Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Bargain Purchase

I look up through the barren branches, flat on my back taking in this pure blue sky that inspired songs and I ponder its color and how its blue because of the ocean but there’s not an ocean for 1000 miles.  This God of wonders never stops amazing me. 

My entire body is limp, my head barely holds a thought except the greatness of our God and the complete perfection of this moment.  And I think how far I’ve come. How far He’s carried me.  Every muscle in me is relaxed, not an ounce of stress tenses a single reflex. I stretch my short frame across two inflated sledding tubes under our only tree, atop a fresh blanket of snow, the winter sun warm on my face and shining proud.  

And I know this is it.  Complete peace, total relaxation.  Everything as it should be or as close as it gets on this sphere that spins time. 

“You’ll never capture my princess, Darth Vader!”  His tiny voice breaks through the silence but it’s not jolting.  It sounds sweet and innocent and ready to go anywhere their imaginations take them.

This really is it. Pure joy. I bought this moment and I don’t have a drop of buyer’s remorse.  As I recline on snow tubes resting on fresh powder, sun bathing in my front yard in the middle of February listening to my son fight villainous neighbor boys and defend the princess laying on the inflatable space ship, I am delighting in my purchase to the full.

It wasn’t too many Februarys ago that a moment like this was a mere dream from a dark office, every muscle in me tense with expectations, meeting deadlines and Board of Directors, managing unbuttoned projects and unbridled adults, with little room to breathe and little time for moments, not a defender in sight.  While I was enslaved by my calendar and always living three months from now, my children were in the care of another and did their caretakers see these moments as gifts?  Or were they in their own kind of trap with their own kind of dreams?   

And so I bask in this moment with all five senses.  I bought this moment and a thousand more like it nearly four years ago. And, I could say I paid a career, a six-digit salary, a full benefits package… all the things this world says are important.  But really, the price tag was my ways, my priorities, my selfishness.  I paid the price of me without Him.  And, I'm certain I got the better end of this deal, this bargain purchase, because what did I get in return? 

The minute I let my ways fall right out of me, I had room for Him, a space He filled with delight.

"Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

He gave me what I had been dreaming about in that dark office all those Februarys ago.  The gift of here and now.  The desires of my heart.  And frankly, it was better than a bargain purchase. It's like I bought the original Mona Lisa at garage sale prices. 

I'm not talking about salvation here.  I mean, that goes without saying.  An extravagant gift we can only accept.  I'm talking about what's next.  What comes after salvation.  Because I can live my whole life believing in a God I don't follow, drowning in the lies of my enemy. 

Or... I can walk on water. 

I can trust this Savior that gently shows me over and over how much better His ways are, how delightful He really is. I can look back and see I've had this Defender with me all my days, steadying the boat, clearing the path, laying a way for me, protecting me from the enemy, displaying His glory, painting the sky blue just hoping I would like it. I've been His unyielding pursuit, but it still requires my action, my choice, my obedience, my surrender. And then He'll take it from there. He WILL take it from my surrender. And boy, I better hang on tight!

I can open myself up to Him, allowing the Holy Spirit to consume me like a fire because what happens when my own faith is burned up and the Holy Spirit's faith rises from the ashes...in me?  It changes things.  It changes everything.  Because the Holy Spirit, He always believes God. Always. Yeah, that's the kind of faith I want to run wild in me.

So, I continue the quest for these bargain purchases, these opportunities to start a bon fire with my selfishness, my ways, to lay down more of me and take up more of Him... daily. 

"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" (Luke 9:23)

It's not easy. In fact, some days are down right hard. I fail again and again. But I don't want to just get by, I want to live free with eyes wide open, so I try again because I don't want to miss one single moment, one single adventure, one single thing God is inviting me into.

I want a life lived to the full.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10b)