Monday, April 25, 2011

"The Work of Courage: Heart wide open"

Hello to all! Praise God for Easter! Woo Hoo! I am so glad that Jesus rose again. I am so thankful for resurrection. I am so immensely happy that death and evil and hopelessness do not have the last word, ever.

Now For Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:

In his book Sabbatical Year Henri Nouwen shared this insight: “The word courage comes from Coeur, which means ‘heart.’ To have courage is to listen to our heart, to speak from our heart, and to act from our heart. Our heart, which is the center of our being, is the seat of courage.” Within a month after he wrote these words he passed away from a massive cardiac arrest. What is most poignant to me is that this is exactly how he lived his whole life, from his heart. It is always what I have loved best about his writing. Henri Nouwen’s words have helped me live my life from my heart too.

I have pondered this year in light of the recent unfolding news that I will not be returning in the fall to the Wesley Foundation. I have spent the majority of this year working, living, and serving without that knowledge, doing things for the last time without knowing it was my last time. I am so thankful for the gift of these last weeks to have that knowledge so that I can make sure I love well with the time I have left. Yet in the deepest part of me, I have no regrets, even for the nine months when I didn’t know my time was drawing to a close. Here is what makes sense to me: Since I was in college I have always wanted to live life to the fullest, to not waste one moment away. For me that means that I live (in Nouwen’s words) from my heart, or (in my words) with my heart wide open.

Some will say this is foolish. In our world it is considered wise to live with your eyes wide open, but never the heart. This is mostly because it is impossible to protect one’s heart when it is open to all experiences and all people. True, I have had my heart broken on numerous occasions. Yet each time I found a loving Lord who healed me and made me whole. And also each time He would gently show me ways that He was not first in my heart. What I have found is that the more I make Him first in my heart, the more His love fills me up and spills over into others, and the more my heart is truly protected from being shattered. He makes true courage plausible because only He safeguards our vulnerability without sacrificing our transparency and passion.

Henri goes on to say this: “Often we debate current issues and express our opinions about them. But courage is taking a stance, even an unpopular stance, not because we think differently from others but because from the center of our being we realize how to respond to the situation we are in. Courage does not require spectacular gestures. Courage often starts in small corners.” My hope is that in the time we have had together you have come to realize what is most important to you in the center of your being, your heart, and that you will live all of your life from that place. For me that has meant that in the last nine years I have passionately loved students, with all my quirks and idiosyncracies showing, allowing my love affair with Jesus to be an example of how He meets us where we are and draws us unashamedly to Himself. This has been what courage has asked of me. What does courage ask of you?

When I consider each of you and your many gifts and yearnings, my heart is warmed. I am so grateful for the opportunity to walk with you on your journeys, to cheer you on, to comfort and console, to encourage and challenge. I am excited for the ways God is going to shape and bless the world through each of you. You are my treasure; you are my harvest; you are so worth me opening my heart and risking vulnerability. So what does is mean for you to listen to your heart, to speak from your heart, to act from your heart? What difference do you most want to make in this one lifetime you’ve been given?

Whatever it is, live it boldly, and with courage. Know that God walks with you, empowers you, and cheers you on. You are not the person you are by chance. His love and mercy and grace have woven themselves into your life in such a way that you care about what you care about for a reason. Your passion is God expressing His hopes for a better world through you. He fully intends to bless your courageous acts of passion as you live into who He created you to be. So my dear ones, hold nothing back, leave nothing unsaid, give everything you are to His hands. Entrust yourself fully to the work of courage, and then rest in God’s great passion for you.

This is me trusting,


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