Taking a bath at ten after midnight
I have a super weird personality type because I am "type A" and "type B" all rolled into one. I'm the person that you see climbing past the "do not enter" signs on the Grand Canyon just to peer off the side of the cliff (I have been yelled at many times by Cal for doing this...). I also LOVE rules. They're so black and white and beautifully restrictive so that you never have to question if you are doing it right- because as long as you are coloring inside of the lines, you are doing it right. I camp out mostly in the "type A" way of life because it just make life so much easier. When there is a clear right and wrong it is so much simpler. We can also feel better about ourselves because DUH! the answer is right in front of us, so of course we take the "right" path.
The problem with living with two feet immersed in the Type A pool is that it makes Christianity more about the discipline than it does about the desire. It makes following Christ more about rules than it does about grace. Don't get me wrong. Discipline is good. Boundaries are good.
But following Christ is so much more than that.
Following Jesus is radical, unconventional, inconvenient, and rarely what we make it out to be. I grew up racing after the Lord in all the conventional ways. I read my bible consistently, prayed all the right prayers, and went to youth group every Wednesday night. It didn't matter that I didn't feel connected by forcing myself to stay seated- I thought this was the only way to follow Jesus. Because, of course, once it was all said and done, the words of God are life changing.
Hear me, friend; the words of God ARE life changing. But our lives can be changed in more ways than just one. We can encounter God in countless places, and when we restrict ourselves to worshipping only in a black and white manner, we are putting an unlimited God in a limited box.
Worship is not confined to the half hour we spend reading our daily bible plan. It's not confined to the words we verbally express. It's also found in staring in awe of the golden cornfields, or in the wordless prayers as we breathe in and out, cultivating a gratitude that cannot be expressed vocally.
Jesus thrived off of one on one time speaking with the Father. He fasted. He studied scripture. He preached. But you know what else he did? Walked with people. Enjoyed meals in community. Sailed on a boat. Reclined at the table with his friends. Cooked breakfast over campfires. Slept. Visited dangerous parts of town. He did not connect to His Father in only one way. And we shouldn't limit ourselves in that either.
Worship is wild and unconventional. It is found in the stillness of taking a bath at ten after midnight, soaking in the warmth and quietly longing for more. It is found in picking up a paintbrush and stroking color after color to create just as the Father creates. It is found in dancing in the wind, running by the river, or whipping up a new recipe. Connection with a Father who is Big and Wild and Loud and Colorful can be found in a way that is unique to what makes your heart come alive in reverent awe.
It's not wrong to feel connected more in nature than in reading. It's not bad to feel more alive singing than attending church. There needs to be a balance, yes. Discipline needs to be apart of the habits that we create. But I have experienced so much shame in my past trying to conform to the strict standards I placed upon myself. Discipline is necessary. But so is intentional unconventionality.
Try telling the God of sunsets to color inside the lines.