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"Well yes, I'm still running..."

So, considering my current frame of mind, I stumbled across an unexpected anthem yesterday.

I was driving to Aldi after work to pick up a few things (allow me a sidebar: their roasted red pepper hummus is so good I had to go back for more!!)...and I turned on the radio.

Lately, I've either been sticking in a CD or riding in silence...often silence wins out because I can't find music to suit my mood, or it seems like a good way to process some thoughts and talk to God. But anyway, there I was flipping stations, when I heard some familiar strums. It's a song I've heard nearly all of my music-noticing life. I remember hearing my dad talk about it and the meaning of it. And it's famous, a song that nearly everyone knows by a band that everyone's heard of.

It was "I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For," by U2.

And it hit me in a profound and unexpected way.

There are powerful, controversial lyrics packed in there:

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one
Well yes, I'm still running
You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I think as Christians, we can feel somewhat offended or at least mildly ruffled by the implication that one can deeply believe in the life-changing work of Christ and the cross, and yet still claim to not have found whatever it is that we're all looking for.

But in that moment, I completely resonated with that song in a way I never had before. I feel like I owe apologies to friends like E and Sara who have championed the virtues of U2, because I never really got into them. Despite whatever controversies some might have perceived, U2 is still a trendy secular band for Christians to like. And it was in part for that reason that I never really bothered to give them a listen. I'm repentant now; and I have seen how obnoxious it can be when you try to share something with someone only to have it snubbed because it's "too popular." Sometimes things are popular because they actually are good. Not always. But sometimes. And I guess now I have moved U2 into that category.

I wonder, does Bono still feel that way? 20 years later, is he still looking? Do any of us ever really stop looking?

Anyway. I share all this because I think it's important to acknowledge that there are some things we will never "find" in this life, and others we may spend years chasing. Right now, I'm searching for a sense of calling, of specific purpose for my life. My path. I definitely have not found what I'm looking for. I believe everything I'm supposed to believe, and I desire to serve God wherever he calls me...but I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

And actually, it's kind of a relief to say that. Or...sing it.


Taking Deep Breaths

Okay, so, in spite of the optimism in my last post, I've actually been really wrestling lately. It seem like I go through cycles in my life, and right now, I'm revisiting Restlessness.

I guess in a way, I thought that by the time I turned 30, I would have a few more things figured out. Such as, What I Want to Do With My Life. I'm several months away from ending my second decade, and I know that 30 is just a number, not a deadline. But still. I can't seem to make sense of my passions and desires and gifts, at least, not in a professional, salary-earning sense. And it's causing me a lot of frustration.

It's like, Whoa, here I am in Adulthood. And I wasn't really ready to be here, but now I am. Where do I go and what do I do now??

I'm reading this fantastic book called "Culture Making" by Andy Crouch. I know it seems like every time I mention a book I'm endorsing it, but if I bother to mention what I'm reading, it's because it's good. Really. So Crouch is talking about how we as Christians--and Humans, foremost--have a fundamental calling toward culture. Well, two, actually. One is to cultivate the good that is already there, like a gardener. Like our first parents, in Eden. The second is to create new culture. And that it is only by doing these two things that we begin to "change the world."

To do either of those things well, Crouch suggests, one must first be a culture keeper. I sort of feel like I've already been that most of my life. Even this past week, I spent a good chunk of my recreational time watching TV shows. I don't currently have a working TV, so it was either catching up on this season's Heroes, Chuck, Pushing Daises and Bones online, or watching DVDs of last season's Chuck and Eli Stone. (I like a lot of TV shows. I'm a sucker for a good story, and all of those that I listed qualify. )

But I don't want to just consume culture anymore, or even critique it to point out why it's a good story and you should watch, too. I long to create something that no one else ever has, to send something out into the world and have it "push the horizons of the possible."

I'm realizing, though, that things like that don't happen overnight.

It's hard for me, to be stuck here again, in this place where I can't quite see what God is doing in my life. (I think it helps, a little, to watch the stories of others who must feel the same way--I'm sure Chuck and Eli could both relate a little to this feeling!) I'm not going to lie, I've been really stressed and frustrated lately. Maybe even a little depressed. I feel like all of my emotions have been closer to the surface than usual, and not just because of biological reasons.

Outside, it's been beautiful here--and I love the fall--but somehow I just haven't been able to enjoy it as much. And that's sad. I don't want to be like that. So I'm trying a different approach. A more grateful approach. I want to acknowledge and be thankful for the good things in my life, like family and friends. And little things, too, like a new pair of earrings or a tuna sub from Subway.

You know. Spending time in worship. Learning new songs. Working on my writing. Taking pictures. Watching a good TV show. Recycling. Playing with pets. Smelling good. Taking deep breaths. Not letting myself get all bent out of shape when things don't go my way. Realizing that life is never without battles. Last year, it was my love life; now that I've made peace with that, it's my professional life. And so it goes.

I'm not trying to be glib or sanctimonious here. It's a real struggle for me to have all this passion to change the world and the church and to do something meaningful and lasting, but not actually have the means to do it. Yet. But like any good lament, if I can't pause at the end of the day and acknowledge that God must have a purpose I can't see yet, then I would really be in bad shape.

Psalm 138:8

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
And this was the Biblegateway.com verse of the day:

“Many are the plans in a man's heart,

but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”- Proverbs 19:21