If this were anywhere but the computer screen – say, my home – I would usher you inside, offer coffee or tea alongside a tiny delectable goodie to munch on. And then we’d sit down across from one another, sipping liquid delight and have the most riveting conversation I can imagine – what it means to become.
Aside from the selfless sacrifice and triumphant resurrection of our dear Lord, I can think of no other story as captivating, as significant, as weighty as yours and mine as we find ourselves on a journey to becoming. We, none of us, are stagnant creatures frozen inside our own wishes of the way we think life should be. Instead, against the backdrop of an inconstant world, we are always moving and therefore always changing. As one friend said to me the other day, “the one thing we can count on in this life is change.” How easy it is to forget that change, well, changes us.
For better or worse. Forwards or backwards. Becoming more of who we were created to be. Or less.
I like to think of this process as Emergence. Or the act of emerging. Just like a seed sprouts through the ground after it has firmly taken root, we too anchor ourselves to certain things in our lives and then emerge, impacting everything around us. The only difference is, seeds have no choice as to how they take root in the ground they are planted, what they latch on to, how they deal with the elements around them and ultimately what kind of plant they become.
But we do, and thus, we have quite an enormous say in who we become.
Now, if you’re anything like me, becoming makes me tired. I’d just as soon curl up on a couch and ignore the effort it takes to face my to-do list, much less face the effort it takes to become, well, anything. Truly, there’s quite a mouthy little part of me that would like to protest the burden this whole process of life and change and growth poses. I mean, did you sign up for this crazy journey? Because, I sure don’t remember doing so.
Not that I don’t want to be here. Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually incredibly grateful to be a part of this grand scheme. It’s just that sometimes, in my weaker, fleshier moments, I’d rather not put in the effort it actually requires. You know. To become something.
The problem with that? When I don’t put in the effort to determine what and how I emerge, I allow other things and people – you know, those things and people I haven’t intentionally chosen – to shape me. And the person I become? Well, that person will likely not be the fullest version of me. At best. At worst, well, imagine yourself as the very very worst version of what you could possibly become – be honest! – and you get the picture.
Why does this matter? Why do I believe that this topic is an important one for us to think and talk about? Simply put, I’ve seen too much to let it be. I’m sure you have, too.
After years of ministry at home and abroad – I’ve found myself too often devastated and heartbroken for the could-have-been’s: those men and women who were meant to become so.much.more. and yet emerged broken, defeated and even harmful to themselves and others. Because no one had ever told them how loved they were. How special. How unique. How important. No one had ever told them that it wasn’t too late. Until it was.
I’ve spent hours and hours getting to know other people who stood on the brink of choosing who they would become. I’ve diligently researched their hearts and dreams and gifts looking for ways to encourage and speak hope and life to them before they gave in to temptation: to be molded into the world’s definition for them, to lose their hope and nerve, to harden into bitterness or give into weariness and give up altogether. I prayed a greater voice would speak through me, helping them to be brave in making their choice, urging them on towards the best version of themselves.
And I’ve witnessed the miracle of a transformed life – of a person taking responsibility for their own transformation and, with God’s help, becoming something absolutely and truly marvelous.
I’m convinced our Emergence – yours and mine – is supposed to be beautiful. Tantalizing. Gripping-the-edge-of-our-seats-Fantastic. Our stories, our journeys, are intended to be the greatest story ever told within THE greatest story ever told.
Why? Why hang on to such a crazy hope when we live in such a broken unpredictable world? Well, I am a certified idealist. But it’s not just that. You see, the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 9:19 that “…all creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God.”
Please read that again. Realize what it’s saying and what it means for you. For each of us.
All of creation – and I mean all, from the flora and fauna under the sea to the tippy tops of the amazon tree to the stars trillions of miles off in the darkened galaxy – cannot, oh-my-gosh-pee-in-my-pants wait to see YOU and I emerge. Revealed. Disclosed. Put on display as the people God created us to be – His children who are unique individuals; image bearers meant to reflect the infinite magnificent breathtaking characteristics of an incredible God who loves us.
Our Emergence – our Story – is intended to be a beautiful journey that takes all of creation’s breath away, leads others to Him and most of all, gives Him pleasure. Because He loves us.
So, in the midst of a fallen, changing world lets commit to believing it. That our lives can be THAT story. Let’s commit to encouraging one another. Believing in one another. And reminding each other that we can do it. We can emerge into something GRAND.