Now that you’ve read the above quote, please resist the urge to slam your laptop shut and walk away.
I’m not throwing stones here. I’m not even talking about exercise. So chill.
On Saturday I tuned into the Living Proof Live 2015 Simulcast. I’m all about a conference that I can attend while wearing my pajamas. I’m also of the opinion that Beth Moore is a very gifted teacher. (We can disagree on this. I will still love you). Her teaching this year zeroed in on the concept of audacity.
From my notes:
Audacity – intrepid boldness, disregard of normal restraints; not held back; resolute fearlessness; the guts to do it anyway; adventurous
The first image that comes to my mind as I continue to ponder those words and phrases is that of a mountain climber. You don’t decide to scale Everest without a healthy dose of grit and guts. You don’t decide to take on Denali without a sense of adventure. Despite the winds and the snow and the hunger and the near-inability to breathe, you do it anyway. You don’t shave. You don’t wear nice clothes. You’re exhausted. But you’re not thinking about anything like that. You’re out there to conquer this massive thing, this huge obstacle.
And you’re doing it because it’s fun.
Because it brings you joy.
This is what we’re missing. Life is hard. Life is serious. Denial is not part of faith. Sticking our heads in the sand is not part of loving Christ. Wars rage, tsunamis rumble, cancer strikes. Women are raped, children are orphaned, men toil in sweatshops. The world groans with longing. The spirits of all people cry out for the True Lord (whether they acknowledge Him or not). We have to face these things. We have to roll up our sleeves, put on our big kid pants and move into the pain. We have to bring light to the darkest corners of the globe. This is our mission as the people of God.
But we don’t have to do it with a sour expression.
We’re getting this wrong. We trudge through life. We wear our faith as this heavy badge of obligation. Many of us are ready to jump into arguments at a moment’s notice. (Often political arguments, which are ultimately meaningless and draw ridiculous dividing lines between people). We’re ready to use the Bible to beat people into submission.
Where is our joy?
Go out with courage and joy. Go out with both.
Yes, we must have the nerve to stay in the Word and stake our lives on its truth. Absolutely. But who is ever going to be drawn in by a bunch of screaming? By dry, lifeless logic?
What are we doing?
Love with everything you’ve got and stand in the truth of God. Don’t fight with people, fight for them.
Let’s be honest: Who wants to hang out with someone who’s got nothing but a disapproving glare on her face all the time? Who wants to spend time with a man who can do nothing but frown?
Never before have I made a connection between courage and joy. I’ve not considered that bravery comes from the fun of the thing. And despite all the hardship of this life, Christ is fun. Do you know that? Do you understand that He made the duck-billed platypus and snow and music? Do you understand that He created you with the ability to laugh, deep down in your belly, so hard that silence descends and the tears roll down your cheeks? Do you see when He splashes the horizon with brilliant bits of color at sunset?
God is fun. Following Him is fun.
We’ve forgotten that. We get so fixated on other things. Easily the adventure He brings to our lives slips from memory. He becomes an afterthought, a tag-along.
When we go out into those dark places in the hopes of bringing life and light, we should do so because knowing, loving and following Him is the best thing that’s ever happened to us. We can smile with delight. We can dance and sing with fervor. We can pray with the full assurance that He hears and will respond in the best way possible.
Faith is not drudge. It is not boredom. It is not obligation.
It is great fun. It is wild adventure.
In that fun and adventure flow the blood, sweat and tears. As we sing, it is with voices strained by loss. As we dance, our steps are halting because of the wounds. As we share the Gospel, it is with a catch in our throats as we remember from what He has saved us.
This isn’t about ivory towers of academia battling with each other using fancy-sounding words. It’s not about political parties. It’s not about protests. It’s not about shunning people. It’s not about feeling superior to anyone.
This Christian life, this walk of faith, is about moving forward with the tattered clothes and the aching muscles and the bruised skin. It’s not about looking cute. It’s not about being acceptable. It is about splitting ourselves wide open and allowing the Lord to shine through. It’s recognizing that a difference of opinion is no reason to end a relationship. It’s knowing that every piece of our lives belongs to and can be used by Him.
It’s about getting down and dirty. It’s about sitting next to someone in the mud as they search and grasp. It’s being willing to embrace the messy. To accept that each one of us is at a different point on the road. It’s about saying, “I get you. I know where you are. I accept you. Please, let me tell you about this extraordinary God who pulled me out of that very same pit.” And then sticking around.
It’s about being winsome, being “attractive in appearance or character.”
It’s about having a ready, genuine smile and real confidence, knowing that, whatever comes, the end is good and glorious.
But stop expecting it to be perfect. Stop thinking that it will go right every time.
We have to get out there. We have to be honest about our ugliness. It contrasts so nicely with the beauty of God. Our authenticity allows others to see how amazing He is. We must share our passion and knowledge from a place of brokenness, pointing everyone we meet to the Holy Glue.
We get out there and do the thing. We run. We fight. We engage. We get beat up, torn up. Our hair won’t stay pretty. The mascara will run, even the best waterproof kind. Our muscles will burn. Our bones will break. It will never, ever be neat or nice-looking.
We go hard. We love hard.
And we do it with a grin.
Because He’s the greatest blast of our lives.