Well, it happened. All the people who were concerned about my involvement in Christian Yoga and contemplative practices were right. They clearly saw the danger ahead of me and the perilous path on which I was embarking. They must have known that yoga and silence were just gateway drugs. If I was open to such questionable activity, my judgement couldn't be trusted and certainly I would end up abandoning my faith or, worse, becoming a...gasp...liberal.
This week I found myself so deeply impacted by the love of God that I had no words. I found myself loving others so deeply I felt like an idiot. I found myself ready to abandon everything for Love.
Who am I?
While this was no sentimental, sappy, Hallmark card experience of love, it was an emotion. Or, perhaps more of a physical presence. How weird is that?
I don't want to write too much because words seem to diminish the sacredness of this transformation, but my foundation has been rocked and I'm amazed at a God who would so lovingly disassemble my prickly, protective coping mechanisms so I could fully live and love and be loved.
Today I find I'm not hiding behind my life experience or my emotional health or my spiritual resume or my well-crafted sentences. I'm a beginner again. Sitting at the feet of Jesus while he introduces me to so many I've dismissed and overlooked who may have much less external success or platform but have love in great measure.
For the first time in my life I'm beginning to understand what Paul means when he says,
" But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
Do you see what's happened? I started a journey some years ago and I was adequately warned that it would lead to something radical. Something unsafe. Something that would change me.
I insisted it wouldn't affect me.
I was wrong. Praise God.
I've spent a fair amount of time in counseling. So much time that I sometimes list it as a hobby.
(As a side note: I'm also a counseling evangelist of sorts. One year I referred so many people to my favorite counselor she sent me a Christmas gift. It was a plant. I killed it--requiring more counseling. She's brilliant!)
But I digress.
My point is that I have an innate hunger to grow. Its something God placed inside me when he formed me and its a part of how my story continues to unfold.
My first experiences of counseling were dramatic. Big breakthroughs, seismic internal shifts, and addicting 'aha's' characterized that first season. The transformation was so evident that my physical appearance morphed. The photo snapped as I graduated from my eating disorder treatment program documented a starkly different young woman than the 'before' picture taken just six weeks earlier. Nothing about my body was different but my face was lit up, my eyes were no longer vacant, I emanated hope.
But there have been more seasons of slow growth. A seed buried deep in the soil, mysteriously, stealthily becoming something new. Taking its own sweet time before it reveals a small shoot. Then more time as it lengthens and broadens and flowers. Painfully slow.
Photo Credit: Jason Samfield
Do I look taller to you?
I know I'm growing. At least I think I'm growing. But sometimes its hard to quantify or articulate. How does one measure 'more faith' or 'less anger?' Especially when its been a "long obedience in the same direction".
So, last week, when I had a distinct 'before' and 'after' moment I engaged in a little celebration. And now, I'm going to share it with you.
Photo credit: wwworks
Prepare to be underwhelmed.
I love a good makeover (I'm taping The Biggest Loser as I write this!), but the most important spiritual transformations occur internally, over time, through consistent disciplines, in the context of community, and the power of the Holy Spirit. They don't make front page headlines and are rarely blog-worthy. But they are the stuff the spiritual journey is made of. It's the evidence of the continuing work of the gospel in my life and some days that encouragement will go a long ways. So here is my little piece of mundane transformation:
See. Nothing to write home about. But I believe there is someone else out there who needs to be encouraged in their slow journey. Who needs to be reminded that these are the biggest miracles--the changing of a heart. And there will be other days in my journey that I'll need this reminder as well. And, now, I'll know where to find it--filed under 'Precious'.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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