Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Real Life

During the past two weeks that our family has been back in the village, Charly has been reading out loud to us from Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster. I especially liked this quote in the book from C.S. Lewis: “The greatest thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s imagination.”

I’ve been reflecting on this idea of my “real life” and have been blessed by the following quotes:

“That is the great conversion in our life: to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions to our projects, but the way which God molds our hearts and prepares us for His return.” (Henri Nouwen)

“Might this thing I long to be different be the actual crucible on which God chooses to shape my soul into something of beauty that perhaps only He sees? Will I let God transform me in this?” (Paula Rinehart)

“Help me, O Lord, to make use of all disappointments and calamities in this life, in such wise that they may unite my heart more closely with Thee. Cause them to separate my affections from worldly things and inspire my soul with more vigour in the pursuit of true happiness.” (Susanna Wesley)

“Where dreams and expectations don’t work out—you are being issued the invitation of your life. Disappointment is, strangely enough, a doorway to the real adventure. It’s the point where you start to leave behind most of your notions of how your story should read—and enter into your relationship with God as a journey.” (Paula Rinehart)

“Waiting for the believer is not the futile and desperate act of those who have no other option, but rather a confident trust that eventually, God will set things right.” (Gary Thomas)

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child growing in her womb.” (Henri Nouwen)

“Emptiness itself can birth the fullness of grace because in the emptiness we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace, and there find all the fullness of joy...Isn’t this the good news of the gospel? The good news that all those living in the land of the shadow of death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun. That suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart—and mourning and dancing are but movements of His unfinished symphony of beauty. Can I believe the gospel, that God is patiently transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son?” (Ann Voskamp)

“People who have let go of their expectations of how they think life is supposed to look usually stumble upon gratitude, which is a wonderful thing to find. You stop waiting for life to begin when it’s fixed and all the broken parts are healed. It’s now in this moment, this conversation, this sunset.” (Paula Rinehart)

God, Thank you that this is the life you have given me to live. Not a perfect life that’s out there and only a phantom of my imagination, but the life that is right here. Right now. The unexpected and the unwanted are a part of your plan for my ongoing transformation. Help me to embrace this life, which is my Real Life, and to live it to the full.

“Surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.”
( Isaiah 14:24)

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