in the past season, reality has started to sink in;
that all of life is sinking sand, and each step we
take, each choice we make, takes us deeper,
deeper, deeper… we are scared of entering
darkness, afraid we will enter into the unknown.
never again to see like we have always seen. what if
there is no light, no hope, no life in that dark unknown?
we cannot know the answer unless we allow ourselves;
to the reality
there is nothing more real than being afraid and unsure.
we are creatures who crave control, stability, certainty,
comfort. yet we are also creatures prone to being out
of control, unstable, uncertain and, despite our attempts
otherwise, prone to ending up out of our comfort zones.
i think we deceive ourselves when we claim we are choosing
to get out of our comfort zones. we are biased in this regards.
we will never, of our own doing, willingly walk into sinking sand.
we will always
before we fall.
we will always
tiptoe our way
in this past season, there has been a lot of change,
a lot of chaos, tears, wrestling, praying, yawning, etc.
saying goodbyes, packing boxes,
scrubbing sinks and walls and tiles,
starving my heart and mind of fear,
fumbling through emails and diaries,
tumbling through planes and alarms.
there is only so much we can tolerate of chaos,
only so long we can walk in the dark without
trying to find a light, something we can see.
and there is only so long we can handle
unknowns and uncertainty before we
suddenly lose our ability to handle anything.
it is a threatening existence in the dark;
to be engulfed in known unknowns.
this is only terrain for the
daring, dangerous hearts
hearts willing to fight fear, to find light;
hearts willing to walk into sinking sand.
let’s talk about what denotes
a daring, dangerous heart
in scriptures, the heart is said to be deceitful:
“the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
how interesting, that last rhetoric – we cannot know
what life has to hold (life in the abstract noun sense),
but neither can we know,
what life has to hold (life in the concrete noun sense).
for life is defined as a state of living, the ability to
breathe, grow, reproduce. when life is lost, or life is
risked, or life is saved – this changes our state of living.
the state of life is always defined, one way or another,
whether we care to admit it or not, life is both:
concrete (physical, tangible, in the real world)
abstract (conceptual, intangible, an idea not real)
when something is concrete it can be known
through our senses, it is a characteristic of reality.
when something is abstract it can be known
only by intellect, it does not exist to be touched.
is this not the most insightful yet intimidating
contradiction, juxtaposition, paradox to discover?
that life itself is both concrete and abstract,
both a known and unknown state of reality.
our hearts are deceived into believing there is more:
more of life to be given and received
more of life to be spent and earned
more of life to be dreamed and desired
more of life to be obtained and orchestrated
Christmas and New Years are deceptive
just as we learn from scripture
that our hearts too can be deceptive:
we do not know what there is truly to offer
when we strip back the commercialised
and christianised offerings of *this* season
what is left? what is to be gained?
our hearts deceive us when we confuse
concrete and abstract, when we apply
mental states and emotions to unknowns
(imagined futures, illusions of control)
and also when we assign meaning to
characteristics of the physical world
that are tainted by our own perceptions.
(for example, we apply meaning to constructs
that are divinely inspired, and designed to
point us to supernatural truth and wisdom,
and we derive meaning from constructs that
are man-made attempts at societal control.
but. for political integrity i won’t provide examples)
we live in a messy, world. greeted by a messy message
of a saviour who arrives into this world into animal-chaos;
into a manger, a stable of all places, an environment far
from law-abiding, purity-claiming, health-regulating…
and yet this saviour comes to deliver us from said chaos,
is willing to enter into, to inhabit said chaos, and enters
into this chaos of a world, of a kingdom, to demonstrate his
kingship, his alignment, his dominion, his power, his place,
in another kingdom, a kingdom that cannot be shaken…
a kingdom he has been destined to bring to this earth.
it truly sounds crazy, but chaos makes us another form
of crazy, and at least this other historic, supernatural,
divinely-inspired crazy offers a long-term solution, a
pre-mediated, pre-ordained hope for past, present, future,
for life and death; this side of the grave and the other side,
for the concrete and the abstract forms of reality and life.
it’s silly season, but maybe it’s not so silly to take
chaos and turn it into something that defies concrete
and abstract definition; the christian faith is not a rigid,
religious, un-acquainted faith of those who are out of touch
with society and suffering, those removed from chaos, no.
christian faith is for those who choose hope, who choose to
see when there is nothing to be seen, who choose to see
when there is light in the darkness, who choose to see hope in
the wilderness, hope and healing in the aching and breaking.
we start to reflect this time of year on what the new year holds
for us. my prayer is you might choose to weigh up what holds
weight beyond the concrete and abstract definitions of life;
what holds weight in eternity? what is truly important to you?
what will you prioritise next year, that has been placed on your
heart for a divine-inspired purpose for fulfilment?
our hearts are vulnerable to emotion
but they are engulfed by this:
an eternal chorus of renewed joy.
i know for myself, and for many,
this is a scary season for the
daring, dangerous hearts, those
who are willing to touch the real,
raw, fragile, hurting, impenetrable
wounding of our current society.
joy is the silliest, craziest concept for our society
in this current context, our society is too afraid
to feel, to embrace, to adopt anything other than
auto-pilot mode, covid-safe-plan-mode. yet…
we are emerging. we are finding new normals.
and in these normals. joy must be prioritised.
we have been tested and tried. we know what
it means to deny the self of joy and life. and we
are ready to choose joy. so what does an offer
for renewed joy even mean? a joy that does not
exist on a worldly spectrum but an other-worldly one.
if we consult the scriptures, they speak of:
“joy” to be experienced when we meet trials (james 1:2)
and “joy” to be experienced as a fruit of the spirit (galatians 5:22)
and “joy” that is to be great and for all (luke 2:10)
and “joy” that is to be in us, and be full (john 15:11)
and the “joy” that was set before Jesus,
when he endured the Cross (hebrews 12:2)
and the “joy” that is found in hope, in patience in tribulation,
in being constant in prayer (romans 12:12).
and the list goes on. there are too many references to joy.
renewed joy is multi-faceted, it is intentional, is is encompassing,
this joy that Jesus offers is the joy that meets you right where you are at.
it is a joy that is not circumstantial. it is a joy that is eternal.
accept joy. accept this joy. let this joy be your priority in 2023.
blessings. joy. peace. love. and joy. renewed joy. eternal joy.