Monday, April 30, 2007

Losing my Life... To Follow my Dreams




Joining the Great Adventure

I remember it well. My Grade Three teacher, Mrs. Eged-Hollo (Hollow Egg, as we called her, to peals of laughter, although we all thought she was very nice) was assigning parts for the Mass. Our Grade Three class was going to perform it in the library. Holy Name was a smallish Catholic elementary school, with about 400 students, and at eight years old I'd already started to earn a reputation as a bit of a card. I liked performing for people, making people laugh. I liked spiritual things too. The whole idea of God fascinated me. I immediately put up my hand.

"Mrs. Eged-Hollo, can I do the sermon?"

She smiled and nodded.

"Certainly, Stevie."

My dad helped me prepare was I was going to say, and the next week I delivered my first sermon. I don't remember what it was about; I only remember that it felt right. As the years passed, I looked at going into priesthood, even visited a place in New York when I was 16. When I was 19, I switched denominations and started a pursuit for the ministry, which included a stint as a youth pastor and a four year degree in theology.

When I look over my life, I see a lot of positives, moments I would never trade. There have been some discouragements as well, some painful and scarring. But through all that time, the calling towards a spiritual life has never left. The idea that something bigger was out there, that God had a hand in my life, has been there since I was a kid.

This past Sunday, Pastor Jason challenged the congregation to take the Next Step, whatever that is for us, in our walk with God. And I think it's time for me to do that.

I write regularly about the pursuit of dreams because I believe it is a fundamental ingredient to a healthy spiritual life, and yet so many people find themselves outside their dreams. They've given up. They get lost in the daily routine of life. And I wonder, is this what it means to follow Jesus? Is this what it means to be a Christian? How can God give us a life so... boring?!

And if the Christian life is nothing more than Sunday church, small group Bible study, raising a family, and being nice to people... I'm not sure it's for me. Wouldn't the God of the universe want us to live a dynamic, spiritual life, filled with daily wonder and growth and adventure?

For the past two years, I've been stuck on a particular verse in Scripture. "For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35) And every time I read it I ask God to help me lose my life. And yet, nothing has changed, and though I love the students I work with, I have noticed a growing restlessness that I am somehow missing something.

But maybe I'm the one that has to lose my life. I applied for an internship this year, which I didn't get, but in doing so took a leave of absence for next year. I can rescind the leave, but I know that in some way I'm not supposed to do that. That I'll be taking the "safe route" if I do, and that years later I'll lokk back and say "what if?"
I do not have a job lined up. I do not know how I will pay the bills. I do not know where God wants me. And I'm excited.

When I looked around my apartment tonight I realized that my life, my routines, my expectations, my relational desires, my wants... well, it's time to lose them. I wouldn't consider myself a materialist, but it's time to let go of what I do expect in those areas.

Time to lose my life.

Time to let go.

We surround ourselves with comfort and distraction, it's a human condition. But I don't want to be distracted anymore. Without a bigger picture, we get upset over small things, over human things that shouldn't pull us into the gutter (if you read my Sunday broadside last week, you know what I'm talking about). For the past few weeks I've been praying for a bigger picture, and so now it's time for me to take a chance and join the great adventure.
My dream is to write and speak, and perhaps work with youth in some capacity. What are your dreams? Do you remember?

My invitation is for you to walk with me. We can still live the adventure as a mother of three or a husband or a grandfather. It's the excitement of not knowing what God will bring your way tomorrow.

I admit it. It's a scary feeling. It's been a long time since I've stepped to the edge, but I think I'm ready for it, and anyone who wants to join me is welcome.

Up for a ride into the great unknown?

-Steve