Forward motion. It’s harder than it sounds, yet also simpler.
Perspective. Perspective is everything. Perspective kills or builds. When it builds, we experience life. Life propels us forward to take ground.
Choice. Every moment presents a multitude of choices. We often don’t realize this, but there is never a time when we don’t have a choice. Without fail, we will always be offered the option to embrace peace and joy, or to surrender to our circumstances.
We’ve got to remember that neither circumstances nor the choices of others define our experience in this life or our identity. If you haven’t figured it out yet, placing your security in something other than the goodness of God will inevitably incur disappointment. We cling to things, and for good reason. Believe me, I get it. These attachments hold a certain validity. We find solace in the things that allow us to feel safe, to be ourselves, or express what can’t be expressed in any other way. This could be a relationship, it could be a career, it could be an art form, or even a haven like a home or vacation spot. They promise us consistency; it’s why we’re drawn to them, like a moth to flame. We feel that if everything else fails, we will always have this one thing. These are wonderful things, they really are. But if the way we experience life is wrapped up in them, I’m sorry to say we’ll be let down.
Life is a fight. Every day is a war. Most of the war takes place in our minds and our thought life. This is why our thoughts are everything, and we can’t ignore the mind battles or deny the thoughts that assail us. There’s a reason Jesus told us to keep our minds on things above, on the things that cannot be destroyed. Things like love, peace, the goodness of God, his promises to never leave us, and the beauty we can know for eternity in his kingdom. Because when all else fails, he is the one thing that remains. His goodness assures us that it will all turn out splendidly in the end. It is this assurance that creates an experience of this life that is filled with peace at every turn. Abundant life.
See, we are meant to live with passion. To live from passion. And we must not allow our passion to disintegrate merely because circumstances don’t look ideal, we’re bored with our job, or we’re struggling with various hardships. This world festers in darkness, but we can light it up. Perspective creates or destroys, and we have the choice what perspective to embrace. Again, if we choose to believe in goodness and the consistent power of love, we will have the strength to move forward despite resistance, despite less than ideal circumstances.
I’ve realized some things in the past months. I think some of my passions laid dormant for a while because I allowed my circumstances to determine how I experienced life. Without fully realizing it, I was dead in a lot of ways, because the things in my heart that made me come most alive were not being wielded or acknowledged on a daily basis. Now, none of these things are my source of security and life in and of themselves, but what I’m seeing is that I cannot neglect them just because I can’t see where they will take me, or if they will yield fruit. I can’t withhold investing in these passions just because I don’t feel I’ll ever be good enough. The way into the fullness of our gifts and passions is not to compare ourselves to others and wonder if we’ll ever arrive—it’s forward motion. It’s embracing the proper perspective, daily, hourly, moment by moment. It’s remembering what makes us come most alive and investing there—even if it’s a prayer of longing that we pray over and over until we see something happen.
Your lack of time, energy, resources, motivation, or even the things you wish would happen—none of those things have to define your experience of life. Trust me, I am right there with you. I get how these things can kill your passion and drain your spirit and body. But let’s hold on, shall we, to that perspective that our Creator wants our most deep-seated desires to come into fullness. He wants it more than even we do. Let’s embrace forward motion. Let’s battle the lies and the thieves. Let’s fight confusion and staleness with action and fervent pursuit. Hope is never lost.
The choice will always be ours.
I wrote the article above a couple months ago and never posted it until now. In all honesty, even since writing this it has been a daily struggle to move past the negative perspectives in my mind and press on to create beautiful things, to love the people in my path and to live with hope every day. But as I was praying the other night God so lovingly reminded me of how much I’ve been holding on. Grasping for the things I don’t think I have or holding onto how I think things should be. Clinging to lies about myself because that can be easier than admitting I’m wrong, especially when I don’t know how to break free. But all this clinging is miserable.
I was reminded again that my perception is my choice. True, we desperately need our Father to show us how he sees, but if we just ask for it with a heart that genuinely wants to move forward and see things change in our lives and our minds, trust me, he answers. In glorious, beautiful ways that we won’t see coming. Sometimes all it takes is a moment of being still inside, telling him what we feel, asking our questions, asking him to show himself again, to help us see beyond the circumstances and chaos all around and inside us. It’s amazing how often I forget to pray. Such a simple part of the Christian life, yet I neglect it for other distractions—distractions that never satisfy and never answer my questions and that in fact keep me in the cycle I loathe so much. The cycle that strangles my creativity and even my spiritual vitality.
I want to move forward. I don’t want the enemy of my soul to steal any part of my life. I don’t want fear to be so crippling that I never feel peace and I never do the things my heart wants to do. I think one of the things that helps me the most is remembering the vulnerability that Jesus chose to embrace as a man here on Earth. He understands every ache, longing, obstacle. And most probably he is more familiar with pain than we are. He possessed the same human needs that we possess. But what was it that kept him together? The love, approval, and affection of his Father, which, by the way, is something we all have. We just need to see again.
He is wrapping us in arms of affection. We are completely, utterly safe inside his heart. Storms might be blowing within and without, but we are safe. We need to know this to move forward. Because who in their right mind would step out of a boat onto thrashing waves? Only those who know there is one holding them who has the ultimate authority over all the elements, all the circumstances.
It’s safe to move forward. It’s safe.