Today is my mom’s 60th birthday. If you know my mom she neither looks nor acts her age. That is one of the things that makes her so amazing.
Today, she posted this message on her Facebook wall…
Well, I was gonna give an exact quote, but to find It, I would have to sift through 6 billion happy birthday messages from people all over the world that have been impacted by her life.
It said something like this…
“I turn 60 years old today, and as I look at my life, there are so many things I still want to become…”
The rest was great too, but it was this first sentence that struck me.
Most of us reach a point in our lives where we are done learning, and done growing. We have accomplished what we intended to, we know enough to continue to succeed in the areas we need to, and the task of continuing to grow and change is simply too exhausting to even consider. So we settle into our way of life, settle into our thinking, and narrow the scope of our vision so as to keep influences that might reveal our flawed thinking out, so that we can continue doing life the way we want to, with very little resistance.
Sure, we all talk like we want to get better. We all say we want to be challenged, but when push comes to shove, comfort always wins the day.
Not my mother. She has always, and continues to do things different than nearly every human being on this planet. The truth is, this is just one example of that…
At 60, you would think that she would be ready to settle in, make herself as comfortable as possible and just enjoy her grand kids. Believe me, her love for her grand kids is as significant as any other influence in her life… ask them. Well, its almost as significant.
Living for what matters most… people, is the engine that drives every decision she makes in this life. Not just the people that she loves… not just the people that love her. All people. If you think I am exagerting go to the corner of McAllister and Divisidero, in San Francisco, CA, and ask her friend Donald… the homeless man who works that corner. He will tell you.
If anyone has earned the right to settle in, and take it easy, it is her…
Problem is, it simply isn’t in her DNA.
She is the kind of person who’s drive for continued growth, a larger view of the world, and an ever increasing sensitivity to the people around her is only slightly smaller than her unbelievable drive to know the heart of God, and live it out with every fabric of her existence.
She has never settled. She has never stopped growing. And the result?
Her words, thoughts, pursuits, relationships, hopes, goals, dreams, fears, worries, concerns, I could go on and on… HER LIFE… is more aligned with the steps of Jesus than any human being I have ever known. And her impact shows it.
Her ability to live this way, comes from a choice she made early on to believe something about life.
It is a process. We never arrive. We are never complete. God is never done shaping us.
On this side of heaven, we will always be broken, and in need of the careful hands of the Father, to continue to conform us to the image of His son.
Which leads me to Advent gift #16…
The Gift of process.
Throughout history, God’s interactions with man kind have screamed this truth.
God has never been interested in man’s perfection, but has always been interested in our direction. When God chose to fix the problem of sin in this world, He could have just erased the mistakes, and started over. He could have blotted out the ugly and immediately made it into something beautiful. At the same time, he could have rewired the human heart to never want to sin again, and protect us from the consequences of failure for good.
He could have just made us behaviorally perfect and saved a lot of mess.
But He didn’t… why? Because there is something He cares about more. He cares about real, genuine, heart-level transformation. This kind of thing doesn’t happen over night. At least not with broken human beings.
When God decided to allow us to live in this world with choice, He was choosing to embrace process over perfection.
Jesus, being born on the very first Christmas, was the culmination of that process. More than that, it is what satisfied the holiness of God, and at the same time, made process possible.
We don’t have to be perfect. We can’t anyway, but the presence of Jesus in the world, means we get to stop trying. We get to take a heart first approach to relating with the Holy One. Because of Jesus.
I pray this Christmas you can embrace process in your life…
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Thank you Judy Brower, for showing me what it looks like to live the heart of Jesus in every way, including the context of your own personal failure. I love you. Happy 60th Birthday.