In everything I’ve ever done….I’ve always been on the extreme end of it: horses, alcohol, work, Swiss Cake Rolls, iced coffee, writing, art, cleaning, Candy Crush. (I’ve spent money on Candy Crush….don’t share that.) I’ve never been able to function any other way: Excess. Extreme. Lack of sleep. 90 mph.
Why does a box of Swiss Cake Rolls only cost $1.79? How is that possible?
I realized something yesterday… I’ve spent approximately 52.2875% of my life running from God…. and because I do everything to the extreme….. you can guarantee I was running to the nth degree.
First… some trivia:
How many pages of a composition book can you fill up before the ink in a brand new Pilot G-2 pen runs out?
Answer: 57 pages.
How do I know that? Because I wrote FIFTY SEVEN PAGES of notes in my journal yesterday. I can’t feel my right arm. If writing is an exercise….. I think my bicep just got a little bigger. It’s not that I had a stroke of brilliance….. it’s because I sat for the last two days in a leadership conference….glued to every word. The funny thing is I signed up for the conference mostly on a whim because, well, I just like to learn about stuff. I crave observation. I crave information. I’m curious to the extreme.
I win!!! (what?! it wasn’t a competition?!)
And so yep….I sat for 2 days in a summit listening to great leaders. And I don’t even think any description I could give would do it justice….just know that I hung onto every single word. Heck, I wrote every single word….57 pages worth to be exact. Somehow I ended up at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit…. me…..a girl in her flip flops….who obsesses over things like typewriters and donuts and Little House on the Prairie. And guess what….one of the speakers was wearing flip flops. It was 14 of the most inspirational, life changing hours I’ve ever sat through. Go check out all the speakers…. and follow each and every one.
A friend called me the other day and after some chit chat said: you know….I really called because I wanted to ask you something….how are you so sure there’s a God?
Wait, what?! Why would anyone want to know that from me? I don’t talk about God. I’m not qualified to answer these questions.
And I tried to put something into words but I’m sure it sounded something like the synopsis of Ben Hur mixed in with the movie White Noise sprinkled with some generic “thin place” references and an exorcism. And then I said: maybe because I’ve done everything imaginable to try and leave God in my dust. I’ve told him I don’t care. I’ve told him I don’t have time. I’ve told him good riddance. But…
….he never once left.
And if I try any harder to ignore him I think I might have to be institutionalized.
I really did try to leave God in my dust. God has thick skin though….or maybe he doesn’t have any skin. Invisible skin? Oh whatever….the fact is he’s over stuff before stuff even happens. That’s a great model to follow. God is so darn smart. And think of how much stuff happens in ALL OF TIME.
At a very young age I was immersed in Christianity. Seriously…..24/7. Fast forward to middle school….at that age I decided I wanted nothing to do with God. Nothing really significant happened…. except my brother and sister started going to a private Christian school and I remained at a private secular school. Maybe it was part of some secret experiment to see how different siblings would turn out in different educational environments. Soon after that I began trying to convince my very religious family that God was a myth. The weird thing is…. I didn’t believe that. Maybe it was boredom. Maybe it was some influence at school. I’ve got a ton of theories…..but I think it was just easier to deny him than to have to face him. My mom would talk about God at home and I’d experience what I thought were surely internal seizures triggered by scripture. She’d say God Bless You to perfect strangers and I’d turn beet red, die of embarrassment, and walk 4,000 yards ahead of her.
In high school I announced my conversion to Buddhism. One of my teachers was a Buddhist…..I wanted to be like him. Teacher is cool….I want to be cool….ergo I will become a Buddhist. Then, in college I went even further…. I would drink myself into oblivion and wake up next to people I’d never seen before. I vowed: I will be the LAST girl at every party….surely then God will leave me alone! And I took classes on reincarnation and Eastern religions and watched the movie Little Buddha 432 times. God: I’m here.
What the heck?! Why is he still here? What does he want from me? So then I’d go to church….in the same clothes I was wearing the night before….sometimes still drunk…..and only because my dad gave me 20 bucks if I mailed the bulletin home. I’d sit in the upper balcony with earphones on and listen to Wu-Tang. See God…I’m. so. not. interested. God: I know. Still here though.
Ugh…… and I’d do ridiculously faux intellectual things like destroying a Bible in the name of art. Oh yes, I literally sawed a Bible into strips and painstakingly wove the pieces together into a fabric…. and then I made that fabric into a intricate backpack. It took hours and hours and hours. My professor looked a little disturbed….but only for a second…because you can do anything if you label it ART. Jackpot. I filled the backpack with stones, carried it into class and declared kind of like I pictured Moses doing with the Ten Commandments: THIS IS MY BURDEN. I got an A. God: Wow good effort. And you even thought about me a little while cutting up my book.
And I could go on like this for 100 pages but I’ll cut to the chase….I didn’t think I fit the “Christian” mold. Growing up I had this picture of what a Christian was supposed to look like.….and honestly I didn’t want to look like that. I’m unapologetically messy. I live in extremes. I run from politics. I don’t bond with people over gossip and judgment. I like telling people about all the crappy stuff I’ve done. I don’t like ceremonies, rituals and doing stuff just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” And if you tell me “well that’s just the way it’s always been done” I’ll roll my eyes, throw a silent tantrum, and mutter under my breath:
Well that’s not the way I do it.
I’m the self-proclaimed-queen-of-going-rogue.
PSA: THERE IS NO “CHRISTIAN” MOLD. AND IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU OTHERWISE I DOUBT YOU WANT TO FIT INTO THAT ANYWAY. THAT’S LIKE MOLDY-CHEESE MOLD. FUNGUS.
Here’s the deal: There is one day….in everyone’s life….that will be a halfway point…..the day on which you have less days left to live than you have lived already. And I wonder…..have I passed it already?! I came pretty close to the end a few times. And my dad died at 65. He lived a full life in those 65 years…some part of me thinks that God told him what his halfway point was. And I’ve already lived past his halfway point….that puts things into perspective….and I realized that I don’t want to spend any minute of any day doing things that don’t really matter to God. I want to experience, and learn, and grow, and teach, and inspire other people somehow. I want to make other people feel welcome because I never really did. I want to tell people that have been discouraged in the past: you just haven’t found the right place yet…..keep looking…..or better yet, if you can summon some courage, reach out to those people who aren’t doing their church any favors. Those people could probably use your help and just haven’t found the courage themselves.
Oh, and God didn’t sneak up on me…..he was always there….I just stopped resisting at some point. And I started listening. And yes sometimes I still try not to listen. He points me in one direction and I take the first detour. But then it’s like he moves the earth so I’m back on that road he had me on in the first place…..because God can move the earth you know. He’s so awesome like that. And I argue a little, second guess him, and just want to take the easy way out but then he sweetens the deal with this feeling of right. And I think things that feel right matter.
Oh, and you can’t argue with awesome.
So I just wanted to tell you today:
a Christian committed to Christ.
I want to do things that matter to God.
I’ll share more about what I learned later.