Books, Coffee, and James Vincent McMorrow

That’s what I’m about this morning.

I’m sitting at Bloom Coffee. I’m still sweating from my run, but now bundled in running jacket and tights. I already talked to a random stranger who had the Multiply book by Francis Chan next to her laptop. My approach was…”Sorry, I’m going to be nosy…” Then, I talked about trying to find a small group and telling her my attempts to join a group, to find community. Turns out we have some mutual friends; she also does small group ministry at Bridgeway. I love making connections with people; I find joy in it.

Now I’m plugged into my laptop, trying to drown out the noise of the busy coffee shop with James Vincent McMorrow station playing. Love. 

And, I find myself sitting and wrestling with what I want to write and be honest about. Ahh. I hate that. I think…oh…I could write about blah blah blah…but that’s far too personal. Or, oh…I could write about…yada yada…but…ehhh..nooo. 

That’s how my brain works. Then, I find myself on a tangent, writing pages in my head, without putting anything “on paper.” In fact, as much as I think, I have a whole library of books all published by me, in my mind.

And, as I scanned through Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, I started to read the chapter, “Prayer and Yoga.”

Then I smiled, then felt uncomfortable…and wiggled in my seat…and decided: I’ll write.

Shauna writes:

“Prayer, to me, is sort of like yoga, on several levels. It’s good for me and helps me, and to be quite honest, I say I do it way more than I actually do. When someone asks, ‘Do you do yoga?,’ I answer, ‘Absolutely. I love it. It totally makes me feel better.’

What I mean, in the strictest sense, is that every week I intend to go to yoga three times and I occasionally make it to one class, and I have several pairs of yoga pants, and some yoga DVDs and flashcards, and every once in awhile, if I’m really feeling bad, I do a few sun salutations before bed. So really, I’m yoga-ish.

Prayer, in my life, is similar. If you ask me about prayer, I have the books, the journals, a few transcendent experiences to report from the last decade, lots of good reasons why every person should do it, and not a ton of extremely current experiences rushing to mind. I believe in it, conceptually. I feel better when I do it. I believe my life would be better if I did it a lot, like yoga, but when it comes right down to it, I’m prayer-ish….”

And, this is where, I think, “Am I like this?”

It doesn’t take me long to think, Lord, I wish I wasn’t like this. I would like to think that I am so desperate for the Lord that prayer is completely necessary…my natural response to everything…that having a conversation with the Lord would be all I want to do.

And, while I pray constantly throughout the day, I want to pray with desperation more.

What Shauna writes in this next paragraph sits in the pit of my stomach, like it came straight from my own published books, in my library, stored on the shelves…in my mind:

“I tell them, you know, God is in control, and we never know where that path leads, and a man plans his way but God knows his steps, and I lean not on my own understanding. But secretly I do absolutely lean on my own understanding. I do it so that I don’t feel so out of control and blind to the world, so that I can have a plan and manage my life and not feel like something’s coming around the corner that I can’t predict and don’t have insurance for. I believe in my own ability to figure out my life, an top secretly…”

That is me.

I love prayer. I also love planning my own life.

But, I am not a professional life-planner, especially of my own.

God is.

I want to be more about prayer, about surrender, about not planning.

When I do that, I see God’s work. His purpose. His faithfulness.

Being a Resident Director was not in the plans going into college, but it has turned out to be an incredible blessing. God has shown me, I am not perfect, but He is. And, He is pouring grace in me and through me, telling me to trust him.

It’s quite possibly one of the best feelings in the world.





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