Declaration of Dependence

I’m heading off to summer camp in a couple minutes, but wanted to share something with you guys before I took off. In light of this holiday, I think that this journal entry I wrote during Spring Break has a lot to say about freedom and dependence.

 

3/15/13

The Grand Canyon is the biggest thing I have ever seen. Sitting on the rim gives you chills. I feel so small. If I didn’t believe in a creator God who loves me, this small feeling would be belitting. Sitting on the edge of such a magnificent place would make me feel insignificant. I’d ask myself what hope I have in making an impact in a world too big to wrap my mind around. Why try? Why not just go with the flow, pursue happiness, and know my place? How naïve would I be to think that I could change this place.

I sit on the ledge and I read romans 8. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or nakedness or danger or sword?” “In all things, we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I am small but He isn’t and He loves me. So I sit with the assurance that I am loved and yet perspective that I am small. On my own, I can’t put a dent in this world. So I’ll have a confident humility in Christ, that He loves me, wants to invite me into the beautiful story He is weaving throughout the cosmos, and will use me to glorify Himself.

We sat there right on the cliff, close enough to where the tourists were taking pictures of the foolish 19 year olds instead of the endless canyon they had came to see. We sat there and we worshipped the God who carved that canyon, the God who looks down on our messy, small selves and says we’re worth dying for. Music trickled out of my dingy I-pod speaker and we worshipped.

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God my Savior has ransomed me, and like a flood, His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace.”

“O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to thee. Let they goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee.”

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

This trip, the beauty of creation, the truth of a Creator, and the love of my brothers, makes it harder to wander. It makes it so much more clear that I am delightfully constrained to grace. It makes it so much easier to leave behind the chains and walk in the freedom of His love.

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Jesus sets us free when we realize how freeing it is to be constrained to His grace and forgiveness.

On the day that we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence as a country, I want to celebrate a declaration of dependence. We’re dependent on the love and mercy of our God. And from that place of dependence, He sets us free. He calls us to follow Him and promises that where we’re going is more freeing than anything this world has to offer.

Happy fourth y’all.  

 

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Spring Break 2013: Prisms and Rivers

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3/9/13

Everyone must leave. Everyone has to leave their home and come back again to love it for all new reasons. I want to keep my soul fertile to change. Our minds were meant to figure things out, not read the same page. – Donald Miller in Through Painted Deserts 

I have left. I left the essays and assigments and obligations. At college, the love I show is a mile wide and an inch deep. It’s hard to love people at school, where life is fast and my planner fills up. It’s easy to love activities and agendas centered around people instead of people themselves. Lunch meetings, life groups, accountability partners, service projects, even my Lent journey, love is behind all of it in the true sense of the word “behind.” Love shines through those things, those activities that fill up my task-oriented and efficient life. The love shines through but it feels fragmented and diluted.

Love on this trip needs to be different. It needs to be unfiltered. This trip has no agenda, so the love shouldn’t run on schedule. It should just be. This has me thinking of analogies for love. A prism doesn’t produce light. It simply is there. Light shines through it and, for reasons I learned and forgot in physics class, it makes the color spectrum visible. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos, and violets, they were contained within that original light but they weren’t visible. Maybe our role in this world is to be prisms, taking God’s infinite glory and grandeur and reflecting all its intricacies and complexities, making them more visible to a world with cloudy eyes.

Love on this trip also needs to be effortless, not in the sense that it isn’t intentional but in the sense that it doesn’t feel laborious or burdensome. Love so often feels like I’m canoeing across a lake, putting everything behind each stroke, sweat dripping from my brow, shoulders burning. I wonder if it couldn’t be more like rafting down a river. God the Father would be the river, the context and definer of what love even is. Jesus would be the one who chartered the river, who rafted it to perfection, flawlessly navigating every rapid that seeks to destroy or distract from the perfection of His love. The Holy Spirit would be the current, the one who, when abided in, makes the journey possible just like it was for Jesus, not laborious or burdensome but full of vitality and joy.

I scribble this blue ink on a white page as we drive West on I-40. Jared is speeding but the calm of the early morning make the pace feel natural. The seven of us headed out in the Camry and CRV fourteen hours prior. The quote earlier about leaving comes from the perfect backdrop for this journey, Through Painted Deserts on tape by Donald Miller. The prose we tune into while the familiar narrative sections give us time to think about our own narrative as it unfolds. What kind of a story are we writing? What kind of a story are we going to write?

Bill has been the MVC(Most Valuable Camper) so far. He’s sleeping in the backseat and Jared compares him to the little Asian kid from The Goonies. I think He’s more like Byongsong from kicking and screaming. So far we have found out that back in Vietnam, Bill’s mom taught him a healthy appreciation for ABBA and John Denver.

Shadows of snow-covered cliffs are beginning to appear as a train and us make our way through a canyon just past Gallup, Arizona. Huge hand-printed billboards advertising Indian moccasins and petrified wood let us know we are finally away. As the sun comes up, it is clear that we have left in every sense of the word. We left to rest. We left to learn how our love can start to look more like prisms and rivers. And we left so we could come back and love better.