Fearless Leaps and Little Steps

It’s Fearless Friday and we have a guest post.  I’m excited to let you hear from my intrepid, amazingly mature, thoughtful and articulate friend, Mackenzie Dykstra!  She’s a senior at Edina High School and is already shaking up her part of the world.  Enjoy!
Mackenzie

The word fearlessness has the connotation of something extraordinary; where one battles impossible tasks with incredible courage and bravery.  When I think of fearlessness I see a soldier on the front lines, or a young child fighting against cancer that’s wracking her body. I see people that have great challenges to overcome and that are brilliant through their darkest moments. In this past year I have realized that fearlessness is represented by all those things but it can also be the smaller acts that are done in the shadows that require as much courage and delight God just the same.

To be fearless is to take a blind leap of faith. Continue reading

Waiting at Gate C6, C9, E10, H5…

I’ve spent a lot of time in airports this past week.  And this was not a happy thing.

It’s not like I was going someplace exotic like Bora Bora, or ran into Mumford and Sons on their way to the Grammys.

With the mega snowstorm that hit plus, normal mechanical stuff, It was just a matter of multiple delayed flights where each update means a gate change and a later departure.

And so it meant sitting.

And waiting.  Hours and hours of waiting.

Years ago John and I heard a motivational speaker who, in these situations used the refrain “You can cancel my flight, but you can’t cancel my day!” 

That sounds so…positive!  So cheery.  So empowering. 

But it’s just an annoying quote when your life is about being productive and on the go and you’re sitting in an airport, missing the event you’re scheduled for, or waiting to get home and your husband texts that line to you.  Are you with me?

When your plans are upended and you feel upended like Charlie Brown, once more having the football snatched away just as he was kicking, and you’re out of control, how do you control what you can – your attitude?

I’d like to be super spiritual and tell you all the Scripture that came to mind, but here’s how it went.

First I tried the practice of thanksgiving.  I was very thankful they aborted the first take off of one of my flights half-way down the runway, throwing on the brakes when an emergency light came on.  Safety is always good in my book.

And I was thankful for the cute little girl in the terminal with the Tinkerbell peeking out of her backpack.  And then I was pretty much done with thankfulness (with apologies to Anne Voskamp :)).  Still unproductive and waiting…

Next I tried praying while unclenching my hands, letting go of my need for power and control.  Very unproductive and still waiting (but it felt like the right thing to do)

Then, I tried to see Jesus.  To be present and aware of passengers around me who I might encourage. But every head was down, every eye seemed to be glued to Iphones while mine was dead (This was not on my “things I’m thankful for” list!).

Lastly I tried to smile.  I had just heard about a new study out that shows that smiling affects your attitude, reduces stress, and increases heart health.  Sounded good to me.

I tried, but I felt kind of like a Stepford Wife, plastic and robotic.  And I think people wondered if I was a little “off” shall we say.  I was unproductive, still waiting, and my mouth muscles hurt.

In the end I bought a Chik-fil-A sandwich and a People magazine.

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I remember hearing someone say once that God wants to give us a “snow day” every week with Sabbath Why do we resist?  Why do we seem so addicted to “doing”… to being recognized for what we accomplish?  Is it born out of a fear that being God’s beloved child isn’t enough?

Maybe, we need to relax and remember God’s ok with unproductive.  Having Chik-fil-A and a little Sabbath at Gate C6 was not a bad thing.

How do you handle interruptions to your plans and out-of-controledness?

Where are you going today?

Tomorrow John and I are leaving to go to Sri Lanka, off the coast of India (yes, I had to check).  He for a World Vision Board meeting.  Me, to support him in his Board-dom and see more of God’s world and work.

The amount of travel I get to do is a privilege I don’t take lightly.  I’m blessed, but I told the girls it doesn’t bode well for me that one of the first things I read about Sri Lanka is that they have 84 different kinds of snakes, but not to worry because not that many are poisonous.

I hate snakes.  I mean really.  Me and Indiana Jones.

So, Sri Lanka has that against it.  And it’s like a million hours on three flights to get there which I could live without.

But, I’ve been thinking.  Discomfort and snakes aside, in many ways it’s easier for me to go across the world and build relational bridges to folks in Sri Lanka, than it is for me to go across the street and build a bridge to my neighbors who smoke and have loud parties and yell at their kids.

It may be easier to fly across continents than for me to make the time to fight traffic and go across the city to a homeless shelter, or to tutor.

Sometimes it’s easier to jet across time-zones than to walk across the Great Room at church and include someone who is hard to love.  Or cross the coffee shop to listen to enter into someone’s pain, or reach out to a stranger.

I think of what it was like for Jesus, leaving the pure delight of heaven and coming across time and space to enter into the everyday brokenness, muck and mess of this world He loves.

And then He went across cultural and economic and class lines to reach the Samaritan, the tax-collector, the confused rich, and the broken-hearted father.

I think the reason it’s easier for us to go across the world than across the street is because across the street is just so everyday.  It’s always right there.  It’s the ever-present opportunity we’ll get to “someday”.

Going across my city, my neighborhood, my church, my home, my coffee shop.  It’s not like it’s a big deal.  Which is why, perhaps it is a big deal to Jesus.

A quote by Gregory Boyle has captured me this week: Jesus “goes where love has not yet arrived.”

So on this last day before Sri Lanka, my goal is to be aware go across wherever I can go across in my everyday world, prayerfully going where maybe love has not yet arrived.

Where is it hard for you to go across?