We sat at the airport all day, her and I. We weren’t leaving, we weren’t picking anybody up. With no flights to catch and no luggage in tow, we packed ourselves up and drove to the airport. Maybe we’re crazy, but there is something about that balcony overlooking Arrivals that makes my heart jump around inside of me. There really is something sacred about that spot.
Maybe it’s the bustle, the collective anticipation of being on a journey somewhere new. Perhaps it’s the diversity, with so many different languages and cultures being shared. It could be the luggage, or the planes overhead, or the handmade signs held up to greet old friends and strangers. Really, though, I think the magic is suspended in those moments when you see two people who love each other so much that they can’t help themselves from running through the crowd to embrace their Love. He doesn’t care that he’s running over people’s toes with his suitcase, she’s all he sees in that moment. For just a moment, everything else disappears. The spectators become invisible.
As we watch people come and go, we get to have a glimpse at love. Love that is real and passionate and living, and love that has grown tired and cold. We see them both. We learn that real love, if anything, isn’t timid. It runs, it chases and pursues.
As yet another tired family returns from their Christmas vacation, Emily breaks the silence we have been sitting in.
“Joy, what do you think this year will be to you?”
Last New Year’s Eve, Emily and I stayed in. We drank Pinot Grigio and watched sappy Nicholas Sparks’ movies and made goals for 2015. After working at a gym for a few years and watching people make lofty goals only to give up on them before February arrives, I had always thought New Years resolutions were empty and cliche. But last year Emily reminded me that it’s okay to dream. It’s okay to challenge yourself. New Years is a beautiful and much-needed “reset” button in the course of our year. Sure, not all of our goals will be met – I still don’t wake up on my first alarm as I had vowed to myself a year ago. This year, though, there have been victories. Some greater than others. I’ve learned that if you can’t celebrate small victories, you can’t celebrate much.
I couldn’t give Emily a direct answer to her question, so I started to list off a few of the things that I want to invest myself into this year. Friendships, relationships, and projects that have been living on the back burner for the past while. Dreams that have been living on the shelf because fear tells me I’m not enough. Emily lists hers off to. We write our dreams and goals on paper to make them more real than the ones living in our heads.
“These are the things I want to commit myself to this year.” I finally said with my finished list on the table in front of me. And then it came. As though the word had been planted in my heart; Committed. This year, in all the things that I do, I want to live Committed. No more half-way, luke-warm living, in fear that living All-In will leave me vulnerable to failure. Fear has been the thing that holds me back from fully committing to anything. But this year, fear doesn’t get to direct the script. It doesn’t get a say in this story.
2016 is Committed. To friendships, to deeper, to creating and to Jesus. This year is Committed.
This year one of the things I have committed myself to is the reading of God’s word. All of it. Not only the easy parts that tell stories of Jesus and His grace and His love, but also the parts that are challenging; the parts that leave me only asking more questions or falling asleep. I want to unwrap this entire story this year.
It’s not that I’ve never read the Old Testament before, I have. But it has always been a chore. Even now as I begin in Genesis, I expect to read for the sake of getting on to the next chapter. The honest truth is that I never anticipated Genesis to shake me or to shift things around in my heart. I never expected God to show up in these pages and speak to me (which is kind of silly, since they’re still His words). I guess I just held this attitude that the Old Testament is old and dusty and lifeless. It’s just history.
But let me tell you, I am being absolutely slayed by Genesis. I’m on Day 4 of this journey and every single day I have been completely blown away by the words on these pages and the heart of my Creator. I’m not playing this up, not even a little bit. These chapters have rattled me.
This morning I was reading in Genesis chapter 5. I was reading a genealogy (which, if you haven’t read the Bible before, is a long list of people’s names, how long they lived, and their children’s names, and it spans through generations. Yes, it’s as interesting as it sounds). It’s usually something I’ve skipped over, to be honest. I would butcher the pronunciation of names like “Zerubbabel” anyway, so I may as well save myself the trouble and dignity and skip ahead. This time, though, I read it all. And as I read, a name jumped out at me. His name was Enoch. He lived for 365 years and he walked faithfully with God. There was little else shared about this man’s life, but his small story captured my attention.
I think that was God speaking to me, telling me to stay and to wait. I wanted to move on but I couldn’t get past this man’s story. I couldn’t shake Enoch off. I got stuck in Genesis.
“Enoch walked faithfully with God.”
In this entire long list of men and the legacy they have left behind, Enoch’s is the only one that reads these words. Surely, this man’s life must have been worthy of taking note of.
I started to research the name Enoch – its origins and meaning. It’s a Hebrew name.
Dedicated. Enoch means Dedicated.
Considering this year is one marked by living Committed and All-In, this name spoke to my heart. Enoch lived a committed life for 365 years. I want to live committed for these next 365 days, and longer. Here I am, now, reading a genealogy and sitting in a puddle of tears. Surely these words must be alive. Surely they’re more than a history lesson. Lists of complicated names and facts and numbers don’t do things like this to my heart. It must be God. It has to be.
I’m not sure if you’ve made any resolutions for 2016. Maybe you’re sitting in the camp of “resolutions are bogus”, or perhaps you have a long list and you’ve already broken most of your resolutions by eating that last donut and binge-watching Gilmore Girls. I don’t know which one is you. What I do know is that a number on a calendar certainly doesn’t determine whether or not we are capable and ready to make choices that move us forward. If you are going to commit yourself to anything in this year, I would challenge you to commit yourself to the Word of God. Whether that means three chapters a day or just one, pick up the book and expect God to show up on those pages. These words are living. They’re living and they give your heart a makeover.
This love is undeniable. Just like the man running through the crowded terminal with his suitcase, God’s love is running, unashamed and in passionate pursuit of your heart. This year, I want all of Him. Not just the parts that are easy and comfortable. I want to know all of Him.
If you’re not sure where to start or you don’t want to do this alone, Tory Vore has an amazing reading plan that I’ll be following this year with a few of my friends. It’s really balanced and the conversations that have come out of reading together have been life-giving already. Definitely worth checking out if this is something you’re interested in!
Here’s to a New Year; to deeper and a life lived all-in.
2016, give us your best.