Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year of Being Reckless

It sounded like a crazy resolution, even to me. It was only my second year to do the One Word project, and while other people chose great concepts like "enough" or "gratitude" or "grace," I felt God leading me to something different, something radical. My one word resolution was "reckless." It was a choice that raised a few eyebrows. Where did "reckless" fit into my faith?

Two things inspired it: Jeremy Camp's song by the same name, and Francis Chan's book Crazy Love. I realized that I've spent most of my life playing it safe - to paraphrase Francis Chan, I've spent my life hugging the balance beam, trying to love God and be safe. (See the video at the end of this post for his balance beam analogy.) But "safe" doesn't do great things for God - reckless does. I decided that in 2013, it was time to start living with reckless faith.

I was terrified. I'm a very quiet person by nature. It takes me a while to open up to people. I'm introverted. I'm cautious. I want to make smart, safe decisions. Suddenly God was telling me to do the opposite - take chances, risk failure, put my heart out there and risk it all. So I stepped out on shaky legs of faith and took the first leap.

True to my goals, 2013 has been a year of crazy leaps of faith. It's been a year of leaving fear behind - or sometimes facing my fears head-on and moving forward in spite of them. It's also been one of the most exciting years of my entire life.

Here are a few highlights from my year of being reckless:

1. Entering (and winning) my first fiction contest, judged by one of my favorite authors, Steven James

2. Graduating from college

3. Learning to boogie board (sort of) - Boogie Boards and Big Dreams
4. Leaving my insurance office job without another permanent job to go to
5. Starting my dental hygiene career
6. Querying a magazine for the first time
7. Submitting my first short story to a magazine - it was accepted! You can read it in the February 2014 issue of Splickety Love magazine
8. Finally openly sharing my dream of writing - and calling myself a writer - Dreamer and Hello I'm a Writer

It wasn't always an easy year. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a coward. I fought fear and stress so many times. I battled panic attacks. I must have asked God a thousand times, "Are You sure about this?" He always whispered reassurance and nudged me to keep going, and He never left my side.

I've definitely spent a lot of time outside my comfort zone this year. I've changed and grown. The biggest lesson I've learned: God is faithful. If He calls you to do something, He will walk beside you and give you strength to accomplish it. He will celebrate with you when you finish it. When you step out in faith, He will open doors you never dreamed of and help you do things you never imagined.

My year of being reckless changed my life. It changed who I am. In 2014, I'll continue moving ahead with my crazy, reckless dreams, trusting God to lead me into amazing adventures.

(I couldn't get the balance beam video to embed, but you can follow this link to watch it on YouTube:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Deliverer is Coming

Exodus 2:2-10

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Baby Moses floating in the Nile River may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Christmas, but follow my thinking for a minute. 

It's hard to wrap my mind around Pharaoh's evil choices. I can't even begin to imagine the fear Moses' mother must have felt. She'd done all she could to protect her son, so she put him in God's hands - and God delivered not only him, but the entire nation through him. Her son was sent to save his people, and God kept him safe.

Do you see it? The foreshadowing in Exodus is so powerful! Pharaoh sentenced all baby boys to death, just as Herod would do. One child was miraculously saved - first Moses, then one day, Jesus.

It reminds me of the Rich Mullins song "My Deliverer." It talks about Jesus, while He lived in Egypt when Joseph and Mary fled their home to keep Him safe. It talks about Him hearing songs the captive children used to sing. My favorite line, though, has to be, "Jesus heard the whole world cry for the healing that would flow from His own scars - the world was singing, my Deliverer is coming..." 

Even before the time of Moses, the world was crying out for the Savior, the deliverer promised from the very beginning. Long before Jesus came to earth, God was already telling His story, whispering a promise that He had not forgotten. No matter how dark things seemed, God was working. He kept His promises. He always does - so this Christmas, and every day, we celebrate.