Deciding What You Want to be About
“You are setting the trajectory for your lives right now. You are becoming your future.”
These words were spoken at Reality SF Sunday night by John Mark Comer, a guest pastor from Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. John was speaking on the importance of Sabbath, reframing our mindset to see it as a gift from God, rather than an inconvenient hoop He asks us to jump through that stalls productivity. He talked about how God has sewn the need for rest into the fabric of our lives, intending it to participate in a rhythm that ultimately brings LIFE to our days.
I sat there listening to his words, knowing Sabbath is something I’m horrible at. Sure, I set aside moments here and there for rest throughout the week but every day is still a day for getting things done and for doing rather than being. No whole day is set apart. I constantly buy into the lie that I need to get caught up, that I just need to get these things done and then, I’ll be able to rest.
As John described the transformation that had taken place in his life since he began implementing the Sabbath, my heart yearned for that experience. Peace. Joy. Freedom. A time of rejuvenation and recalibration.
But then I remembered how busy life is right now, with work is demanding long days and travel nearly every week, and the rest of my life fighting to fit into weekends that almost always seem to be over before they start. Suddenly the Sabbath was just a nice thought and I told myself I’d practice it better one day…when things weren’t so crazy.
Precisely as I was having these thoughts is when he spoke those words.
He said that it’d be really easy to envision ourselves as Sabbath-practicers in our futures, and to believe it’d be easier then. Once we finish college or get the job or get married or have kids. But in reality it only gets harder.
Not only that, he said, but the patterns we develop now determine the people we’ll become. We can’t just have this vision for the type of person we want to be and assume that one day it will happen, while doing nothing about it. Character is formed by habits.
Just over a week ago I attended the Storyline Conference in Chicago, IL, where there were similar themes of connecting vision to pointed action each day.
Korie Robertson from Duck Dynasty talked about deciding who you want to be, and making the millions of little choices each day to be that person.
If I want to be a kind, compassionate person, then I’ve got a choice to make when I’m in situations that naturally provoke a contradictory response. I’ve got a choice to make when I’m already in a rush and the lady at the airline customer service counter tells me that my bag has been shipped to the wrong city. I’ve got a choice to make when someone makes a biting remark and the hurt tempts me to throw up my defenses rather than press in and show love to the person who’s just shown me their need.
Each choice is the same. Will I act in reaction to a particular situation, or act in accordance with the type of person I want to be? It’s easy to be kind and compassionate when it’s easy, just like it’d be easier to practice Sabbath if I weren’t so busy. But doing so when it’s hard is when it counts. Those little choices in the little moments are significant. I want to chose well.
Donald Miller continued this theme of intentionality, applying it more broadly to our lives. He said that too often we just let our lives happen, living reactionary lives. Passivity can even be fueled by the earnest belief that God has one specific purpose for each person and until He reveals it, our job is to wait. While at times God does have very specific tasks and plans for us, He also gives us co-agency with Him over our lives. Which is both exciting and terrifying, because it gives us both freedom and responsibility. Responsibility to make it count.
Don painted for us the image of a little girl sprawled out on the floor with her dad, blank paper and crayons in every color imaginable before them. The dad, he contended, doesn’t tell the little girl what to draw. Instead he asks her what she’d like to draw, because he wants to create something beautiful with her. And God, being the dad in this analogy, has created in the little girl passions and abilities that are going to serve His purpose of bringing lives to Him.
It’s easy to envision the type of people we want to be…one day. And imagine the type of lives we want to lead…one day.
What’s easy to miss is that we’ve been given an opportunity to let our choices work us towards those visions. It’s called today.
I’ve come up with some words that help me to categorize what I want to be about. At times they serve as a filter when I’m making plans or decisions. They also help me connect a minimal, mundane task to its greater purpose.
Prayer: I want to be a woman of prayer—in the big things, small things, and all things. Taking time to nurture my relationship with God is the single most important thing to me. I want to continually grow in knowing Him and making Him known.
Relationship: I want to be someone who loves freely and invests deeply. I want my life to always reflect the truth that people are important, and that connection brings richness and meaning to life. I want to savor the sweet relational moments and not shy away from the difficult ones that are meant to sharpen all involved.
Adventure: I want to #neverstopexploring (Ha! But seriously). I want to travel and experience new places and people. I want to hike and climb and camp and enjoy nature. Most importantly I want to stay curious, and never lose my desire to keep learning or trying new things.
Creativity: I want to continually cultivate the joy of creating and never limit myself to just one kind. I want to write and sing (in the shower), and make glittery cards and play guitar (T-Swift and worship chords are all I know but really, what else do you need?). I was created to create in the image of the Creator and I feel His pleasure when I do.
Health: I want to make health a priority by continually adopting healthy habits and releasing the unhealthy ones. I want to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy. That means putting good things in me and exercising and establishing rhythms of rest in my life. Yes, including Sabbath.
I want to get better at asking myself if the little choices I’m making in the little moments today are serving the person I want to be tomorrow.
P.S. Enjoy some Chicago photos below!
NOT my feet, ha! Too afraid to take this shot so I asked my line buddies to help me out.
Breathtaking view of the city from the Skydeck (literally, could barely breathe I was so scared).
Could not have asked for a more GORGEOUS day to explore the city.
The Art Institute of Chicago and its enchanting gardens.
The "Frenchie" at Cheesie's Grill & Pub...a big yum for this one!
"The Bean/Cloud Gate" was SO cool + absolutely mesmerizing.
Underbelly of da bean!
LOVED getting to catch up with my friend Tash, who lives in the city. We were flatmates when we both studied abroad in London a few years ago, so this was the first time we ever hung out in America.
The beautiful Chicago Riverwalk.
Another big YUM for this one: Chicago deep dish. Though I hear I also need to try Giordano's and Gino's next time, because opinions are polarizing as to which is best. Eat more pizza? If I must! ;)