We Don’t Get To Be Here Long

Bu-BUMP, bu-BUMP, goes the blood in my jugular vein, as if my blood vessels are a track and the blood cells are thoroughbreds, surging towards the finish line. I stomp the accelerator and turn the wheel into the mat of blackberry vines, very aware that my body is being forced back into the seat as we climb. A grumble of mud and stones, a scrape, and we slide gracefully on to the mossy space below the yellow beeches. It is 23° but my cheeks are hot. “Thank you, Jesus!” I squeak, and Harley pants and yawns loudly, as she does every time we live through a moment of terror.

Fear stomps on my lungs every time I think of driving up that lane. Some of you will shake your heads and sigh, and some of you will understand.

The only reason I began driving to the top of my dirt lane at all is because my father showed me how and then said, “It’s your turn.” I hate being wimpy in front of him after he shows me how to do something. It’s like saying, “You are a liar, Dad.”

The only reason I made it to the top of my dirt lane the second time, and the 202nd time, was because once you start going up, you can’t stop. Stopping is actually dangerous. Driving up just feels dangerous.

Once I had to jump start my car in a black parking lot, all alone. Slump-backed in the rain, I shivered and prayed for 32 minutes before finally connecting the clamps. My hand would go towards the battery, and then jerk away.

I’ve learned recently that dream-chasers fall into two categories: Tryers and Doers.

Tryers have options. They can say, “I am trying for my lifeguard certification. I’m training 14 hours a week, but I honestly doubt I will pass the test.” They never sign up for the test, because they don’t think they will pass it. Reasons, reasons, reasons…. all very valid and unable to be explained away.

Doers do not have options. They say, “I will refuse to be comfortable until I have set up a new way of life. By hook or by crook, I will get there, and no delay.”

The thing with trying, is that you are never truly a failure. If you set out to TRY, you can rationalize success either way. You will stand in the parking lot, in the dark rain, wasting time because you are trying to jump the car but you must first evaluate all the dangers.

If you set out to DO, there is only one way to win. You will put your foot to the accelerator, knowing once you begin you will not be ‘safe’ until you reach the goal.

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You do the thing, and no delay, because you refuse to say, “You are a liar, Dad.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I know I am.

 

 

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What if heaven says you are PERFECT?

I once heard that when you comb your hair/put on makeup/etc. in front of a mirror, your hands are trying to conform your appearance into a ideal picture of yourself—–the Who-I-Know-I-Can-Be-With-Enough-Effort—– that you have inside your brain.

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I do that in so many other ways.

The other week while I was at work sweeping cobwebs and feeling like I was doing absolutely nothing of Kingdom value, I prayed, “God, show me how to meet the needs here as You would. What is my purpose here? I am doing nothing. Teach me how to love like you love.”

Quick as a whistle, He responded.

With just three words.

“You are perfect.”

I stopped what I was doing. It was that clear.

PERFECT?? Umm… what??

Still His words swirled undeniably around me. “You are perfect.”

What a preposterous response! Here I was, beating myself up about my selfishness…. all of the opportunities I’d missed…. my complete lack of energy….. On and on and on the list went.

I was fully expecting God to answer my heartfelt question by asking me to do some hard thing, or to accelerate my efforts, or to add an extra hour of prayer to my schedule. I was not expecting to be asked to believe the words, “You are perfect.”

How could the Father have such an unrealistic picture of me?

What could these words mean? Did they mean that it was time for me to toss my mental mascara and flat iron out the window? Did they mean that the Father desired me to lay down the idealized visions of who I KNOW one day I can be in favor of cherishing the who I am NOW?

Did it mean that the Father’s truest expression of perfection is a spirit that is completely broken and desperately willing to accept any direction that He offers?

What do you have to lay down in order to accept the Heaven-stamped fact that YOU ARE PERFECT?