I’m drinking wine. I don’t think it’s “Focus-approved.” Just thought you should know.
But I come from California where the wine flows freely and you can get a case (of good stuff) for $20. I worked at a winery in Santa Rosa for about a year out of college and it was one of the more interesting times in my life. I also worked as a bartender for about 4 years just out of college after leaving my bank teller job for the more lucrative trade of cocktail-slinging, and let me tell you, you learn a lot hanging out at a bar. I lived in London for about 6 months and traveled to Edinburgh and France, living on credit and living from hand to mouth with friends who had worked as club dancers, bouncers, and part-time drug dealers. I’ve known cross-dressers and palm-readers, hung out with the high and low, the seekers and the cynical. My experience isn’t comprehensive, and I certainly don’t say all this to toot some imaginary horn, but I really think there’s something to experiencing life in all it’s horrible, wonderful, chaotic, and universal beauty. And too many times I feel confronted by an unnatural restriction to stay in one place and become an expert on one little corner of the world.
That’s not living. There’s something admirable about Midwestern farmers’ families who don’t roam and stay in one place doing the same thing, faithfully, for 739 years. But there’s also something eerie and sad about the people who don’t explore beyond their place of birth at the same time. What is creation if not variety? For some reason I envy the man who can stay in one place, one job, never questioning, for 70 years. I don’t really know why, but maybe I’ll write about him someday to find out. There’s so much life to be lived and I can’t help but ask the question, What if? It propels me and my ambition, my passions and writing. What if I did this, went there, tried that? And would I always wonder if I didn’t?
Maybe it’s the converse of the what if question that really gets to me. What if I never did? It has bearing on my theology too. Sin, for instance, is putting my own selfish desires and my personal ambitions before obedience to God. I want to be motivated by the divine What if, not my own. The distinction between obedience and temptation can be so razor thin at times, it almost seems God is testing me, seeing what I think, and waiting for the answer to confirm my dependence on Him. I’m made to risk; He made me this way. I have to employ it wisely.
I’m currently considering some job opportunities that will take me into foreign territory. I want to believe God has the end in mind. He sees my final decision and He’s happy with me for making it. All other considerations of family, personal ambition, financial reward, locale, etc. have little bearing. What is it He’s asking me to do? And if I confidently move forward in the knowledge that risk—for the divine What if—is always best, all things will work together for good.
Can this be all that true faith requires?
My final word on Luci Shaw’s excellent book, The Crime of Living Cautiously, will follow soon. Thanks everyone, for your patience.