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Live Joy

February 25, 2013

I’ve still been making myself busy.  The key word in that sentence being ‘making.’  I’m really good at filling my day with everything from running errands to meeting with friends.  And usually by the end of the day I still feel like I didn’t get enough done or didn’t see all the friends that I wanted  to, or left something out. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a while, but just ignore.

Well this past weekend I got to look it straight in the eye.  I got to listen to Steve Gardner, a regional director for Young Life in South Carolina, talk about how we often call others to a joyful life that we ourselves aren’t living.  It’s crazy to me how I can tell people to live a certain way and then not see it in our my own life – and even when I do (see it in my own life, rarely do I do anything about it). It literally happens to me every day.

Our culture tells us that we are our own moral compasses and guides in life, and that everything is relative. That is, we are our own set of rules.  My brother lives this life and it’s so fascinating to me.  I respect him for it though, mostly because I don’t understand it and don’t agree with it (try and wrap your head around that one…).  In this lifestyle, everyone has an idol in their life that they have constructed, and that they are living for – whether it’s doing whatever they want, working towards a goal, or otherwise.  (I’ve blogged about this before).  Maybe they wouldn’t call it an idol, but it is such.

Think about it, an idol is something created to be worshiped and looked towards, as a goal almost.  My idol for a long time was success and acceptance. I thought going to college, getting good grades, getting a job, getting married, and having kids would make me successful, according to the model (idol) I had created.  And I thought by achieving those things, and reaching the steps in the ladder to ‘my success,’ I would also achieve the acceptance that my heart desired.  But the acceptance that I most longed for, from my parents, I would only ever half achieve (not through the fault of anyone, just how life works in this particular case), wasn’t the acceptance that I needed.  I already had/have the  full acceptance that I need, from the one that it is needed from.

So why do I seek the acceptance of those around me still? Because my heart longs for acceptance.  It longs to achieve success and be accepted – especially based on what my culture and my own personal model of success tells me.  Tullian Tchividjian speaks to this really well.  (It was great hearing him speak at Jubilee two weekends ago, and I was bummed I couldn’t go to Liberate this past weekend – maybe next year?!)  But really, that isn’t the person I want to become.

This past weekend, Cliff (our area director for Young Life here in Fredericksburg) said something that really stuck with me.  He asked us all if we were becoming the the people we wanted to become.  He said, “It’s not about what you’re achieving, it’s about who you’re becoming.”

Many of you know how busy I like to be, how much I like to do, and how I like to ‘fix’ things.  I’ve slowly been realizing, that’s not my job.  My achievement-based life led me to think I needed to do those things along the way, when really, I just need to live in the joy and acceptance that I already have.  I’m learning that every day.  Give me some time to keep learning it.  I need to stop trying to achieve the benchmarks that I’ve set up in my head – in fact, I should probably tear them down.  I should probably tear them down and burn them.  They’ve been set up there for so many years now though, ever since I can remember, so that’s nothing that’s going to happen overnight.  One thing at a time.

Talking with Marta last night, on the way home from orchestra rehearsal, I realized that taking the unnecessary things out of my life, that I once thought were part of that achievement-based life, will be a first part of this process.  It’s in the little things sometimes.

Living a joyful life seems so simple, but I like to complicate things. If you see me or talk to me, feel free to remind me to slow down.  Live a joyful life. I (and you too …) have the acceptance that my (your) heart longs for.

If you want to hear more about this, I’d love to talk (or email or …) with you about it.  I took a lot of these ideas and made them my own (because what is life if not a series of ideas that are all inter-connected) from seminars at Jubilee and the Committee Leader Weekend this past weekend in Richmond for Young Life. Connect what you’re learning to what you want to live and who you are becoming … just a thought.  

Just trying to live a joyful #nunlife. 

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