Oh My God WOAH

Last year at this time I started training with Completely Ridiculous and a class that really pulled me out of my sadness and self pity was a clown-based class. The heart of the work is to come back to delight, wonder, and hope. I think that’s also the heart fo life: coming back to the awe.

I may not walk around with a smile glued to my face nor recite Christian phrases like, it’s the joy of the Lord that does it for me! Praise be to those folks who genuinely hold that close to their heart and on their sleeves. I probably, once upon a time, was that too. Once in high school someone thought I was fake because I smiled all the time until he realized I was genuinely happy and wanted to be my friend. (Goodness please if you are reading this, remind me when this was because high school simply felt awful!) People would say my joy, my smile were infectious. Last year, a friend said, “Nancy…you seem….sad.”I think he meant more than the general allowed sadness we had; I was gray. I was heavy. I am still those things. These past 2 years, life in general, have dampened my outward infectious smile, or shortened the consistency of it.

But this new reality has made my moments of awe and wonder that much more powerful. Awe and wonder and delight can strike me at a moment’s notice, and I’m tearing up by the grace of god. I am more sensitive when wonder smacks me and pulls me up for air. Wonder by Bethel music gets me every time. Coming back to the present moment, like really coming back to it, gets me every time. Because I know the opposite. I’ve gotten comfortable on the other side. And the along with the doubt and despair plagued on the other side, I have also deepened my relationship with god in a way I need never to justify to anyone anymore. It can be lonely at times, and still I wouldn’t trade it for another journey to faith.

Today I will chase delight. Today I will smile at cute dogs. Today I will imagine that on the other side of this loneliness and lost land is gracious provision that will leave me saying, OH MY GOD. WOAH. WOW.

CBG: Hope

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 3: 1-10

I’ve been comparing myself a lot, feeling sad and scared that I won’t amount to anything and my norm will be not enough, small and mediocre. And as much as I know all the pithy sayings about comparison, it’s hard to squelch it and suddenly feel contentment. I want a lot in life and I don’t apologize for it. I feel a lot and I don’t want that to stop. I have big hopes and dreams that feel indulgent to verbally express to other people. And where I am today feels not enough. I hate this sinking, dissatisfied, gray lodged in my throat. How do I get back to the joy? How do I get back to the child?

This lame begger leapt in joy. He praised without bounds. He celebrated. Why? How? How do I get some of that?

He had settled for alms to get him through each day, physically alive. He made the best of his situation. He didn’t care who saw his state. Even if he thought Peter was nuts, he still played along because buried deep in his despair and settling was a glimmer of wild hope. That spark of flickering hope sustained him to now and gave him the courage to raise his hand to be held. And it’s in that moment when he stands and feels the strength in his ankles that he saw that dim hope explode. No matter how dim, how small, how undetectable most days, it is that hope we must come back to.

Hope that despair and disconnection don’t last. Hope that healing is possible. Hope that someone sees you. Hope that your calling is purposeful. Hope that the next minute might be better. Hope that it will all one day make sense.

Prayer: God I pray that hope of you will manifest in my thoughts, actions and words.

Character: Where is comparison wrecking your vision of hope and joy?

Grace: What miracles have you witnessed this past week?