To live out the largeness of life God intends for us is in finding the rhythm of having and doing it all and just dance to it.
I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!2 Corinthians 6:11–13, MSG
“How do you guard that youthful idealism of your twenties?” I was recently asked. It was put forward to me by a fellow creative in her early twenties. It’s a warranted question for anyone navigating the creative world but I also wonder if we are raising our next generation to concern with the pursuit of idealism or passion more than developing the “substance” for it.
Because it isn’t about guarding idealism or passion or dreams than it is all about the maturing of and with your ideals, passions or dreams. That they don’t get easily taken out by the realities of growing up and growing old. As 2 Cor 6:11-13 points out “smallness” comes from within us. It’s really about a maturing resolve to make it all work without being overwhelmed by it all. Borrowing Christine Caine’s words from her book “Can I have and do it all?”: It’s not about being superman or superwoman, it’s about believing that life can be lived supernaturally, with and by God.
If you ever find yourself having to choose between your idealism, passion or dreams vs. life realities, my honest take is that somewhere along your journey you might have gradually fenced yourself in. Often it looks like trying to be like superman or superwoman in the pursuit of an ideal, passion or dream that is limited in itself rather than the pursuit and eventual uncovering of the rhythm of that wide, expansive life with Him in a state of Rest.
It’s a fine line of a difference.
The hallmark of that wide-open, spacious and expansive life in 2 Cor 6:11-13 is one that concerns first and foremost (or even only) about being available to respond to His call of whatever and making it all work. Every single time. It’s a deep trusting that that whatever will somehow align with your ideals, passion or dreams. Rather than an intentional pursuit of ‘the dream’, ‘the passion’ or ‘the ideals’ and then eventually arriving at living it… and then not. As life realities compete ever more aggressively, the stakes get higher and all that jazz. To drop out of the race so to speak out of mere exhaustion isn’t uncommon at all.
This was why for me my dating courtship with the husband was so short a la five months before we tied the knot. The husband likes to joke he had to lock me down quick before God sends His next adventure my way. Though there is some truth in that — as I had lived with such an availability for Kingdom matters throughout my youth that my instinctive thought towards dating or marriage at that time was it was a distraction in as much as I was wildly attracted to the husband.
It was his resolve in marrying me within months of us meeting that steeled my resolve to believe that marriage will continue to enlarge my already wide and expansive life than shrink it back or fenced me in. There was no room for this to be like an experiment, it was all-in or nothing. To say ‘Yes’ then figure out how it works, the same way I’d always say ‘Yes’ to God with my availability to take to the next adventure then figure out all the “rational” logistics stuff or if it’s even compatible with “what I think I want”.
The “unknown” is not about taking the plunge or leap of faith into pursuing your ideals, passion or dreams. The unknown is plunging into pursuing God Himself entirely, or whatever He sends your way that looks completely incompatible with the path you are on and but trusting He will align it all when you say ‘Yes’. It’d likely also look like walking into a darkroom and then putting your hand to the plow with no idea what’s on the other side of the picture.
While marriage enlarged my life pretty much from the get-go, it took about five years before we saw the reveal of the picture slowly taking shape as we found ourselves beginning to dance to the rhythm of having and doing it all.
Whether is it being able to uproot instantly whenever wherever He calls us, or financially able to put a roof over our heads a la mortgage, or Him taking us to travel and see the world to get uniquely inspired for our creative work, or being able to support ministries or going to seminary and getting our advanced academic degrees alongside it all without incurring any student debt, or the divine favor in our professional careers, or starting eight parables alongside, or meeting people and friends we now call lifelong comrades and race partners.
It wasn’t and isn’t any one thing that I/we are fixated on in pursuing per se. It’s the wide-open, spacious, expansive life that we’d wake up everyday in awe of ‘Wow I get to live a life like that?!‘ And then just as we started to get groovy about the dance rhythm of it all, He simply takes us to the next level with the surprise pregnancy this year.
I wrote on my instagram recently that, like marriage, I did meet pregnancy with a profound sense of loss or an end of a season mixed with an overwhelming joy. As well-meaning as it is to tell me having a child is the best thing, it compares little to the supernatural life my soul got to live by Him the last two decades. Like it was for marriage, it took the child’s resolve to live, quite literally, to steel my resolve that I will be able to have and do it all with the child as well.
While at 31 weeks, I am still having the easiest of pregnancy that I never dared to imagine — it has been such a pleasant surprise seeing how it hasn’t change any bit of my spacious expansive life the way I had always thought pregnancy would do to a woman — especially at 34-going-35 years of age. I feel supernaturally great without actually doing anything special for the pregnancy. For sure, I am cautiously optimistic still as there is still labor and delivery coming my way and of course postpartum before I can conclusively say that I find child-bearing to be highly addictive and my kind of fun.
Yet it was the supernatural resolve of the child that really got me to this place. At 11 weeks, I was supposed to have a miscarriage — which for the most part did not quite faze me actually. Like marriage, I was still in a mental toss up whether this was a distraction to my availability for Kingdom matters as much as I know that a child is a gift… as cliche as it sounds. But, the baby beat all odds to survive the miscarriage. (We are working on a SLOG on this I promise!)
Then at 14 weeks, there was the beginning of the diagnosis of an anatomy abnormality on the child that was confirmed at 20 weeks that sent me to do an MRI at 24 weeks. Prior to the MRI, it was determined that the baby would need to be induced for early birth and surgery to fix the abnormality in order to have a chance to live. Termination was also presented as a common option. But, the MRI results came back with a completely different diagnosis that stumped the doctors. Of all the probable diagnosis, the baby beat all odds and will no longer need early induction or surgery for survival but a monitoring upon birth as usual, then determine if any intervention is needed at all.
That, for me marked a turning point in how I began to really perceive and believe that life with a kid (or kids) could very very well continue to enlarge my already wide-open, spacious and expansive life. Just like marriage, parenting isn’t going to fence me in. So it has become the start of yet another new thing I look forward to curiously navigate alongside the wild life He’s designed for me. Being a mom will be the most (super)naturally complementary thing for me, than consuming. That He be our consuming fire.
We are less than two weeks to twenty20, I have doodled in my journal that my twenty20 is going to consist of birthing the baby, birthing my first feature documentary at several film festivals around the world, birthing our first eight parables original short film + expanding our team + Year Two of our film retreat and production, birthing a fashion business start-up idea, celebrating the husband’s completion (!) of his Seminary and Masters degree and me starting my Masters (we take turns!), hitting country #50 with the baby (I end twenty19 at 48 having done four new countries this year – Fiji, Greece, Egypt and Monaco) even as the minimalist traveller in me is actually not at all thrilled about the perceived cumbersome-ness of traveling with a child, I’m counting on His divine wisdom and strategies you bet.
Hey baby, you ready for this wild adventure with mommy?
From the way you dance up a disco storm in my tummy every night, I am hopeful you are.