Updated: Aug 14
In today's blog I am unpacking some aspects of what "alive-ness" looks like for me. We speak quite often about the importance of living from your heart (and not just your mind) which is the place from which all of our life flows. Looking after our hearts is really important on the Christian journey because a dull heart produces dull fruit. Ultimately we need to be able to interact with our own heart, to understand and listen to its needs, to pay attention to its murmurings, to bring it constantly into the fresh pasture of God's presence. Wild Rest has been about helping people to find heart - because God loves all of us, he gave each one of our hearts unique earthly ways by which we can find life and fulfilment, notwithstanding He is all of those things.
For me (Norman) alive-ness could look like an unusual, exciting and possibly dangerous activity such as a trip or experience, or the excitement produced by such an activity. As it happens the previous sentence is also the Cambridge dictionary definition of the word 'Adventure' a word which certainly God intended to be part of the vocabulary of masculinity. As I unpack the origin of the word Adventure from the c.1200 French word 'aventure', I catch further glimpses of why that word depicts part of my heart: "that which happens by chance, fortune, luck" - not so much that I believe in luck but certainly I believe in the words serendipity, blessing and favour -the expectation of goodness following my life journey.The latin adventura means "a thing about to happen". To go, to come. A journey. My heart is made alive in the going (out) but also in the coming (home). My heart loves Life (life being my creation, my habitation of God's earth with God by my side, His authority in me to rule and reign over my surroundings to bring order to chaos, to bring blessing to that which is imperfect, to find that which was lost and to establish on earth as is in heaven.) I love that at one time aventure also meant "a wonder, a miracle; accounts of marvellous things (13c)." Part of the adventure of life is seeing all the rules of life turned upside down: death to life, blind to seeing, lame to walking, deaf to hearing, fearful to hopeful...
I am captured by the narratives in epic films and novels, the story of a protagonist who sees beyond the 'normal' of life and embarks on a journey of great daring and adventure to ultimately enable others to see what he sees thus bringing salvation. To find, explore and fight for promised lands. To believe that there is always more to find.
My heart is made alive by breaking free from constraint, breaking free from conventions and religion (def. an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling, or doing) by entering new places, whether new places with God, new geography, new projects in our beautiful home or a new realm of business. A business venture excites me, a company of people journeying together into a new territory, to make a new way, to cut out the dead wood or the middleman, to bring new efficiencies.
I love experiences that bring me exhilaration and joy (who doesn't!) that connect me to my innermost self. I am cross country skiing down a fell with running reindeer beside me - the freedom narrative shouts in my heart. I am sitting quietly with God and suddenly His joy explodes in my heart- I am home and everything is possible! I am admiring a finished renovation project (yes, occasionally it has been known to happen!!) -my heart is singing a creation song of joy. I pray for someone sitting next to me on the airplane and I see holy spirit touching them - Life has broken in!
My heart longs for all people to live life like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Enemy's deception. Adam and Eve were not Christians, but I doubt many humans (aside from the obvious) have known God better. Their everydayness of life was lived with God- they knew no other life outside of God. God provided for them, they lived in total rest without fear and full of hope about their future. They lived in perfect love. They surely lived lives of adventure, whether it was climbing a yet unnamed mountain or naming a new animal. God gave them dominion to rule over the living creatures of the earth, he made them in his image. They surely felt alive each day of their lives. Thank you Jesus for making this our reality.
What small step is Father God leading you to take this season towards finding heart? He is close - ask him in this moment to show you how he cares for you and your heart. Ask him for a practical way for you to do something good that will be nurture your heart - go and do that with him.