I've been doing a lot of thinking about my attitude and where I'm headed in life. Lately, I've really been trying to have a positive outlook. I've noticed that amazing things seem to happen when I'm choosing joy and when I'm open to what God puts in front of me.
I was reading Brennan Manning again on the plane trip home and I came to a section where he was writing about what he calls "The Second Call". He says that many people reach a point between the ages of 30 and 60 where they have a reawakening of their faith, but that many also experience a divine change in direction. The things that used to satisfy them spiritually and their youthful spiritual fervor have changed into a spiritual maturity and a peace they didn't have as younger Christians. Their spiritual interests often change. They become more open to truly KNOWING God rather than just learning about Him. When I read through this particular chapter, it really struck a chord with me.
You all probably know that I've been having a very interesting year and that God has been teaching me a lot through gratitude. I truly feel that I've begun to experience this "reawakening". There are times when I look back on how passionate I was about God in the past and how I longed to experience him more, but I've noticed a change in myself in the last year. I don't want to know him like I knew him before. I want more. I want depth. I want the wisdom and wonder than come with being his friend and seeing the world through his eyes.
I think about the days when I would dance in worship like a happy madwoman and intercede loudly from the depths of my spirit. There were times when I wished I could recapture the essence of the fervor I felt then, but I have begun to feel God speaking new things into my life. I am realizing that God doesn't want us to stay in the same place with him, but he wants us to grow and change and blossom.
So, as I said, the one thing I am asking from God for this year is wonder. I want to experience the true amazement of being loved by the divine Being. I want to see all the wildness in his heart and the unexplainable aspects of his personality. I've only seen a glimpse. I want more. I think that when we're truly in touch with Him, our hunger arises and we're left wanting more. We care less and less about what people think of us. I am not going to be down on myself in the moments down the road where I DON'T feel hungry for more because I'm going to choose to trust that he will give me what I seek. I don't think you can truly love someone unless you know them. I want to know him.
I'm grateful for...
Answered prayers. On the trip back from KC, I asked God that I would meet people on the plane whom I could talk to and learn about (because nobody usually talks to me on airplanes). On both legs of the trip home, my prayers were answered. During the first leg, I was sitting on a full plane with an empty seat next to me, so I actually felt a little sad. Then, from the back of the plane, came a woman who sat down beside me. As it turned out, the seat she was sitting in wouldn't recline, so she was assigned to move next to me. We had an interesting conversation about our families and about where she grew up, her children's lives and about the death of her husband. She is the type of person I could see myself being in another 30 years. On the second leg of the trip, I sat next to a really great guy (Sam Garloff) and we had a conversation about everything from music to careers to religion to the wonders that are Pittsburgh. He was a very uplifting person to talk to. God is good and I truly feel that meeting random people isn't really random. There are no coincidences.
The "surprise" party. While I was away, Sean planned a surprise party for me with all my church friends. Tonight was the party and, even though I actually knew about last night (shhh), it was so great to see my church family and hang out with them. I'm so blessed to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Each person wrote me a card or letter saying what they're thankful for about me...so sweet. I love things like that. Most of them mentioned my "gratitudes"...which was really cool, as well. I have prayed that my learning to be grateful would inspire other people, too.
Thinking about things. This whole gratitude journey has been leading me to begin really thinking about life and about what I want out of it. I believe that being more aware of your life and of your blessings can only be a good thing.
Realizing how crappy I am. Yes, I said crappy. Obviously, I know that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, etc., etc. But I think that getting a grasp of how "full of it" I truly am, but also knowing that God loves me anyway has been humbling. There's nothing more humbling than being lavished with love that you know you don't deserve.
My family. Sean is a good man and my kids are going to be good men like him someday. They're already wonderful boys and I couldn't ask for more than what I already have.
My hope today is that you realize what a blessing you can be to those around you - not in a cocky way, obviously, but in a way that leaves you with the knowledge that without Him, you are nothing. From what you've said, many of you feel the way I do - I just want my life to be encouraging to other people. I'm still learning, but if my being real and honest about the crap in my life (but also about the love I receive from God despite the crap) helps one person to know that God loves them, it will all be worthwhile for me.
To you, from God.