Galatians 4:7 “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Galatians 4:9 “But no that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
Galatians 4:16 “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
I feel these verses so deeply in every part of me these days. Why do we keep putting ourselves back into our chains? Why do we do this? Why can’t we actually live free? We are no longer slaves.
I told a student this past weekend that as much as we do not want to admit it, we want our chains. Because if we were actually free, so much more would be required of us.
“Will this ever get old, do you think?” “NO. There is NO WAY THIS COULD EVER GET OLD.” Wrote a little thing for RELEVANT MAGAZINE. Enjoy! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you might not know that it is also my HALF BIRTHDAY. If I wasn’t already sure of how much Jesus loves me, […]
This past weekend I was at a Beth Moore conference that was nothing short of amazing. It was not your typical Beth Moore conference; it was geared specifically for women in their twenties and thirties who are passionate about and feel called to teach and write about the Bible. Beyond anything else, I walked away with a renewed sense of passion for the Scriptures and for intimacy with Jesus.
So I came home and was determined to be in my Bible, which has been a rare occurrence in recent months. I analyzed my daily liturgy to see where I was wasting time and where I could make room for what really matters.
I started in Galatians, and barely made it through chapter one. I was struck by the way Paul starts this letter with his story. He is reminding the church in Galatia of their need for the Gospel – the true Gospel. In order to convince them of this, he tells his story.
I wake up with that familiar pit in my stomach. Anxiety sits on my stomach like an overweight toddler, waking me up from my sleep. And then God’s voice says: Who are you inviting to sit at your table?
Oh wait, Fear and Shame, how the heck did you two get a seat here? You didn’t. You actually weren’t invited. You show up uninvited all the time. You come in like loud, obnoxious children – acting like you own the place. The worst kind of party crashers.
But this is my table. My mind. My heart. I don’t actually want you here.
Hey. Let’s all take a deep breathe together, shall we? Don’t speak. Don’t complain. Can we all, just for a second, sit together in silence? Can we take a moment to just be together? Yes, because when we do that – we take a moment in the quiet and see each other for what we really are – brothers and sisters. When we look each other in the eyes, and see each other’s hearts, we can’t hide anymore. We can’t call each other names or judge each other – we just see each other. For the love of Pete, stop posting mean things on Facebook. OVER IT.
It’s been a hard little while, hasn’t it? Let’s just be real about it – life is hard. There won’t be a time in the history of a broken world where we aren’t just that: broken. So let’s realize that hard will always be here, but what do we know about that? There is always good and hard. They are never separate.
“In church on Sunday we participate in a liturgy – a ritualized way of worship – that we repeat each week and by which we are transformed. Even those traditions that claim to be freeform or nonliturgical include practices and patterns in worship. Therefore, the question is not whether we have a liturgy. The question is, ‘What kind of people is our liturgy forming us to be?’” (Liturgy of the Ordinary, 30-31)
I’m reading this new book (if you need a recommendation here it is), Liturgy of the Ordinary. It takes the daily activities of our lives (waking up, brushing our teeth, eating leftovers, checking email, etc.) and transforms them into spiritual practices with deep meaning. Overall, it is a reminder that every small part of our lives is important. Everything has meaning.
I’ve been particularly struck by the quote above, specifically the final lines: “The question is not whether we have a liturgy. The question is, ‘What kind of people is our liturgy forming us to be?’”
A few months ago a friend was dealing with a difficult situation. I won’t go into detail because it’s her situation, not mine (sorry not sorry, you nosey people!). It was one of those moments where I asked her how she was, and she just burst into tears like she couldn’t hold it all in one more moment. She explained the situation, and then talked about how in the midst of it everyone and their mom (my exaggeration, not hers) had an opinion about it. Isn’t that the way it goes? Everyone always has an opinion. And sometimes those opinions are less than helpful.
All she really needed was someone to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and probably a big glass of red wine. And a cheese plate. We always need a cheese plate.
A few days later, I texted her just to tell her I was praying for her, and added at the end: #imwith___ (insert friend’s name here. Anonymity is my specialty, ok?) Yes, this was inspired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan. Don’t freak out.
Since then, I have loved this idea. No matter the situation, no matter what someone is going through, that is I want them to know above all else. I’m with you.
So we are entering into New Years season; I hope you are prepared for everyone to be screaming, “new year, new you!” at you with their peppy workout plans and Instagram goals. In all seriousness though, I’m all about goal setting, and I love thinking about new themes for new years. If I am around you anytime in the next month, expect me to ask you about that.
But this year something feels different, a little deeper. God has been walking me out of a season of burnout, and into a season of living fully alive. He has asked me to give up some things, some easy and some much harder. But I am choosing to say the hard no in order to experience the new yeses He has for me in the future. I have no idea what these new yeses are, other than a few hatching dreams, which is the beauty of this newness. And when I realized and admitted that saying no feels a whole lot like quitting or failure, He said it again: “No, I am inviting you into a new season.”
Well friends, it is our last week of Advent. (As far as the Christmas season goes.) The final theme is LOVE. I have been contemplating how crazy it is to be loved.
Then I think of that song that says, “It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone.” I think it’s dumb. Maybe I am not understanding what he is going for, but it seems nuts to me. I mean seriously, it is INSANE to be loved by anyone. It is actually mind-blowing.
Here is a silly little example: Every time someone calls me Kal, my heart could just actually burst. I lose it because I feel known and loved.
I’ll be honest; I’m struggling with JOY.
Remember the first week of Advent where I said of the weekly themes (Hope, Peace, JOY, Love): “In the church we toss these words at people like fuzzy blankets, all happy and glittery. In reality they have depth and strength to them that are highly underrated”? Gosh. I keep coming back to that. This world is messy and hard and broken. I mean seriously – my heart is breaking over Aleppo. Not to mention all the other heart wrenching events of this year. And JOY – it seems the most fuzzy and glittery of them all.