I made a decision last week. I’ve never been one to support resolutions, but after reading The Happiness Project, I’ve resolved to abandon my cynicism and even discovered that New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday of the year. The truth is that I love reading everyone’s social media comments about gratitude, reflection, and plans for the future. I even love the cheesy shows, like watching a giant ball drop in a crowded, freezing city street, and listening to crummy bands play on the television screen as everyone in the crowd dances like wannabe strippers. My favorite show this year, though, was a review of YouTube’s most popular videos and crazes from the year. We are an odd species, and I appreciate that. I know, without any hesitation, that there is a wealth of darkness in the world, and this is the one time of the year when, collectively, we seem to take a deep breath of hope and turn the other cheek to darkness. It’s also nice to get a kiss at midnight.
So what will I resolve to do in 2014? Well, I’ve made a list, and much of it has to do with Eric, but one of the things has to do with this blog too (we’ll see what happens). The most precious thing to me, however, is my resolution to finish more books. I didn’t care much for reading as a teenager, even though I started reading at a young age, so when I decided to make a Pinterest board to memorialize all of the books I’ve actually delved into cover to cover, I was saddened by the shallow pile. I read a lot, but I tend to abandon books for the newer, shinier cover with the flashier title—I am always searching for the greatest intellectual high. I need to work on savoring.
The hardest thing to face now is that The Bible is not on my Pinterest board.
I don’t think I would have felt much about this before John Mark Comer delivered his “with-ness” sermon on the Sunday before Christmas week. Before, I believed—in all honesty—that “finishing” the Holy Book was more like a Christian initiation project, or an item on a Christian to-do list that would have no return other than protecting me from the shame of being found out. I wasn’t only afraid of what other Christians would think of me (it has been almost 10 years that I have been following Jesus), but I was more afraid of what intellectual non-religious friends might think. I am inclined to believe that they might find it more appealing to befriend a girl with God in her head and heart, rather than the God of the scriptures in her brain. They might also think that “finishing” the Bible would set me straight; the problem with that is that I’ve read most of it, and I know how messed up it can be. Yet, my love for Jesus is genuine—it’s not merely in my head and my heart—and I always find that the toughest of biblical moments can lead me to stronger faith, even when I think that there can be no reassurance for the obstacles I face and questions I ask.
Ultimately, I desire with-ness. What if John Mark is right? What if the scriptures are primarily used for spending time with God? What if when I read I can find myself in a room of my own—a place where Jesus meets me and spends time with me and reminds me of the sweetness of his presence. I hate doing the dishes, but somehow, if Eric and I do them together, the entire task is transformed. I realize now that I’ve always approached the Word of God as a textbook to be studied, understood, challenged, and defended. I’ve even treated it as a Magic-8 Ball of sorts, filled with fantastical stories and written words of wisdom from Jesus that I can use to fine-tune my path and color the world new with narrative and meaning.
I’ve never seen the pages of the Bible as a place—its pages are open and I can hear God whispering, come sit with me.
In the beginning, God made us. He put us in a garden, and I wish I were there now where man and woman could stand naked and unashamed along with all of the animals we named. God told us not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; instead, he gave us His presence and He asked us to trust Him for all of this knowledge—to believe that He could be our all-knowing guide in matters of right and wrong. Our friend and counselor. Our Father. But the thought of being forever children—innocent and reliant upon our Father in matters of good and evil—was too much to bear. So we traded His presence for the apple, the 10 commandments, and a new order. We became the captains of our ships, the masters of our souls.
Can I steer this ship towards you My God? Can I resolve to savor each and every page of your text in the midst of your presence and live the rest of my days knowing what it means to be with you?