I’m thinking outside of the box this summer on this blog. As you’ve all noticed I’m writing less (at least publically) these days. But this is my blog and well, I do what I want. So, let me share that over the summer I am leading a bible study by Jennie Allen. Some of my faithful readers may remember I did this book in January while away in Africa but now I am leading it with 11 girls over the summer. I am going to (try) to write each week and share a little with you all here about what I’m learning and maybe just offer you a few nuggets of truth to think about each week this summer.
I should confess I’m not a particularly disciplined writer. I write when I feel lead. Mostly because I don’t want a blog full of fillers. I want you to come here and each time to experience a piece of my life. I want this blog to be authentic even if some weeks that’s sharing a project, a recipe, a story, or and experience not necessarily deep, heart-wrenching truth (I’m not deep every day, by the way).
We were made to chase.
Each one of us is chasing something everyday. Acceptance, love, family, marriage, kids, education, success, prestige, community, friendship, money, knowledge, or maybe even just stuff. If you’re like me you’re not chasing the same thing every day. Some days are good, motivated days where my heart is desiring the right things and my actions are in line. And other days, like Jennie so perfectly says it, ‘And then there are days when I am not chasing meaningless distractions, I am flat-out running from God, arms full of sin’. I’ll be the first to say I have those days.
In our first discussion as a group this summer we were asked, ‘what are you chasing?’ And I’ve spent the days since pondering that. What am I chasing right now. I went back and read my notes from the first time I did this study, in January, and I thought about what looks different in my life from then to now. How have my desires changed? How has my life changed?
I’m not going to give you the token Christian answer – that I’m chasing God and God alone. I will say I have pursued my relationship with Him harder this year than ever and it has been epic. But this blog is my ‘honest box’ and so here’s the bigger picture of my answer…
I am chasing freedom. I am breaking free from the expectations of my family and friends in new ways and learning to stand on my own two feet. I am chasing success and each month I seem to define that differently – success in my career path, success in my finances, success in my relationships, success with my health journey. I am chasing opportunities. Opportunities to travel, to see the world and the people in it. Opportunities to lead, to grow, and to learn. I am chasing wisdom of the spiritual and earthly variety through reading the bible in a year and reading 80 book this year. I am chasing community because I crave authentic, thriving friendships.
In our video lesson this week Jennie talked about the things she wants – to be loved, to be accepted, to be a success, etc and then she said ‘and these things aren’t bad… until they become more important to me than chasing God’. Boom. There it is. The things I want, they’re not bad things. But some days they become the most important thing, the only thing. And that is.
I am intense. Whatever I do I am hardcore committed too. This quality has made me successful in many areas of my life but like any strength it can also be my greatest weakness, especially in my spiritual life. When I get focused on a good thing, like say, being debt free – sometimes I obsess so single-mindedly about that one thing I lose sight of the bigger picture. In the case of my debt-free journey – I caught the vision because I want to be able to live simply and generously. That motivation is biblical but as I was working 16 hour days to accomplish it I wasn’t always focused on the why – sometimes I was just doing. Sometimes the ‘what’ becomes the god, when the ‘who’ wants to be. Am I making sense?
We were made to chase. We were made to worship. And this summer we are getting to the core of what 20-somethings are tempted to chase and what as believers we’re supposed to be chasing. This is my way of welcoming you along for the journey.
I will leave you will my favorite verse from this starting chapter:
I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. – Ecclesiastes 1:13-14