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heart-worn and refinedFebruary 26, 2017

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February seems to be redefining my word of the year – Invest.

When I thought about ‘Investing’ at the beginning of the year it was much more about getting my house in order, about being in the moment and cutting back on the dross that filled my time so I could refine my efforts into less pursuits. But on this journey I’ve found that the thing in greatest need of investment is me. I need to invest in the building bricks of who I am and what I believe and who influences my choices, what I give and what I take in.

The daily discipline of listening to either pray-as-you-go or watching a sermon has been inconvenient and yet hugely rewarding. Rather than push ahead it’s really drawn me to look in every other direction first. To look outwards, outwards at the people I’ve neglected to be a great friend to, outwards at the people waiting to be befriended. Outwards at the church I could be a part of and how that part may fit or fail. This has translated not just to my prayer time but in time to exercise, meals to plan and people I connect with.

But mostly this looking has lead me to reconsider how I look back, both at the history of the faith and my own years. Scripture suddenly seems more gritty than it has for some time, it’s events being told and retold through a prism of words. The idea that my own history is just a draft version, and the final piece can still be tweaked is a notion that’s rather empowering. If history is indeed ‘written by the victors’ then as private and personal authors we can rewrite, not the events but the voice and emphasis with which they are told. As I approach a decade since I was the youth-worker that so defined me, I’m redefining my identity and letting it be shaped, both physical and spiritual. Those failures of the past become lessons upon which to glean wisdom, those adversaries can be seen as misunderstood and misconstrued and painted as fallen opportunities to connect with our brothers, those working out of faith can be detours from the pathway or daring shortcuts through reliance on God’s provision. Our names can be refined from the childish self descriptors or the practical labels into the heart-worn and refined titles of our character.

And this changes what we expect of ourselves. Practically, by allowing motherhood to be a more primary definer tot-school takes president over JWL for a few weeks without the guilt. I worried that the JWL requests and support would dry up, but quite to the contrary both donations and requests are flying in. In particular translation projects for multiple languages and alternative means of doing this seem to be bouncing about. Meanwhile the tot-school packs are getting the chance to bless others around God’s wonderful globe.

And prayer stands as the anchor. The thick tread of steel in the fine fabric that weaves through my days.

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