Sometimes living a paradox is like trying to walk while you are doing a split. Impossible and ridiculously painful. Thankfully, the paradox I’m currently walking is a bit more like the two yellow lines that centrally split the road, rather than the white lines that divide opposite ditches.
If you can learn to both walk in the authority and maturity the Lord has built in you, while at the same time be freed to enjoy life like a child, than I’m there. Earlier this fall I returned to the place where I first felt the Lord’s beckoning into vocational ministry in a practical way. That was a decade ago. A decade. The realization loosened a deep, tired groan from my soul. Where had that innocent, bright-eyed, idealistic, eighteen year old girl gone? I could hardly recognize her.
I never understood when I would read blogs or hear sermons on pastors or youth-leaders that got burned out in full time vocational ministry. In that moment I understood. My soul was so weary, and there was quietness in my heart that scared me. It was the quietness of a warrior as he surveys the battlefield. The losses and the victories. The terrain, the call and cost of the battle. When had I become a warrior for the Lord? Wasn’t I still the girl I could barely remember?
I was longing for the innocence and vigor that my eighteen-year-old self approached life and ministry with. But I had forgotten her insecurity. Her laughter was born then of merriment but also nervousness then. As I flipped back chapters of my story through the last decade, I realized the deep steadiness the Lord had put in me was a gift. The foundation of Him. And it was time to start accepting that gift and walking in more authority (confidence) of the warrior that He has made me to be for Him.
Can you have authority, maturity, and confidence at the same time as innocence, pure laughter, and merriment? I hope so.
I’m beginning to see that it’s actually the maturity of understanding who we are in Christ – completely approved – that gives us the carefree grace to be like a child – to enjoy life, to laugh with purity and joy. Not laughter born out of sarcasm or insecurity – but the laughter of freedom.
And so I’m learning to walk the paradox of being a warrior who laughs. And you know what laughter does? It refreshes the soul. Imagine that.
The greatest gift the Lord has given me in coming to the Discipleship House is the gift of space. This space is the freedom to be both the seasoned warrior and the child. The students here have taken years off my life already – in a good way! That I’m able to both teach them and play with them is the best medicine the Dr. could have prescribed for the weary barrenness in my soul.
As I’m learning to play again, I’m also praying the Lord would restore and grow my ability to play with words. A post I wrote a few weeks ago was just published on Kindred Grace, and it’s giving me hope that perhaps maturity and the subtle merriment through woven word illustrations can also abide in the same space. Will you take a read? Click here
Laugh. It’s best gift you can give yourself and everyone around you. And if you need a place to start? Take all the random illustrations I used in this post, and picture them together. Put your imagination glasses on.
I’m seeing a laughing warrior doing splits, on a paved road, while they read someone’s ministry biography. Ridiculous. Oh, and for no reason at all? They are wearing a cowboy hat.
Laughing yet? Smiling at least? Good. Be refreshed today.
“Both Warrior and Child?” Is Day 2 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series for October