Monday, October 04, 2010

Loosey Goosey Religion

I get how crazy life is. On Sunday the pastor at the church I attend was commenting on someone he met who just wasn’t into “organized religion.” His reply to the person was, “That’s okay because our church is disorganized religion.” My thought was, “he just thinks he’s seen disorganized religion. He hasn’t been to the Wesley Foundation yet.” Anyone who has been a part of our ministry at all knows just how unorganized we can get. There is some sense of organization there; it’s just all loosey-goosey. And God has been showing me that this is okay.

There is so much pressure during this segment of life to be regimented, to have a life plan, to know where you are headed with finely crafted steps lined out for getting there. And I must admit, living with intentionality is a powerful thing during the young adult years. I mean, you have within you the capacity to set the trajectory for what will follow. Being intentional is a good thing. During my university experience class as we talked of time-management I encouraged my students to harness the power of intention. I asked each of them to make a list of what is most important in their lives. Then I asked them to consider how they spend their time in any given week. My next question was to examine how much the way they spent their time reflected the important things in their lives. If there was a discrepancy, I challenged them to make changes that would incorporate their life values into their actual living.

And because I don’t think it is fair to ask my students to do something I am unwilling to do myself, I have been pondering my own ability to harness the power of intention. In fact I spent quite a bit of time wrestling with this question of my own intentions. To be honest, the experience left me unsatisfied, feeling like I was trying to fill a bottomless pit. However, in the middle of my ponderings grace gave me a different perspective. The new question that came to my spirit was this: “What are Your intentions, Lord?” This is not the same thing as, “What is Your will for my life?” Trying to find God’s will has been an integral part of my life for a long time. Rather this comes from the assumption that the things we are intentional about yield something later on. For instance, if I harness the power of intention to study hard, I will yield good grades. If I harness the power of intention to spend time with the people I love on a regular basis, the yield is better relationships. It is another way of saying that we reap what we sow (also something the pastor talked about on Sunday.) My question of God was thus one of asking what had He been sowing in me that were now yielding fruit. Also, what is He sowing now that would yield fruit later? And finally is the big one, what does all this fruit look like anyway?

When I only focus on what I can intentionally plant and harvest in my own strength, I suddenly become very tired, a bit agitated, and eventually overwhelmed. Yet when the question shifts, and I begin to sense that God has been intentional in planting things in my life all along, well, my footing becomes solid again. Often I look at a past season of life and think, “Dude! I was just trying to survive!” But when I think of that season in light of God’s intentions, or rather His intentional occupation in my circumstances, I can see that He produced something worthwhile in me the whole time I thought I was just barely holding on.

Here’s the thing of God’s grace: He intentionally shows up in the chaos of our lives and weaves His goodness into it, if we will simply let Him in and go with what He gives us. We may not understand it. We may be overwhelmed by it. We may not have any sense that it will resolve itself in any recognizable way. But the promise of Grace is that surer Hands are holding us than we ourselves have. I love that about our intentional, loving God who specifically chooses those things that confound us to show us Himself the most. So dear one, rest in His goodness, knowing that you are not responsible for ordering the universe. Indeed the One who brought forth the universe in all its glory from chaos is able or order yours. Be blessed.

This is me trusting,


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