I’ve previously made lists on my birthday. Things I know or feel strongly about. They’ve held me accountable + help measure progress or a lack thereof. It feels valuable to go back and read things I knew-some of which I’m not sure I can claim to have ever known. Because I still don’t know them. Or else, my perspective has shifted almost entirely since I wrote those former words.
At thirty-four I still like getting older. I’m grateful for this season of life-where babies have grown to be self-sufficient in ways I was ready for. My favorite moments are ones where I notice their little eyes staring back at me-connection that is proving more infrequent as they grow. Otherwise, most days are spent moving around each other-our house so full of energy + noise. So many decisions being made out loud. To bounce this or paint that. To eat this and never that. More glitter + sugar + friends, always. Later bedtimes + earlier school days. Eric + I have found a rhythm and it is good. I feel cared for and known-and I hope to always recognize what a gift it is to be loved like this.
For consistency’s sake, I think I’ll list out a few concepts I’m holding ever tightly to these days. Some have felt tried and true and some I’m certain I’ll forever be navigating the details of-or maybe I’ll even change my mind on entirely. Some have been birthed from a season of heartache-while others have moved + shaken the ground upon which I’ve previously stood. They’re not groundbreaking and I’m not the first to have considered their significance + value. But they’re where I’m currently standing-and some feel steadier than others.
Heaven to Earth : I’ve spent much of my life contextualizing Biblical text as mandates imposed on humanity that help decide our fate of entering Heaven or hell. I understood the central theme to be a combination of legalism and grace that leads us towards an end times depicted in the Left Behind series. I’m beginning to recognize how a rapture centered theology was inspired by a culture that preached America as exceptional + individualism as essential. I’m grateful for the ways God has led me into a season of decolonizing my theology-which in turn shifts my perspective. I’m wanting to invest more time and attention to the ways God is bringing Heaven to Earth-here + now. I’m leaning into the privilege it is to learn more about Christ-and allow His example of peace + freedom + justice to inform how I can learn + work + build for God’s kingdom. And I can say with all confidence that I’m spending very little emotional and mental energy on what my rapture future holds.
Stay in my lane : This is a hard one that I keep getting wrong. Mostly because I’m trying to kick the assumption that I can speak into most every lane from a place of expertise 😉 I’m trying to narrow down which spaces to invest my head + heart and then be ever intentional there (someone help a girl out and point me in the right direction.) And also reminding myself that if I don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say so. At 34, the more I learn, the less I seem to know-and there is freedom in that reality. Someone recently encouraged me in this journey of discernment with the words, ‘process any underlying worldview through the filter of Christ.’ In trying to find my lane, I hope to stay committed to doing just that.
We belong to each other : Examples of people working together to bring healing to the hurting have provided me a restored sense of hope in humanity. It often feels like community is most fully experienced in times of heartache and loss-and I’m sad it’s not a more foundational characteristic of the United States of America. As I recently watched the Derek Chauvin court case pause to broadcast the funeral of a Capital police officer killed in his line of duty, it felt like an impossible juxtaposition to navigate. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated by a world that feels disengaged + disconnected-whose ‘thoughts + prayers’ may be sincere but sound and feel superficial and tired. May our collective confidence in our belonging move us away from apathy + inactivity and into communities and opportunities that grow our care + concern for one another.
Peacemaking, yes please. Of the honest variety* : There’s a growing sense of apprehension + weariness about the division in America-and I’ve heard peacemaking preached as the adversary of that dividedness. My concern is the two are not necessarily in opposition of the other. In the name of not creating further division, I don’t think peacemaking equates to silence. I think that sounds more like using peacemaking as a scapegoat for neutrality-which provides very limited accountability to the kind of complacency that cultivates inequity and expands unequal power dynamics.
(In an effort to stay in (and speak to) my lane,) May the church (and any of us who claim Christ) feel a deep sense of responsibility to speak truth-at the expense of turning some dishonest and exclusive and oppressive tables upside down-knowing they often hold power + privilege and there will be a cost. We certainly don’t have to attend every single debate but when we feel uncomfortable, may we consider the questions, ‘whose peace am I looking to uphold’ and by not engaging, ‘whose access to peace is limited because of my unwillingness to speak truth into this space?’
And last(s) but certainly not least, Survivor remains the best television. Philadelphia remains the best sports city. Africa is still not a country. And for the love all of all things, can we please stop saying everything happens for a reason.