why i often re-visit my old writing...

7 August 2013

the twenty-year-old version of me, on a ferry-riding adventure with my homegirl sasha

i've been blogging, in one form or another, since 2005.  the majority of that time, my words followed me around the world, and were my letters home from the giant new zealand adventure. when i started the delight adventure, my plan was to deviate from the 'travel update' style of writing, as i often found that uninspiring (especially over the years as the 'new zealand adventure' turned into 'new zealand is my home where i do normal day to day things like clean my toilet...'), and to move more into writing about things that inspire me, and to write creatively, simply because i enjoy it. 

this year, i have been trying to go through my previous two blogs and save the writing into a document that i will hopefully print into a hard copy in the near future. at times i cringe when i read the words of twenty-year-old stacey, i don't think we'd always see eye to eye. and, unsurprisingly, there are a LOT of references to five iron frenzy. but occasionally, i find a gem, and i re-learn something from my past self, that is precisely what i need today. allow me share one such gem with you...

'...the following is an excerpt from searching for god knows what by donald miller, author of blue like jazz. preceding this piece, don is talking about his experience at a christian non-fiction writer’s seminar. the speaker has given out two formulas for successful self-help books. both basically include a crisis, possible ramifications of said crisis, and a 3 or 4 step formula to fix your life so it won’t happen to you.

“I returned home and began pouring over the Bible, looking for formulas I could use for my book of daily devotions. And I have to tell you this was much more difficult than you might think. The formulas, in fact are hidden. It seems when God had the Bible put together, He hid a lot of the ancient wisdom so basically you have to read into things and even kind of make things up to get a formula out of it. And the formulas that are obvious are terrible. For instance, a guy named Steven was miserable (or at least I assumed he was miserable) and then he became a Christian, and then he was stoned to death. This formula, of course, was not good enough to make the cut. And for that matter, neither was the one about Paul, who was a murderer before he became a Christian and then was blindfolded while traveling, met Jesus in a burst of light, and then spent various painful years moving from city to city, prison to prison, routinely being beaten and bit by snakes. No formula there. I moved on to Peter who was rescued from a successful fishing business only to be crucified, some historical accounts claim, along with his wife. And of course that didn’t work. So I decided to ignore the actual characters of scripture and just go with the teachings of Jesus. And that is when things really became difficult. Apparently Jesus had not heard of the wonderful tool of acronym...

“That said, I do believe people change, and I do believe life can get better. I mean I have changed, slowly, over time, the way a tree grows by the river. I have a very intelligent and conservative friend who teaches at a local Bible college, and he believes the only thing that truly changes a person is God’s truth, that is, His Word and His working in our lives through the Holy Spirit. This made a lot of sense to me, because the times in my life when I have been most happy haven’t been the times when I’ve had the most money or the most freedom or the most anything, but rather when I’ve been in love or in community or right with people. My friend at the Bible College believes the qualities that improve a person’s life are relational, relational to God and to the folks around us. This made a lot of sense, too because when Jesus was walking around on Earth He taught His disciples truths through experience, first telling them stories, then walking with them, then causing stuff to happen like a storm on the sea, then reiterating the idea He had taught them the day before. And even then it took Him years before the disciples understood, and even then the Holy Spirit had to come and wrap things up. So it made me realize that either God didn’t know about the formulas, or the formulas weren’t true.”

this past sunday, one sentence that the pastor shared has been glowing in my mind like a fluorescent sign. he was talking about abram’s arrival into canaan and the living conditions there. he said, “we often misconceive god’s direction. things do not always go from good to better. they often go from good to worse.” that totally made me think of what don miller was saying in regards to god and formulas, and it made me think about what god has me doing right now. since fiji i wouldn’t exactly say things have been easier, or even necessarily better, but is that what god has promised me? maybe. maybe not. but he proves over and over that his way of coming through is not always the way i expect him to.'

wow, 2005 stacey, WOW. little did i know that this was to become a theme throughout my faith. and the theme here isn't 'things are bound to go from bad to worse', as i am tempted to think on my bad days. the theme is that god is trustworthy. the theme is that god's ways are not my own. the theme is that he has got a plan, which is working things out for good in my life, even when all i can see is the mess right in front of me.

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