Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Total Impact

Lately, I've been thinking about the idea of "total impact" and asking myself this question: What (if anything) has the power to have total impact on my life? And in contrast to that question, what would remain the same, untouched and unmoved upon impact.

In conversations this past week, I heard stories of people's growth, of maturity, of being less afraid and open to new things and I also heard people panic at the latest news tweet as if it rocked their whole world. At this morning's memorial service, we heard stories of longing for health to improve and then grief . . . as our friend faced reality and made plans for the probable outcome. His words . . ."God is good".  Illness was the impact and it changed many things for him and for his family, but the un-moveable? His love for God and his loved ones.

Airplanes give instructions to show us how to brace for impact. The goal is to lean into it while preserving life and avoiding injury as much as possible. It's not about denying or avoiding the reality of the impact. That would be ridiculous. It is about seeing it and bracing for it. It is about preserving what is already good. 

Today I helped set up a display for our friend's funeral. It was an interesting exercise to place significant items, physical items, on a stand that represented who he was and what life was about for him. I reflected, as most people do, what might be on my display someday . . .

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So when those impact moments come in our lives, what will we want to preserve? What can we let go of that doesn't really matter? And if we want to preserve something, that means that it must be very valuable to us. It must be evident in our calendars, in our budget, in our priorities, in our speech, our to-do lists and in the way we spend our energy. If it is the most valuable treasure, then everything in our lives would be centered around preserving it and protecting it as much as possible from total impact.  At the core, I think all this pondering is about purpose.

Jesus understood purpose. He climbed a hill together with his disciples and as they sat down to learn from him, this is how Jesus addressed the unspoken question of the heart, "What am I here for? What is my purpose?"

Jesus said, "You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Let's take time this week to see where our purpose is. Let's ask God to reveal the areas in our lives that we've been preserving that perhaps we need to let go of. Let's listen, wait, pray and allow God to speak clearly into our lives so that we can be "light, bringing out the God-colors in the world!" I like that job description. I think my light needs some dusting - perhaps that is what God has been showing me. :)