I’m listening to Etta James sing stormy weather in an empty Starbucks on a crisp spring day in Virginia. It feels perfectly ordinary and sweetly wonderful at the same time. My life is an exercise in adjusting; an ever changing Rorschach test in seeking out magic in the mundane and peace in the uncertain.
This time last week, I was praising God for bringing me my final two models for the painting right when I needed them. This time last week I was hot and tired staring at a wall that was at best underwhelming. This time last week I was willfully standing in faith that God’s faithfulness and power did not shift with my circumstances and feelings.
I can’t tell you which place of the two I prefer. I don’t know if I’m more at home in the excitement and the rush, or the quiet and peaceful downtime. The truth is, I’m often overwhelmed with gratitude for where I am, within moments of being a little sad with longing for the other. I’ve learned to actively seek after contentment; leaning into all the unique joys and gifts each day and place offers. Because with each day that I live in, I know, that in a few weeks time, all that I have in this moment will be switched out and replaced by a life that is entirely different and foreign.
In this year of multiple lives, I’ve learned who I am. I’ve become who I am. I’ve grown, stretched and gathered strength. With God’s active help and encouragement I’ve stripped off parts of my character that were bulky and restrictive; heavier than I realized. With his abundant love and grace he has healed my wounds and poured his spirit into me, generously and without reserve. I am a new creation.
He has opened my eyes to see his kingdom and my place in it. My purpose in life is not the pursuit of my own happiness but to pursue my God and his rightful glory. In that pursuit I am promised, not a fleeting unstable emotion, but rich joy and unexplainable peace. This purpose and my ability to pursue it does not change with my location.
When the sun rises and my eyes open with each new day, regardless of where I find myself, I know that God will be right there. Each day I have to actively remove new baggage that would hold me back and slow me down. Each day I have to actively choose to pursue him and his glory, rather than myself and my own natural desires. Each day I have to put on my armor and prepare for opposition. These things do not change with my location.
God is good and he is sovereign. He was at my worst moment. He is today. He is not a shifting shadow. He is a sturdy rock. He is the source of love and truth. He is generous and kind. He is great and mighty.
I neither leave him in, nor take him with me to each new place I go. He is already there.
“I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me.” Psalm 139:7-10
When nothing else is reliable or guaranteed, I have Him. He and I are a sure thing. He is my magic in the mundane. He is my sure footed peace amid the uncertain. If He’s all I can count on each day when I wake up, I can tell you with confidence that that’s more than enough.