Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Escape to Experience



Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

I am praying it is real. 

It's not about the quick fix or the how-to's. 

I've been writing in the midst of international travel and too many nights in different places to count. I'm writing now in the midst of more nomadic times and the beginning of our ministry's summer-long English camp.



I'm also writing with a broken heart. Soon after I said goodbye to my Dad he became very sick and now lays in a hospital bed an ocean away with kidney failure. (Update :: He is improving, though weak and needing to adjust to a life with dialysis. He was able to come home from the hospital yesterday in time to celebrate his 74th birthday. God is good!)

And really, truly, I don't want to write about Pure Passion. 

I want to curl up on the couch and watch feel-good movies or lose myself in a happily-ever-after book. I want to escape from the reality of life.

There are times when Grace is close and we are bruised reeds, brokenhearted, exhausted, discouraged, and afraid and the Lord is so close to us even when we are ‘escaping’ mentally through movies or books or social media feeds. This has been true for me many times in life, especially after my mom's death and as I moved overseas.

So, for me, it would be a whole other kind of heartbreaking if this series started to preach performance or the rigid try-hard of life. “No, please, no!” is a kind of ‘groaning prayer’ as I write.

However…

We’re talking about paradigm shifts in thinking. And moving from Escape to Experience is essential to living a life of Pure Passion.

Jesus makes incredible promises that speak to us through the pages of God’s Only Word. He tells us to take on his yoke, but it is easy and light and brings rest for our weary. This? The yoke of the God-man who emptied himself, became nothing and died on a cross? And here is the Only Way?

How can this be?

Because the eternal destiny of our souls, those who have trusted in Christ’s righteousness for our own, is unity with God. Wholeness. Forever. Love, Joy, Peace and all of the fruition of our heart’s desires are bound up in this. Essentially, God IS our rest.

It’s the Pascal quote (in my last post) and this one I love and use and re-use from St.Augustine. I’m sure C.S. Lewis says it some other way and probably Tim Keller too. All of my favorites, but they all come from the Master. In every way He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to be united with the Father, our eternal rest, our Intimate Embrace of Love, but through Him.

I walk this journey with a bit of trepidation as I write about Pure Passion in my relationship with God and intimately linked to it, a life-giving sexual relationship with my husband. Because I know myself, my best do-good-in-my-own-strength efforts are often fleeting. Life is just too hard and I am too much dust and clay to become some up-in-front-of-the-world Pure Passion Woman. (whoever that woman is would be something to behold, don't you think?)


But, even with all of that, I have to keep writing and walking and stumbling and being vulnerable enough to live it out in the open. Anything else, for me, just seems like the coward’s way.

So, the truth? 

I am a professional Escape Artist. 

As far back as I can remember, I do the best to perform and at times, with a high level of capacity, and then I escape into my own ways of finding rest, me-time, etc. when I have no more strength. Growing up it was after chores on the farm and then after homework and studying for straight A grades. But, my whole life, it’s always been the same.

When I have no more strength, I tend to escape instead of learning to experience the strength of God in the midst of my weakness.

And, as I am finding with all of the dark, unrefined places of my heart, my desire to escape is in soul-tearing conflict with God’s when I look at it in the light of sexual intimacy in marriage.

As I think of my personal journey in marriage with sex, I have ridden the waves of passion as a newlywed. Then life outside of marriage got harder and I went into my default patterns. I found my pseudo-rest in escape. Whether TV or books or movies or _______.

But this is not the way. No. Jesus calls me to come to Him in my weariness. This answer, I could have given you like the good Christian girl I am;) years and years ago.

Yet, to experience His life and rest, intimately, with my hubby, through our sexual relationship? To say no to that escape artist and choose to experience our intimate life when the kids are asleep and yet my to-do list remains long? Or when I am so tired I don’t want to have to think about anything? When I want to fall asleep, or not, but definitely have no more demands, especially sex, then too?



Crazily, amazingly, whole-heartedly, I know the answer is YES! 

However, to choose the better way I must cut through all of the layers of my flesh-filled life. All of the patterns of hiding, shame, holding back, fear, loneliness…

And yet Jesus comes to me as Bridegroom to Bride and wants to lead me to the bedroom and my beloved and asks me to trust Him.

For all time it’s the only way to be changed, to experience and live present and full and yes, with Pure Passion.

Read the entire Pure Passion Series here!

Sharing with Kelli @ Unforced Rhythms, Jen @ SoliDeoGloriaSisterhood , Laura , #TellHisStory & Amy and #RiskRejection

Join me next time for Pure Passion :: From Folly to Fun


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