*written for Church Simplified
This 2017, live.
It’s easy to exist, all you have to do is breathe. But there’s something about just casually taking up space in the universe that almost feels like cheating. There’s something about playing small that twists at your insides, that feels a bit wrong. Perhaps what’s true is that we will always be haunted by meaning. Perhaps we cannot escape the nagging whisper of possibility, the promise of something more. And, deep down, you know it is real. You know that what your soul longs to do is live, really live; to bear the blissful ache of carrying the weight of a life that is full and ripe and good.
And God, my friend, would not dream of less.
This 2017, live.
Here is how the heroes did it: they put themselves in danger. They placed a bet, made a gamble, took a risk, for something greater. They stood on a precipice and faced death.
Here’s what I am saying: face death.
Not mortality, not death as we know it. No. The death I am talking about is the earnest surrender of your own personal comfort. Find something you can bet on and go all in. Give your life — your tears, your pain, your sacrifice — to carry a cross of your choosing and don’t look back. Dare to live in the mess of this broken world. Give your shoulders to someone who wants to see a better view. Step into the pain of what isn’t right. Make it better, even if it breaks you.
Do this because love necessitates death. It freely gives itself up for the other. Love will scale walls, cross countries, endure pain, and fight valiantly all for the freedom of its beloved. The repeating metaphor in the bible is this: death first, then life. To love deeply has always meant to risk plenty.
This 2017, let love be your truth. Do this because love is the most dangerous outlaw. Do this because love is the greatest subversion, the best revolution, and the stuff of life, real life. Do this because, in the end, love is the only proof that we ever even lived at all.
This 2017, you are invited, every single day, to participate fully in the doing of life.
Live, really live. Because when you do, you gain the ability to tell apart the illusion from the real. Live, really live, because it makes the world better. Live, really live, because it is your birthright.
Live alongside others, not in perfect seclusion, but with people, good people, who will shake you out of a hazy, lazy existence. Live because the world is broken and you are its hope. Live and make space for others to live, too. Live, not skimming the surface, but getting into the deep end of God’s good heart. Let every day of the coming year end with the sense that you fought for something true. Let hope and gratitude find you on the days that are hard. Let the world’s discomfort tug at you on the days that are easy. Create, make, shape, build an electric life, one charged with both a fierce and tender joy.
Leave the year bursting with scars and stories, your soul feeling as God had always intended it to: fully, truly, magnificently (perhaps even heartbreakingly) alive.