I’m so grateful you have chosen to read my writings. If you’re new here, I’ll cut to the chase: I’m on a grand mission of love—to understand how deeply I am loved, and then come up with creative, excellent, and authentic ways to inject that love and stir up hope wherever I go. I’d love to have you join me!
This is an exciting adventure, motivated by my faith in God. It’s rooted in a desire to reframe the sweetness of the Gospel message into something that has less to do with us—and our being good enough (or the fallacy of being a “good Christian”)—and more to do with the power of grace and unconditional love of God to transform ourselves and our world.
My past church experiences have put me on a performance treadmill, constantly thinking I had to earn my worth and value from what I did, believing God (and others) were more pleased with me when I was being super good. And in turn, I got really good at evaluating other people’s worth and value according to their behavior. I was trained to be the judge, jury, and the victim. Now it’s time for me to explore what it means to be set free—to be deemed not-guilty, and released from this ramshackle prison of self-righteousness. And then live my life announcing to others how they have also been set free.
I’d love it if we could rally an army of people who know they are the masterpieces of God, and who desire to tell everyone else how loved they are—that would be amazing—and Earth-rattling. We would be intimately engaged in the world using all our unique talents and abilities to innovate, teach, lead, inspire, and serve. We would create the best art and tell the best stories. Every voice singing together would create a grand chorus of love and hope with the most spectacular harmonies flowing out of our diversity.
I’ve Been Scared of Letting Go
I’ve lived most of my life without having a secure foundation of unconditional love or an identity found in the beauty and perfection of how I was created. So I tried to clamp down, to tighten my grip on my idea of how life should go. I have fought against the seeming randomness of life, claiming to be a person of faith, yet still demanding life to go my way, looking to get my worth and value from what I accomplish and what other people think about me. No wonder I’ve been depressed, fed-up, and resentful—really, an entire cornucopia of misery.
The peace I’m (thankfully!) currently experiencing is coming from my letting go. It’s choosing to continually surrender how I think my life should look, how people should treat me, and what God should do for me. I’m learning to rest in a place of faith, believing that I don’t have to figure out everything and everyone, and that God has a beautiful plan I can trust will continue to come to fruition.
Acceptance and surrender are offering me the life I’ve been craving.
What I’m talking about isn’t about giving up on goals and dreams or rolling over and playing dead until the game of life is over. It’s also not about being weak, letting life bowl us over. It’s actually the opposite. It’s about moving through life with an intentional grace, surrendering to life as it is, accepting people and circumstances as they are, not as we want them to be. And then finding ways to use our passions and energy to insert love and truth into the world, unattached to expectations of how it should all turn out. We do this in order to see more clearly the marvelous in the mystery. To draw closer to other people, not further away. To live from our heart, rather than from our head. To not run from that which is messy, but to see the beauty in it.
How Do We Engage With Others With This New Surrendered Attitude?
Our new agenda should be to engage with no agenda. It sounds a bit like a contradiction, doesn’t it? This new agenda is solely to demonstrate God’s love, with zero desire to control how it’s received or what we’ll get out of it.
Love is the direction and the destination.
We will always get our hands dirty when we choose to engage with other people and the world around us in faith-filled ways, unafraid of being out of control, even unafraid of being uncomfortable or getting hurt. The best example we have was actually murdered for his outrageous, loving actions. We become risk-takers, uncovering creative, excellent, and authentic ways to engage and serve other people, believing that what we are doing will not only make a difference for our time together on Earth, but for all of eternity.
Wanna join my mission? There’s no admission charge, no hidden fees, no online course for three installments of $197. It’s just a slight turning inside your heart. And then an ever-increasing turning toward the unbelievable reality that you are the Beloved, with nothing more to prove and absolutely nothing to lose. And because of how much you are loved by your Creator, you are now fully equipped with a truckload of love just waiting to be shared with a hurting world.
Welcome to salvation.
In addition to writing, I also do music. With the holidays approaching, you should probably know that I love Christmas, and have recorded THREE Christmas albums.
If you subscribe to Spotify, here’s a playlist I made—a collection of songs from all three projects.
Of if you’d prefer to listen for free on YouTube, here’s a way to listen to my newest Christmas CD called Joy!
Mark, one of the things I love about reading your words is your level of self-awareness... "I was trained to be the judge, jury, and the victim." — it's inspiring. If everyone could take a deeper look in the mirror now and then, the world would be a better place. But you lead by example.
This is great! The pastor at our church was preaching on love this week. Love as an action, not a feeling. On how love is what our world needs to heal and move forward. That if we all loved on each other as we need to be loved, what a great world this would be. Because, honestly, in our current state of being - there is not enough love going around.
I've been pondering on this, and she is right. We do need to give more love to others. But here is what I started thinking about in our world right now - I think this is really difficult, because so many people don't love themselves. So, in reality - they are loving others as they love themselves - with anger, upset, cruelty etc...and most likely this is not a purposeful decision.
So, then, how do we help our own hearts to love ourselves? (you touched on it - letting go, follow God's lead) How to we help our friends to love themselves first - so that they can then spread that love forth? I think that was my big pondering this week...