The Things We Leave Behind

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I have been thinking about transitions a lot today.  I woke up with morning with a song by Michael Card called “The Things We Leave Behind” in my head.  It is about leaving the conventional securities in pursuit of Jesus.  Last July my wife and I left Oregon behind including precious family and friends.  Also a lifetime of being Oregonians. We have been living in a small guesthouse on the property of my in-laws since July and are about to move to a nice, big house in Phoenix!

First, I should say that not all of my transitions I have made or am making now is explicitly about Jesus.  In my mind it does not have to be.  My working proverb for years has been “to be heavenly minded is to be of earthly good”.  The earthly goods that come to mind of preciousness is my family and giftings; they are definitely in that order. I keep my family with me always if in sometimes only in my heart.  Giftings have to be set aside for a season.

Are we really called to leave all relationships behind?  I know I could look at Sacred Scripture and see how Abraham left Ur for good and Moses left Egypt (as a prince) for good.  I get that.  But at the risk of seeming codependent, I have rarely left relationships completely.

There is a quote from John Paul II that has been sticking with me lately especially as I transitioned to the Catholic Church.  He said, “We are to love people and use things.”  I hope I am doing that in using my stuff and time to love people.  If there is a selfish reason it is in part because those people love me.  Yet, I am in relationships with people because I see myself in a reciprocal relationship that contributes to identity and belonging. Oddly, we appreciate those effects and the end and beginning but not as much in the middle.  In the middle is where true love can be whether it is romantic, friendship or family of origin. But the catch is that we do not harden our hearts. When we transition into something exciting, it is easy to take people for granted from the prior season. But we should not do that because that makes relationships as too measurable in the material and the temporal.

So if I connect my heart to that song, it is that God puts us in seasons of change, including painful ones, to call forth something from within that would not change without it (educare= calling forth from within).  If he needs to take us from an environment then that is okay in the big picture if we trust Him.  We can think of our environmental changes and even times of brokenness as education in the purest sense because God loves all and knows all. His desire is to call forth from within so that Christ is formed.

This is a transitional season for me and does not seem to be a time of hardship (knock on wood) but maybe in a way it is okay to wait for the other shoe to drop.  It keeps me humble in not thinking I am in control and thankful for how God is in control.  In different stages that is maybe the most common intangible thing we learn to let go of is our sense of control.

With control in mind, even some worries I have right now can be redeemed.  I have learning disabilities that have contributed to me having a multitude of jobs in my life.  I am about to start a Masters program at Arizona State which will be very challenging.  Can I cover my deficits?  Will I fail? Will I “pull myself together”?  More important in the greater scheme is that I leave behind the fears and turn to the challenges with a point of grace.  Situationally in moving from Oregon to Arizona this past year I hopefully am poised to let the education of my heart begin by leaving behind the blow of failures in pursuit of what is Jesus both overtly and not.

There sits Simon,

so foolishly wise

proudly he’s tending his nets

Then Jesus calls,

and the boats drift away

all that he owns he forgets

 

More than the nets

he abandoned that day,

he found that his pride was soon drifting away

It’s hard to imagine the freedom we find

from the things we leave behind

 

Matthew was mindful

of taking the tax,

pressing the people to pay

Hearing the call,

he responded in faith

followed the Light and the Way

 

Leaving the people

so puzzled he found,

the greed in his heart

was no longer around and

it’s hard to imagine

the freedom we find

from the things

we leave behind

 

Every heart needs to be set free,

from posessions

 

that hold it so tight

‘Cause freedom’s not found in the things that we own,

It’s the power

to do what is right

Jesus, our only posession,

giving becomes our delight

We can’t imagine the freedom we find

from the things we leave behind

 

We show a love for the world in our lives

by worshipping goods we posess

Jesus has laid all our treasures aside

“love God above all the rest”

 

‘Cause when we say ‘no’

to the things of the world

we open our hearts

to the love of the Lord and

its hard to imagine

the freedom we find

from the things we leave behind

 

Oh, and it’s hard to imagine

the freedom we find

from the things

we leave behind

Lyrics from <a href=”http://www.elyrics.net”>eLyrics.net</a&gt;

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