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{ IT'S YOUR BREATH IN OUR LUNGS }

I've been encouraged to write. Challenged. Read it on pages and in between lines. Heard it in a song. Write, write, write. The ones who know me so well... they tell me. "Where are you? Why aren't you doing this thing that you were given to do?" And... I don't know. I've got kids, man. I've got responsibilities and stuffed calendars and I just sometimes want to sit in my comfy pants and eat Starburst Jellybeans and binge on a favorite show. Sometimes... a lot of times... I think: what could I possibly have to offer? I can't even get caught up on laundry. I feel like I'm kind of a mess. There's not much inspirational about that.

But, I'll admit... when it's quiet? When I have space to hear the strum of my heart and the pounding of dreams racing through my head, like the agile feet of a runner, Reebok's smacking the asphalt? I feel it. I feel it right now. My spirit is knocking on a door I keep on locking up. Oh sure, pull the laptop out and write a little here and there, and then back in the cage you go, you silly creative thing, you.

But when I sit... like today, with the iced coffee and the burning down candle and the sleeping baby upstairs... when I give myself a chance to pause and think about the greatness of God and the smallness of me and the gasping beauty of being chosen, loved, worthy, chased after, gifted... and then I have to ask myself, "Where are you? Why aren't you doing this thing?"

It all leaves me a little breathless.

The whole process steals my air. The stringing together of words, the puzzle pieces of a sentence, the interlocking wave of a paragraph; oh, I love. Tapping it out and then pausing, looking out the window, trying to catch the next wave, to see the otherworldly things just beyond the living room... finding a detail that I would have missed if I hadn't paused. The way a story unfolds. How it always unfolds. It's enchanting. It's an enchanting thing to be a part of.

There's a pure joy and it's not for anything other than the pure joy. And shouldn't we do more of that? Have more of that? Instead of tearing others down or beating ourselves up... what if we unfurled more an more into the blossom we were meant to be? We like to think we need to constantly be transplanted, uprooted, changed. Taken somewhere other than where we are. Like sure, there's better things, but I'm going to have to be stolen away to ever find it.

But what if we could have it? What if we just put down the roots and shot up tall and strong and waveringly lovely? What if we really did bloom right here. Just where we are?

Isn't the greatest beauty the one you see and call out in someone else? That you speak to your own reflection? Seeing a gift unfurl in someone... experiencing and witnessing their bravery and transformation... isn't that what this - creativity, faith, art, books, music - isn't that what it's for? A tool to cause us to come alive? To grow? That's life, isn't it?

If it's not about a kingdom or a treasure incorruptible, what is it about? If it's not about the risen Christ rising in us... of witnessing and speaking truth and seeing it expand in another?

If not that... then what are we doing?

We can get caught in the spider web of should. Of so-called service. We snag our stressed sweaters of shoulders and backbone on being good. Helpful. Showing up on time, showing up early. And we are really busy doing the things. But are we mentoring? Do we know the people we are walking with? Do we pray for them? Intercede for them? Allow them close enough to intercede for us? Do we pray for each other? Get down in the pit with each other? Speak truth over each other?

I thought about it all as I got ready for the night yesterday. About the blooming and the splendor, of the unfurling and the open pods in the earth, of seeds and water and sun. I come out all fresh hair and the stress of the day drained out dry and pick up the book I left bookmarked by draping it over the lip of a basket. I read it right there in my hands, the next words on the page. Curled up on my couch, I feel the weight of the paper against my thumb and freeze my breathing...

"In the end, it's all just violets trying to come to light." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

In the end... it's all just... oh my.

Just violets trying to come to light. Bloom where they are planted. Grow into what they were always intended to grow up into.

I walk into Target. Killing time at the Dollar Spot. It's the first thing I see. A little $3 wooden plank that says, "Bloom Baby Bloom". I giggle, stupidly. Surprised and delighted, it bubbles before I can stop it. I play it off as me cooing to my baby, so the khaki and red shirted folk won't look at me any stranger than they are already.

Take another cursory glance before moving on and I see it on a simple pot. An embossed word in the clay: BLOOM.

Into the cart it goes.

And so I'm here, with the white screen and the blinking cursor and I think... okay. If this is how I bloom, then this is how I bloom. And there's only silliness to expect to bloom somewhere else, if this is my spot in the gritty dirt. There's a lot I'm not good at. There's a lot I've failed at. There's a lot I mess up, all the time. But sitting here, playing with words? This does something for my heart.

One of my favorite quotes is: "The glory of God is man fully alive." (St. Irenaeus) I first read it in my first apartment, bent over breakfast and a book by John Piper. And it likes to circle through my head like a favorite 90's country tune. It just never goes away. And I've seen it... when someone is so caught up in their calling and their purpose - what God has uniquely gifted them to say and do - how startling and inspiring that is. Because it makes you think, "Maybe I can come that alive, too." 

But we can't all come alive if we're trying to be like someone else or force feed ourselves to paint when we'd rather run or work with kids when we'd rather minister to the elderly, or work outside the home when we'd rather work inside. There are always things you have to do - I'm sorry, but you're just going to have to adult sometimes. But when it comes to the creativity, the giftedness, the uniqueness of you? That's all you. And you should grow wild with it.

I think maybe I should just stay here and try to come to light.

I think you should, too.

#bloombabybloom
"Makers gonna make."
~  U n k n o w n 

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