Sep 7, 2007

follow heart, follow home

Tonight is one of those nostalgic melancholy nights. Perhaps it was the high school football game I watched throughout the evening from the office and my room as I was on duty. Then I decided to watch portions of Elizabethtown, a fantastic movie in my book, though not many will agree.

The music in the movie is wonderful. It's perfect for my current state of mind, yet also brings about thoughts of traveling across the country. I listened to it often on my way to Seattle last March.

Perhaps it is the fact that the movie and music both inundated my life before and during my grandmother's death and funeral. The events and people of the movie are so reminiscent of my entire trip to Maryland. Or that the words of the music speak of journeys and sadness and hope and death. Or that I am feeling the monotony of school weighing on me. Or the jobs and classes and work and duty nights are all consuming the time of which I am so jealous.

Whatever it is, I cannot help but be content with my situation. God has provided all that I could ever need and so much beyond. And more and more I realize that I am in the midst of a journey, a journey that is neverending, yet ever-changing; a story that I cannot help but look eagerly for the next character to enter or the next adventure to begin.

You all will know that I love to read. I have been reading a lot recently - Into the Wild, Shadow of the Almighty, Searching for God Knows What. One of my favorite books is The Hobbit, and here is something I found from Tolkien's brilliance:

"The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say..."

It fits perfectly. And as frightening the prospect of a path with no end and no map, I, and we, have this great assurance:

"I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart of your laws...I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." (Psalm 119:30,32)

If only I may move towards having this lived out in my own life; to be founded on His laws, running after His commands, free. There is a freedom in Jesus. He released the sinners and the sick from their chains. His truth, His words, did that. So I choose that way.

Besides, it's way more fun to travel without a map, but instead with your love saying "follow me".

Sep 4, 2007


This morning I spent some time reading John. I have slowly been working my way through each of the Gospels, trying to get a better picture of Jesus. I figured that if I claim to follow this Jesus character, I should probably know as much as I can about him.

Over the past week, I have become increasingly aware of the constant presence of one phrase in my mind. I went so far as to change my Facebook religious views to said phrase. "Die to Self". It's a common theme in the Bible - turning over yourself, becoming less like yourself, and more like Him. I have been praying for God to give me eyes to see where I can die to self in my own life.

So John the Baptist says in the book of John: "He must become greater, I must become less." Taken out of context as it is, I was still drawn to the fact that at its heart, John's message is the same. Die to self. Humble himself (John) because HE (Jesus) is LORD.

My favorite and most influential book in my life has been Through Gates of Splendor. I am dumbfounded by the lives of the men and women who sacrificed everything earthly, their own bodies, for a people they had never met. God struck them with a love so deep - a love that mimics HIS love for us. In the book, Elisabeth Elliot takes portions of journals and letters to illustrate the men who died. One of Roger Youderian's thoughts has been one I have continually been drawn to in the last few weeks.

"My mind was made only to love Him; my body, also...I will die to self. I will begin to ask God to put me in a service of constant circumstances where to live Christ I must die to self. I will be alive unto God. That I may learn to love him with my heart, mind, soul, and body."

It's a good quote. But it scares me. I found myself trying to reason around it, figuring I could compromise, give up certain things, but not all. That's not dying to self though.

Roger died a few weeks after he wrote his above thought, having abandoned what his self desired, seeking to live Christ for the Auca Indians of Ecuador.

Jim Elliot wrote "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." They gave up their earthly lives, things that would pass away with a last breath, for eternity with HIM. Isn't that what dying to self is?

All this is a long way of saying that today I took a small step in dying to self. I shut down my MySpace and took an indefinite leave of absence from Facebook. Petty, small, insignificant step as it is, it is still a step. My reasons for my internet usage in those two areas are flesh-feeding, self-feeding. So I let that go.

But I'm still keeping this open because I like to write out my thoughts - and read yours.