This is what writers do: they stay up to the wee hours of the early morning re-typing the same sentence over & over until it accurately oozes out the feeling they intended.
Here I am.
Doing just that.
My original promise to myself was to get to bed early tonight. It’s the end of a “restful break”, which actually wasn’t too restful after-all, & I know I need the sleep.
None-the-less, here I am. Still wide-eyed & thinking over the recent musings of my heart.
Do you ever just crave certain things? I’m not talking about In’n’Out fries or your grandma’s homemade chocolate chip, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Even though, yes, I do crave those sometimes, too. What I’m really talking about are the things that are difficult to describe; the things that aren't easily understood.
Those are the things you can’t just purchase at your nearest In’n’Out for $1.95 (or whatever the price is---I don’t go that often *wink).
I crave to experience more of the unseen. Some of that remains mere concept, yet to be realized in my own life, but I know they’re there, waiting for me to taste of their sweetness. I know the unseen is real; I feel it often. It’s proved in the soft voice of a friend & the internal warmth you feel when you worship. It’s also something I know to be true because it was written about long ago by a man that had intimately experienced a glimpse of the unseen world & had mastered a hope of a day that he would be completely immersed in it:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV
Do you think relationships are included in that statement? I know the context of this passage is surrounded by the topic of earthly affliction & the exhortation to aim far beyond what we might experience here on earth, but wonder with me for just a moment. Our relationships are only proved by our acknowledgement of them, would you agree? There is no tangible proof of a connection---no paper can prove that I love you. Only that belief that I do & your experience of that love can prove that to the both of us. So maybe it’s not so much that I crave the unseen world, no matter what form it takes---maybe I crave the unseen world of loving, real, and stripped down, honest relationships.
We all do, don’t we? We all want that which is felt deeply, not just known within our heads. Knowledge of information is great…it has it's purpose. But it isn’t the greatest of all things. The greatest of all things is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Love is a multitude of things. It can morph into new shapes depending on the need of the recipient. But I think the common thread of all expressions of love towards one another is a desire to a.) know the other person; & b.) to give something to them. In all cases, loving one another well guarantees us to walk away both having received & experienced a greater depth of the other’s life, as well as giving to them a greater depth of ourselves.
It’s this exchange of the unseen that ushers us into the type of relationships we all desire deeply.
You see, I am haunted by a sober affection for those things that move us, whether deep despair or elated celebrations. I crave that which moves my heart.
And genuine, authentic, open-armed people move my heart.
Not the excluders---the ones whose lives hold up a big, obnoxious sign that says, “Invitation only. All others not welcome.”
No, I’m not impressed by the exclusives.
I am moved & profoundly filled with joy by the people who openly offer a smile, a moment to chat, & a genuine desire to know who you are.
The One who is the most perfect example of those qualities, Jesus himself, offers you & me the opportunity to experience that very thing in Him first. He holds nothing back from us. He’s never disengaged. Always present. His love is never broken or selfish. When He corrects me (which happens often), He speaks with daring honesty & a gentleness that woos me to His arms. He shakes up my attitude & awakens my spirit to seeing where I could use a little (or probably a lot) more of His thoughts instead of mine. He challenges me to desire the demolition of my own way & the learning of being that genuine, authentic, open-armed kind of person I’d want to encounter if I were to meet myself.
Real life moment of honesty for ya: Sometimes I catch myself doing this thing when I meet new people: I observe & wait to take in the reaction of others towards me to determine how I will respond to them. It’s a terrible way to interact with others, really. It basically says, “If you accept me, I’ll accept you. If you approve of me, I’ll approve of you. If not, we’ll both be standing here soaking in our insecurity & lack of effort.” It’s the exact opposite of what Jesus came to establish among us. It’s cross-armed & hesitant, lacks confidence & is rooted in fear of rejection. It’s nothing of what Christ desires for me or you.
It’s nothing of what He is.
It’s nothing of what I want to be.
My prayer this Monday morning is that you will find yourself here in this space that I have found myself in as well: Desiring to be seen as who God designed you to be & loved all the more for it. I pray that you are stirred up & inspired to chase after something more than the status quo of relationships that we’re tempted to accept every day, beginning with your relationship with the Lord. To take off the straight jacket of pride & fear and instead throw on the beautiful cloak equally adorned of confidence & tenderness. I pray that the deceptive comfort of isolation & the “I’m independent” attitude would fall off your eyes like scales & you would be revived in your acknowledgement of your need for Jesus, as well as others. I pray that you would walk out your door this morning committed to living with your arms open & your heart willing to share itself purely in its entirety.
Be brave with me, won't you?
Alexa | Joy