Words of the year have become popular in recent years. I’ve traded resolutions for yearly words. My life is much more peaceful this way. No striving.
In 2014, the word was JOY.
And I wept more last year than any other in my life.
In 2015, the word is STEADY.
And this year, every branch on the tree is shaking.
It’s funny how this works. If it is joy that will mark a year or a life, rest assured there will be a lot of tears (Pixar gets this. Have you seen Inside Out?). If it is steadiness we are after, there will most certainly be rough waters. The Kingdom is just this upside down and backward.
Yesterday was my birthday and it falls right in the middle of year steady, otherwise known as year crazy.
Several months ago there was an ending in my life that was severe, unexpected and crippling. The details of what and when and who and how are not important, but there has been a wake for sure. I feel the ripples daily, at times hourly. Most of the time it feels like I cry tears made purely of anxiety and fear.
But the day the loss came, a trade was made. Jesus swapped the very thing I didn’t think I could live without for the very thing he knew I could not – more of him. It’s not a fair trade if you think about. Tremendous gain for a tiny loss.
Here’s the thing, at the time, the loss doesn’t feel very tiny. It feels gigantic, like it may eat you alive like monsters are real and one just swallowed up your life. You wonder how the world is still spinning and why there seems to be a merry little way and people are still going about it. Considering what seems like such a blow, such a gaping hole, do I really know that Jesus is tremendous gain?
There are things bolted down in our lives. I can’t change the fact that I am Tommy and Marsha’s daughter or Dustin’s sister. And I believe marriage is covanentential. Bolted down. But there are other things that are not. My house, car, what city I live in, fluid relationships that may not carry over into other seasons of life, where I work. I’ve spent an awful lot of time locking those loose things away so that no one can make off with them.
Then Jesus comes and says, “I’ll make you a deal, you let go of that thing you’ve clamped down, and I will give you more peace, joy, purpose, love – essentially more of me. More of everything you want anyway. But you have to let go. You have to give up what you know. Will you make the trade?”
I said no.
And He took it anyway.
It’s much harder that way.
Good dads tend to do what is best for us.
Today, as you read this, it is the middle of the story. I have no good way of landing the plane. In fact, in pure emotion all the landing gear and parachutes have vanished, like Alice in Wonderland, just never hitting the bottom of the hole. Even so, let’s look at our lives. Not today for some, but eventually for all, we will have to wrestle with this. Could we give up what we know? Could we make the swap?
More of Jesus is on the other side. If you can’t believe it today, I’ll believe for both of us. I’ve seen enough for us all. And it will steady the year.