Yes, it’s true.
I am coming home to Orlando at the end of the month. There were a lot of factors playing into this seemingly unexpected decision. Finances, jobs, missing home, and several other internal reasons that I may or may not get into. But whatever the reasons, I feel as though I’ve crossed from one vista to another, and have a unique opportunity to stop, take a rest on a bench, and contemplate the scope that lies behind me and before me.
Martin Luther once famously said “All of life is repentance.”
Repentance is a continual return. Re-orientation. Perpetual redemption. A shift toward God, and away from self. This is an art that is never mastered, but always catalyzed by the Spirit in a tried and true, ancient way that somehow never fails to surprise. I’m finding that often God interacts on a profound, mysterious, intricate level with our own free will and decisions, orchestrating things to bring us to transformation and growth.
Repentance reminds me that I am not the Teacher, but the student. I must constantly shift and adjust my attitude in light of how God is moving in my life and in the lives of people around me.
I feel like I am in a constant state of learning. This trip in Australia if nothing else has brought me to a constant state of humiliation, where I confront again and again how little of life I know and understand.
I am not saying I have mastered any of this, only that my eyes have been opened, and my vision clarified just a bit more in light of my experiences.
From Australia, I am learning how beautiful and vast this world is. I am learning generosity, and hopefully how to worry maybe just a little bit less.
From Walter, I am learning the incredible importance of family, and how crucial it is to love, appreciate and spend time with them.
From Ellie and her family, I am learning openheartedness and warmth through shared meals and board games.
From Michael Ondaatje, I am learning again how writers can capture truth and beauty through language. How they make words sing.
From Tim Keller, I am learning to come to grips about what the Bible says about marriage, what I truly think, want, and believe about marriage, and how I want to be a better friend in all of my relationships.
From Christian, I am learning about a spirit of generosity and servanthood and kindness.
From Hillsong Church, I am learning the importance of reconciling an intellectual faith with a passionate, spontaneous, emotional faith. I am learning the joy of inclusive love, kindness, hospitality. And I am acknowledging the power of openly worshiping and declaring truth and faith and hope. I am learning refreshment and joy.
From Jeanne, I am learning the necessity and redemptive power of constant communication and friendship. I have learned the importance of constantly investing in people, how to be honest, vulnerable and consistent. And how to be more efficient:)
The feelings and emotions I believe that I currently have regarding Australia and this constant state of learning (repentance) is something that I know will fade in time. However, I am praying that God will help seal these experiences and knowledge within my heart, that they will be deeply internalized, worked out in the details and decisions of my life.
Jeanne has declared the following to be her favorite Hillsong song. I actually finally listened to all of the lyrics of the chorus early this morning and I was stunned at how the words and melody and music together so simply and beautifully captured this idea of redemption and transformation and growth, in light of God’s glory.
Your Name is Glorious, glorious
Your love is changing us, calling us
To worship in Spirit and in truth
As all creation returns to you
May our hearts be set upon and continually transformed by this incredible truth.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” I John 3:1-3