Is there any way to fully capture the feeling of falling in love? Any way to adequately describe it? To really do it justice? It stirs the soul. Joy-saturated energy rises up from somewhere inside and overtakes you. In that moment, you can conquer the world. You can take on any obstacle. You can overcome any fear. You can be fully alive.
I always enjoyed Switchfoot’s music: “Dare You to Move”, “Meant to Live”, “This is Your Life”. Good songs. Great anthems. Powerful lyrics. Strong. Motivating.
But in the summer of 2014, when I first watched the film, “Fading West“, I fell in love. Not with the guys (although they are adorable), but with the feeling behind this film. The breath-taking scenery from all over the world, watching the guys surf monstrous waves, play concerts, interact with fans, each other and fellow bands on tour. And the music. Oh, that music. It lifted my soul. This was actually the beginning, the spark, of everything that happened in the fall of 2014. My miracle started here. If you don’t know that story, you can find it here: My Story
That particular story concluded on my birthday, 10-19-2014. And here I am at another birthday. I always post a blog on my birthday. Sharing these posts has continued to be a daily joy and I can’t imagine 2017/2018 without sharing a new one with you.
It started in 2014: Moment by Moment (all that junk – yep, Jesus redeemed that)
It continued in 2015: Through Heaven’s Eyes (what does God see when He looks at us?)
And this was 2016’s installment: Treasure Hunting (can we really live every day better than before, or is this as good as it gets?)
And for the entire month of September 2017, all I heard was “the best is yet to come”. Everywhere I went. Here are just three examples:
- Craig McGlassion of Paradox Church gave a message on 9-10-17 called “Plan for Rain“. Craig told of hiking the Grand Canyon and finding himself wanting to stop and camp at every turn, so beautiful, massive and enchanting. Thankfully, Craig was with people who had gone this way before and they encouraged him to keep going because they knew what was ahead. Every stop was more amazing than the last, and he was thrilled that he listened to them and kept going. Craig tied that story to our lives today and said, “Our best days are yet to come…. Your best days will always be in front of you instead of behind you…. Don’t be satisfied…. Don’t spend more time reminiscing about what God did than dreaming about what God is going to do.”
- I was blessed to be able to attend Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live Simulcast in person in Toledo, Ohio on 9-16-17. Beth spoke on regaining our vision. She said that we may have had an “initial vision”, but something happened along the way and we lost it. Maybe we gained an “unwanted vision” in the process, and saw the darkness in the world and in ourselves, which lead to cynicism. We wanted our eyes to be opened to good and evil (like Adam and Eve did), but we weren’t expecting to see our nakedness. We wanted to see grandeur, not gore. So, maybe we lost our vision. And now it’s time to “Re-Vision” our future, which may include our original vision, but it will most likely transcend it. This new vision will probably be harder, but it will also be more meaningful.
- And then on 9-24-17, during the first week of the message series called “Leave a Mark“, at exactly 1 hour 15 minutes, Chris Zarbaugh said, “We are incredibly grateful for all the past stories of success and life change, but THE BEST IS YET TO COME.”
So, why all of this encouragement to keep going? Craig McGlassion put it this way:
“Where are you camping in your walk with God? When the past of what has been satisfies us more than the future of what could be is driving us, we’re camping.”
Camping. Yep, I’ve been camping. Actually, I think of it more as “coasting”. I’m 46 today and I’m coasting. If my great grandmother, Willie Katherine Saylors, had lived three more weeks, she would have been 96 years old (February 13, 1908 to January 20, 2004). So, at 46, if I live to be 92, I’m only half way there. Coasting? For half of my life? Why?
Christopher Cook answered this for me. On 10-5-17, I received an email survey regarding Chris’s podcast, “Win Today”. In the process of completing the survey, we were asked to read the story behind his company, which included this statement:
“I was safe and stuck in my very small world, with arms wrapped tightly around every aspect of my life in an attempt to control and prevent further pain.”
Why am I coasting? Chris said it: “To control and prevent further pain.” If I stay safe in my own little world, maybe I can protect myself from pain. But notice that Chris said he did this “in an attempt” to prevent pain. In practice, it doesn’t actually work.
At the simulcast, Beth Moore took a deeper dive:
“We can so protect ourselves from being hurt that we protect ourselves from JOY…. We think it isn’t worth the risk…. Lord, grant us courage to live. To really live…. Awake me to the wonder of You, finding wonder in the every day…. Wonder cannot be held. These are moments. But they are worth it…. We live in the Now and Not Yet. The world is a mess, but we’re still called to rejoice in it and to love each other with His Love.”
Back on 5-13-17, I received a “Whole 90 Devotional” email written by Cliff Johnson, our Birmingham campus pastor. Cliff expands on Beth’s thoughts:
“In Ephesians 2:8-10, Paul reminds us to remember not only how we were saved: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not of works, so that no one can boast,” BUT WHY WE WERE SAVED, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do.”
I have not only been saved FROM something—like death, sin, hell—but I have been saved FOR something. God actually has moments waiting for me to boldly engage to advance His Kingdom. For those of us longing for new stories, this truth should be music to your ears. Although the journey has been painful at times, sharing the story that God has crafted in me through both heartbreak and healing is part of the future He has laid out for me.”
And that future is worth living for. The Prophet Isaiah said it this way:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
-Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
In 2016, Jon Foreman, Switchfoot’s lead man, did a TED Talk at the University of Nevada called Live Your Song. Check it out. It’s nineteen minutes of pure inspiration. After the first of three songs, Jon encourages us to keep on keepin’ on:
“You matter. And there is a void in the symphony of life when you are silent. The pain, the anger, the frustration, the dissonance. Be brave. Sing through it. Be brave and sing the truth, one note at a time.”
Don’t be silent. We need you. Fill the void with your song; a song that only you can sing.
And join me in falling in love, letting yourself be overcome by the exhilaration of being fully alive, belting out “Love Alone is Worth the Fight“:
We’re only here for a season
I’m looking for the rhyme and reason
Why you’re born, why you’re leaving
What you fear and what you believe in
Why you’re living and breathing
Why you’re fighting it and getting it even
Let’s go headed down the open road unknown
And we find what we’re made of
Through the open door
Is it fear you’re afraid of?
What are you waiting for?
Love alone is worth the fight
“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
– Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)