Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fire, Fear, and Fullness

A couple weeks ago I was traveling through a beautiful canyon toward the northern California coast. The colored sky was filled with dramatic clouds only God could paint. Then the sky darkened over the mountains to the south and lightning shot toward the treetops. We didn’t realize these initial electrical cracks were the beginning of storms that would push California into a fire season that may become the state’s worst ever. It’s not over. Typical fire season for California doesn’t end until the rains of late fall.

Many Californians are in survival mode, fleeing their homes. Others are doing what they can to prevent a fire from taking everything they have—a fire not yet threatening, dreaded just the same.

Living in the country, surrounded by dry brush, I at times find myself in the latter group, consumed in fear of what to me sometimes feels inevitable but may not be.

Not a good way to live.

I have a dear, older friend who somehow works into every conversation the challenge to live fully. It’s what God designed us to do, she’d say.

I think she’s right. This week I’m challenged to look at ways I might be consumed by a fear or anything else that keeps my time or thoughts trapped in survival mode. I don’t want to just make it through a day or just survive my life. Instead, I want to be as available and open as possible to God’s work of fullness in each moment, no matter what the circumstances.

Psalm 16:11 talks about eternity that will one day bring complete fullness, but I believe the verse also hints of what I can experience now:

You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)

Twenty-six words calling me to passionate fullness. Far beyond simply surviving. Definitely better than living in fear.

How about you? Have you ever found that you’re just getting through? Or that a task, fear, or difficulty has become so consuming that you’re in survival mode? What has helped you? What verses have you found stirring you to live more fully and passionately?

Please consider sharing. Someone might find encouragement in your experience.


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