When I think about the huge blessings I've had, the miracles I've seen, the ways God has changed my life, the people with whom I've come in contact in my short 35 years - I am truly humbled. I am amazed at his grace in my life, and I know I am truly loved.
Yesterday, on the plane between Cleveland and KC, I was reading more of "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning (of course). The nearly two hour flight went so quickly because God was reminding me of his love for me. It was seriously like a sudden flood. It started out when I recalled the experience I had last year, almost to the day, on an airplane coming home from KC (Story here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=128054755515). I was so overwhelmed that I had tears streaming down my cheeks, and I felt so affirmed and free. God showed me again that all I have to do is just "be". He loves me exactly the way I am and he meets me WHERE I am.
I don't have to jump through Christian hoops or pretend to be something I'm not just to please other people or Him. God despises the proud, the fakers, the haughty, and the people who look down their Christian noses at people who they consider to be on the "outside", but he gives grace to the humble. (God, help me to learn to be humble and to be your fragrance in the world.) I think that the smell of a judgmental Christian is the worst smell with which people can come in contact. I don't want to stink.
One of my MANY, MANY favorite sets of quotes in "The Ragamuffin Gospel" has to do with with how we lose sight of our awe and wonder and of the grace of God that is constantly flowing around us. (The quote skips around because the different parts I quote span a couple of pages.)
"By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blase' and worldly-wise and sophisticated. We no longer run our fingers through water, no longer shout at the stars or make faces at the moon. Water is H2O, the stars have been classified, and the moon is not made of green cheese...We miss the experience of awe, reverence and wonder...So often we religious people walk amid the beauty and bounty of nature and we talk nonstop. We miss the panorama of color and sound and smell. We might as well have remained indoors in our closed, artificially-lit living rooms. Nature's lessons are lost and the opportunity to be wrapped in silent wonder before the God of creation passes. We fail to be stretched by the magnificence of the world saturated with grace...We must rediscover the gospel of grace and the world of grace."
God help us. God help ME. Do you ever feel like you look at your life and it feels like it's just flying by and you're missing it? Do you often think to yourself that you've wasted time on the unimportant? That's what I'm reflecting on today. I am not being down on myself, but I am asking God for one thing this coming year of my life. I want wonder. I want to be in awe of him and his creation again. I want to look at a person walking down the street and remember that there is so much more to them than what I see. I want to see the beauty in every face and in the world around me. It's not all about me...I feel like it's so easy for us to get focused on the inner turmoils of our lives or the day-to-day workings of our little worlds that we lose the whole purpose for which we were created.
We were created to love. To me, love means that I consider the time I spend with people I care for, or the daily walks I take, or the next breath I inhale to be a gift - an act of grace from my creator. If you're not feeling that love, you have to learn to be grateful. Since I started being grateful for everything, even the mundane, I have realized the bounty of grace and love and joy in my life. The times I have stopped being grateful, and instead have chosen to focus on myself or on things I'm unhappy about have been the lowest times in my life.
I have so many gifts in my life - the people, the memories, the places I've been. I have asked God for wonder. It's all I want from him this year. I want to cherish my life in the years to come and I want to be able to say someday, as I'm taking my last breath, "Thank you, God, for everything."