Friday, February 20, 2015

Hot Air Balloons in the Sky

“Give yourself fully to the adventure of today. Do not give in to fear or worry, those robbers of abundant living.” –Jesus Calling

Saying yes to crazy things is something I do quite often. But somehow, despite how many crazy adventures I take and moves I make, I am still gripped by the fear and uncertainty that accompanies each one. Each “yes” is immediately followed by a rush of anxiety and doubt and regret and fear and an intense need to make lists and sort out details and an even more intense desire to turn around and rewind at a very fast pace.
But despite all of that…despite my heart pounding and my nerves racing, and my brain straining to just know something, I keep saying yes to the crazy. And here’s why…

You never know when saying yes to the crazy, nonsensical thing will lead to a sky full of hot air balloons!

I realize I often speak in metaphors and lose people along the way, but metaphors are how I learn and how I make some sense of the crazy. Metaphors help me understand the journey and keep saying crazy yeses. So let me explain.

This past month I’ve been a gypsy of sorts. I’ve labeled it my “February Tour.” I started in Seattle for 10 days, spent about 5 days in Phoenix, and now I’m chilling in Chicago (quit literally at -5 degrees.) I can’t stay in one place for too long. Most people think it’s because I get bored, but I really don’t think that’s it. I think I’m afraid of how short life is and that I’ll never be able to experience all of the place and things that I hope to. So I go whenever possible.

Anyways. One of my favorite things about God is that He is such a personal, intimate God. He created each of us as unique individuals, and He speaks to us in that way too. He is so faithful to do this in my own life just when I need it most and often when I am traveling. I think because I’m out of my regular routine and much more aware of my surroundings. I’m awake. My eyes are wide open. I’m exploring. And there He finds me. Because He knows when we’re most likely to be looking for Him and most likely to find Him-hear Him-feel Him, and that’s where He wants to be. He longs for us to look for Him and He is delighted when we find Him! (#tangent)

So, this past Sunday in Phoenix, AZ, I had the amazing opportunity to experience what God is doing at Compel Church. My dear friend from college has been part of a church planting team there for a couple of years now and I finally got to stop in sunshiny Phoenix and check it out. I was so encouraged and refreshed to spend the weekend with such genuine, passionate, ridiculously fun people. Sunday morning came with a bright and early wake up call. Of course being a fellow “church planter” I wanted to experience every aspect of this one and spend as much time with these super cool people as possible. Having been a church planter, I can’t really just come to church and do nothing. I need to be running around like everyone else or I feel out of place. Ashley knowing this about me, decided to send me on some errands. Honestly, this was not quite what I had in mind when I set out to be helpful. I was hoping to set something up or clean maybe. I’m not the biggest fan of driving or driving alone or driving in places where nothing is familiar. And I had driven a few days before and was pretty terrified by these crazy Arizona drivers. But of course I wanted to be as helpful as possible. And so even though I was nervous and unsure and had no clue where this Arizona highway would take me and even though I was going alone and in a car I was unfamiliar with, I said yes.

I walked out to the car, put the address into maps on my phone and started driving down the road as Siri directed. I couldn’t think too far ahead because I didn’t know the roads she was saying anyways, and I couldn’t turn around because I was on a mission and I wanted to help my friend. All I could do was keep driving forward, turn down the music, listen carefully to what Siri was saying and pay close attention to the road right in front of me.

And just when I thought I was lost, that I had arrived at the wrong location, Siri rerouted me. She didn’t miss a beat. She got me back on the road and headed in the right direction.

Of course there’s always that moment when we question Siri and her wisdom-especially after we’ve gotten lost or taken a wrong turn. We are reluctant to keep following and trusting, even more so when we already had an idea in our heads of how to get there. When she tosses in a turn or a direction that seems odd, we are so quick to question. But often what we fail to realize is that she’s helping us avoid a detour or an accident or bad traffic, or sometimes she just knows a more efficient way of getting us to our destination. Familiarity doesn’t always equal efficiency and routine and habit are often the enemies of growth and discovery.

After being a bit shaken up and having to get back out there and keep moving forward and keep trusting Siri, something beautiful happened. As I turned a bend in that wide-open Arizona highway, there in front of me filling the never-ending, sapphire blue sky floating above the mountain peaks were hot air balloons! Tons of them! A smile instantly spread across my face and my heart was full. Of course I wanted to take a picture (because I always want to take a picture), but I had to just keep going and enjoy the moment and let God speak. And He did!

To a lot of people, a bunch of hot air balloons would be just that-a bunch of hot air balloons. Pretty, a nice photo, but not a monumental moment. But this is why I say I love how personally God speaks. I adore hot air balloons! They are so charming and lovely and whimsical! And in a time of great transition in my life, I have been searching for some extra affirmation from God and assurance that I am taking the right steps. So not only did God speak to me using one of my all time favorite things, he also waited to meet me in a place where I was looking to find Him. 

He painted this stunning picture in the sky right in front of me as I was navigating my way through the unknown and He reminded my heart that life with Him is just so.

When I say yes to the crazy despite my fear and doubt and all of the uncertainty, and when I trust Him to lead and guide and direct and I am careful to listen and watch for His leading and focus on each step as He gives them, I will find Him and so much beauty in this life.

Had I refused to say yes, refused to move forward and embrace the unknown and travel down an unfamiliar road, look what I would have missed!

We never know what we will miss out on when we decide to say no and stay comfortable. Yes I am afraid every single time to embark on these crazy adventures and do these crazy things Jesus asks of me, but I am more afraid of what I will miss out on if I say no instead. Every time I am afraid, but every time I move forward because God has shown me that he will meet me out there on the wide open, unfamiliar road with hot air balloons in the sky.

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