Three Questions…

Another one in the books.  Another 365 days, the slow grind of a year, that now glancing back, feels more like a runaway train. Today I take pause before the train leaves the station of 2023, and ask myself three questions.  Perhaps one of these will resonate with you. 

Did I view myself as God does? If I did, that means I thought his thoughts toward me. With the bar that high, it’s hard to imagine any of us broke par. But perhaps last year was an improvement, a little lighter on the shoulders, a bit more winsome in the peregrinations.  Perhaps, but only perhaps, we heard a voice call our name more than once, and we responded by clamoring to be with Him in our private moments of prayer.  There, in solitude and confined by love, we basked in a renewal of the vows we made on our wedding day, the day we were birthed into His love, and decided no better, no other, no more dates with the world, no more one-night stands.  I came across a quote late in 2022, and it at first confused me, then unsettled me, but then comforted me: “When the common realities of life are back lit by assertions that we are made in the divine image and are sparkling, beautiful diamonds on their way back to their proper setting, we can see things about ourselves that suffering and pleasure cannot teach us.”

It matters how I think God thinks about me.

Did I give God my best?  If I’m honest, there were moments I did not.  During my first medical emergency (there were two), I descended into what can only be described as a dark night, where I felt myself falling and had no ability whatsoever to stop its blinding pain, and the ensuing anxiety. It was during those days I sat with God, feeling like an anchorite, apart from everyone but Ginnette, wondering how long, how far this ache would continue to descend.  I would sit by the lake and envy the otter that swam by me wearing a smile, laughing it seemed for nothing but being buoyant and alive.  Oh, how I wanted to feel buoyant and alive again.  The lesson in all of it?  There will be times when I have nothing but fear, and a sense of displacement, to offer to God.  When the river of delight is poisoned at the headwaters, and there’s nothing to offer Him, I learned he is pleased.  That’s right, pleased with me, and only me. When that dawned on me one night as I struggled with self-pity, my world became a shimmering island of hope.  I literally got up and danced around my office, with an energy I didn’t know I had.

It matters that what I do matters less than who I am. 

Did I offer love to the unlovable?  We all have them.  These beautifully made creatures, designed by God to drive us bonkers, drive us inward to seek grace from God, and drive us to the end of our ability to love.  Who is that for you? I hope you’re smiling now.  If love is the final rung on the ladder we climb toward maturity in Christ, I for one feel like I’m just putting my hand on the first rung, looking up the steep ascent and asking, with a runway as short as mine, will I ever even get on the ladder?  Love is the steepest and costliest ascent a man or woman will make in their lifetime.  There are many pursuits, many vocations, many virtuous moments, but all pall before the decisive moment when nothing inside of us wants to, every atom is justified against extending kindness, yet a small whisper breaks the chain of our enslavement, and we reach toward another with humility. When that happens, we are closer than ever to the image of God, and we have grasped the final rung.   

It matters when we tap the love of God in us. 

May the coming year fill your mind with God’s thoughts of you, free your heart from the mad dash, and tap a wellspring of kindness resting and ready in your soul. 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Will Daines says:

    I pray for the Lord’s continued strengthening of your body. May He continue the mentoring process in you and through you for His glory!

  2. kevinjyoung says:

    Thanks, Will! Appreciate your encouragement!

  3. daylerogers says:

    Your words offer solace for the journey, for His love and provision are our enough. And you put it so beautifully. Who was the quote from? I, too, felt the tug of confusion and the hope of what will be.

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