As I write this it is April 15th and I am sitting in Starbucks and it is snowing outside.
I’m convinced Hell isn’t hot and fiery. It’s Minnesota in April when it is cold, dull steel gray and snowing. Still.
Eternally (it would seem).
The summer furniture was piled up outside Starbucks under a new coating of snow, looking so forlorn. But someone who’s either an incurable optimist or seriously delusional dragged it into place yesterday and now it sits there, waiting, waiting, waiting, mocked by the snow.
I sat in this place, across the table from John yesterday morning and I think I scared him. Just a little bit. I felt like a blubbering emotional sloth that sometimes turns in a circle and resorts to tiny rants. And he looked baffled.
Eventually I gave myself a little shake and thought of of one of my favorite verses. I can never remember the reference for (Ok, let’s be honest, there are very few verses I can ever remember the chapter and verse for). But I checked and it’s still there – Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Choose life.
Honestly, those words are irritating this morning, but they made me reflect on the life-giving choices I have today and brought to mind a post from a happier time – summer.
It may not be “April in Minnesota” for you literally, but instead this may just be a really discouraging season of life that has seemed to go on forever. What are the life-giving choices you make when you’re down and grumpy and sloth-like and it’s still “snowing in April”?
Here’s what I wrote in August of 2011 (hopefully it will provide a good resource along with a bit of silliness):
Bike rides around the lake, dinner on the lake, boating on the lake, walks around the lake. Summer in Minnesota. Those of you who live in other parts of the country may not appreciate how big this is, but we’re hardy Midwesterners who have trudged through 50 mph winds at 20 below zero for nine months of the year and we pretty much refuse to go inside from June through August.
Even with less-than-ideal weather I’m obsessed with being outside. And if I get to be by water to boot it’s like winning the lottery (IF that was legal for Christians).
You may be familiar with Spiritual Pathways – the theory written about by Gary Thomas and popularized by John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton that says that each of us have particular ways that we most naturally feel connected to God.
Kind of like our “God love language”.
(If you’re feeling sloth-like and life-less like me, I’m thinking this may be a good place to start)
What’s your spiritual pathway? If you haven’t explored this, take a look at John Ortberg’s book God is Closer than You Think (ch.7) or take an inventory here, but here are the 7 pathways they identify:
1. Intellectual (through books),
- the Sermon on the MOUNT,
- the calming of the STORM,
- the huge catch of fish on the SEA OF GALILEE,
- and the LILIES OF THE FIELD for Pete’s sake!
Fields, water, mountainsides, sun and sand! Jesus was an outdoor guy!
Now you might argue that this whole line of thinking is heretical. Jesus didn’t have a pathway to God because He was God, but He was also human and this is my fantasy so settle down.
“No way!” you say, “Jesus was a Contemplative like me! ‘While it was still dark He went by Himself to a quiet place to pray.'” But I would ask, “Where was it that He went to pray?”
So go ahead and try to make your case for Jesus having your spiritual pathway, but I think it’s a done deal. Jesus is just like me. And BTW I’m pretty sure He must have been a Meyer’s Briggs ENFJ (like the person I see in the mirror).
Now, given our current state of ugliness outside, I’m leaning into my screen-saver with photos of better creation moments, but still…It’s something. God is still good and spring has got to come sometime.
So, what’s your Spiritual Pathway and is there a way you can lean into it in order to choose life today?