.
Maybe it’s due to past relationships that left wounds, or a belief that one is undeserving of that love and closeness, but the truth is –by opening your heart to God, it will change you.
His love changes you.
You’re no longer in a controlled environment where you can determine the degree to which you let go, or feel peace or ground your mind. No. An encounter with God completely takes you out of control. You are thrown into the ocean of His love, and you just never know where the undercurrent or the undertoe is going to take you.
You surrender that autonomy. That control over outcomes, and emotions, and frankly, the protection of the wounds you’ve been botting up or hiding away because it’s safe.
God is not safe.
He shows you a mirror, and gently brings to light those difficult things that need redeeming, so you truly and fully can become that higher version of self, that so many are seeking.
But you don’t get that through trying to empty yourself.
You get it through filling yourself with His unending love.
Bicep man, I felt for him. I mean, heck — he was just getting on a four hour plane ride, probably not expecting to have a philosophical debate when all he wanted to do was sleep. Especially not with sneaky little ears listening into such an intimate conversation.
But perhaps wilderness man was able to plant a seed in his mind.
I was frankly stunned that in 2020, someone would have the nerve to talk about God and evangelize on an airplane of all places, where you’re stuck next to the person for the next several hours, should things not go so smoothly!
It is easy to do life alone. It is much more difficult — and simultaneously more fulfilling — when we invite another in to do life with us. Especially when it comes to God.
Because with Him, we can do the impossible. We can change our situations, and our hearts, and even, change the world. And that is a terrifying thing.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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