Tag Archives: Metaphors

Put Down The Pen

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Something has become abundantly clear to me as of late: I am not as creative as the Creator.  And what’s tragic is that I often think I am more creative than the Creator.  Take the last three years of my life as an example.

January 2008 single handedly turned my life in a direction I never anticipated. As I sat looking out the window of a 747 on a Denver tarmac, trying to stifle the panic attack I felt beginning to suffocate me, a young woman sat down in the middle seat and entertained my weak attempt at “shooting the breeze.”

When we landed in  Virginia, we had exchanged stories and email addresses.  She worked for Compassion International and by the time I made it back to my dorm room for my final semester of school, I decided I wanted to work there too.

The day before I was supposed to walk across the graduation stage, I received a phone call and an offer to be one of Compassion’s first interns. I accepted without thinking twice or asking really logical questions like “Where will I live?” “Will I be paid?” and “How do you get to Colorado Springs?”

A far cry from my original plan which included pursuing corporate America, a high-rise loft in some thriving metropolis, a diversified stock portfolio, and a lucrative marriage by the age of 30. I wanted to be some sort of business prodigy; the young-gun who had impressive insight and a jaw-dropping intuition when it came to market fluctuations and global trends.

My original plan was hardly original. That story has been written. That part has been played. A lot. 

 But perhaps my plan’s biggest pitfall was that there was only one central character: me.

I am discovering that when you hold the pen and attempt to write your own story, you forget a lot of details. You pass over people and places that may not change your destination, but bring a lot more color to your pages. You think linearly, in chronological order. You color inside the lines and try not to smudge the ink. You follow story-writing rules and include only one conflict, climax, and conclusion. Afterall, who’s got time for more adventure when you think you’re running out of pages?

But the truth of the matter is that we’re not the story-writers. We do not hold the pen. We have the privilege of playing the part we have been given.  We are beautiful illustrations; unique creations of God’s brilliant imagination.  And into each one us, His characters, He places pieces of Himself for us to show to those who read us. 

We are carriers of hope, promise, and mystery.  We are enchanting, captivating, and contagious. Not because of anything we’ve done or the story we’ve written, mind you, but because of Who’s we are and the part we play.

How do we play our part?  Be available. Be willing.

Trust the Author and Perfector of your faith to take you on a journey towards the center of His heart and in that place, you will come alive.

Put down the pen and play your part.

Waves of Grace

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I love the mountains. I like looking at them. I like hiking through them. I like them from a distance. I like them up close.  There is something about their size, grandeur, and unpredictability that is absolutely captivating to me. Needless to say, I prefer mountains to water.

However, I can’t help but remember a trip I took to Hawaii years ago after high school graduation. My parents decided to stay on the boarded sidewalk and I wandered toward the sand beyond our resort. My dad used to always tell me to “blaze your own trail,” and so I find sidewalks overrated.  

I walked along the shore, letting the gentle waves wash over my feet and the breeze play with my hair. I vividly remember taking deep, slow breaths, and basking in the aroma that filled the air and soaking in the symphony that was composed on that Kauai beach.  

As I stopped to stand still  in that moment, doing my best to take heart picture of the peace I felt, a wave crashed over my ankles and my feet sank deep into the sand.  The sand tickled as it settled between my toes and as the water receded, it became firm, securing itself around me.

Another wave came, forcing its’ way in between the sand and my feet, causing my feet to sink deeper still.  And as it that wave receded, more sanded covered my feet and solidified by stance. I was surprisingly secure and stable. My feet were deeply planted and despite various waves that came and went, I stood perfectly still.

Then I got to thinking.

That’s life for the believer.

Waves of change come. Relationships end. Jobs are lost. Hearts are broken. Sickness threatens well-being. Loneliness masks opportunity. Visions of the future are obscured by the bleak views of the present. Waves come. They stir what was settled and they provoke you to raise a foot; to sidestep their approach.

I would know because I am a master-sidestepper. I have a black belt in avoidance. It’s tragic really. Because every time I raise my foot and replant it, it rests on the surface, completely vulnerable.  But if I, if we would all, just stand still and let the water wash over our feet, pressing us deeper into the love, grace, and truth of Christ, we would be steadied. In the midst of change, we would be solidified in our foundation–that is our faith.

I know have a tendency to take various forms of nature and make really ridiculous metaphors out of them, but… that’s just me.

There’s this song called “Washed by the Water” by my favorite band, NEEDTOBREATHE. And the chorus simply says,

Even when the rain falls,
Even when the flood starts rising,
Even when the storm comes,
I am washed by the water.

Water cleanses us; it refreshes and revives us. Throughout scripture, the image of water is used to bring renrewel and life to that stagnate and lifeless. Whatever a wave may bring, may we learn to anticipate the old life is will wash away and the renewed faith it will produce.

Have a listen…

The Pace of a Victory Lap

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Swing away.

I love baseball. A lot. It’s my favorite sport. I really love baseball.

I hate surprises. A lot. I do not appreciate being caught off guard and feeling unprepared. I really hate surprises.

The beauty of baseball is its’ impressively slow pace. You can get up, go to the bathroom, take your time walking around the stadium as you look for kettle corn and still not miss an inning by the time you get back to your seat.

The problem with surprises is the adrenaline rush that comes with them. Your head is spinning. Your heart is racing. Your palms start sweating. Your vision blurs and you suddenly lose your hearing. So even if the surprise is meant to be pleasant, your senses are so compromised, you aren’t able to take it all in.

Have you ever noticed the pause a batter will take before he begins to round the bases when he knows that he has just hit a home run?  The combination of solid contact with the ball and a full swing launches the ball high over the field and beyond the fence.  It’s obvious it will not be caught. It’s long gone.

And the batter knows before he begins running that the run will be counted; the point is already promised. He doesn’t need to rush his run. He can take his time rounding each corner, gently stepping on each base.  He has time to take in the moment, enjoy the view, and come home without wondering whether or not his ball made it to the other side.

He knows because every other player watches and their shoulders drop. They no longer man their bases and they all ease out of their defensive stances.  There’s really nothing they can do but watch.

He knows because the stadium erupts with cheering. Onlookers rise to their feet, clapping, and yelling. It’s clear from their view, in the stands, that no one will catch that ball.  Most of the time, they know before the players.  Why? Because their perspective is different.

Here’s the point– the life of a believer is like a home run hit. Everyday.

The end result of our lives has already been determined; what happens “next” is not a surprise. Our salvation is sure and our destination secured. Every breathe we breath is victory in and of itself.

So if we know Who’s we are, running the bases of life shouldn’t be a panicked scurry.  It should be a steady jog.  The stadium of Heaven is cheering us on because they know just where our souls landed on the other side… safely at home.

Brandon Heath

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As of late, my newest favorite artist is Brandon Heath.  His lyrics hit home to me in a big way and I can’t seem to get enough of his songs. Riddled with metaphors, biblical imagery, and personal battles too few admit to, I feel like someone put music to heart.

If you like this, check our Bebo Norman, Phil Wickham, Jason Morant, and Shane & Shane.