Owning the Gift of Life

How are you a gift to the world?

Your life is, indeed, a gift. The fact that you were born means you’ve been equipped to participate in God’s story. For many of us, the richness of this idea is so overwhelmingly sweet and beyond our current grasp, that it’s difficult to accept, let alone feel. For others, the idea of having a distinct contribution to what God is doing is too intimidating to even think about.

Many of us live in our heads so much that we don’t have a lot of feelings about our existence; instead, we just crank through the day detached. We feel the pressure to make life look a certain way, and in so doing, bypass a the richness of a life engaged with God.

How many of us, at one time or another, have looked around and asked, “How did I get here?” It’s like we asked Siri to get us from high school to our current situation, and somewhere along the way, stopped paying attention to the road in front of us.

But there’s hope. We have been given a lifelong invitation to be part of what God is doing, to join in God’s ongoing event of creation. This creation event began long before we existed, and is happening in us and around us, and will continue for eternity. For those who have felt detached from the “river of life” for years, you haven’t missed it. You’re still invited, today and tomorrow.

So how do we, as Mary Oliver writes in her poem, “Wild Geese,” begin to understand our “place in the family of things”? God speaks to us individually, and through our ongoing, conversational prayers, we discover where and how to be in the world. We won’t be able to recognize this if we are unwilling to release our own expectations or judgments on what a legitimate life looks like. If you want to know your work in the world, your gift for the world, your purpose, you have to — as Jesus said — lose your life to find it.

Losing your life isn’t a one-time deal. Instead, it’s more of a recurring opportunity to value the eternal over the present. This is as simple (and as difficult) as being convinced that your deepest self has been invited to be fully alive. It’s intentionally accepting the invitation to be part of God’s story, when autopilot is an ever-enticing way to go through life. Finding your life is also a recurring experience—one that continues to build trust by continuous revelation of the person of God.

Everyone has good and not-so-good reasons for allowing or rejecting inner transformation. Grace abounds for those whose detachment from ideas, events, and patterns have led to a numb existence.

Our deep work is the sacred journey towards owning and participating with God’s intent for our purpose in the world.

So let’s continuously ask Jesus to save our daily lives, over and over again. Let’s stop resigning ourselves to living a faux existence. Let’s return the deadened parts of our lives back to their lying origins.

Instead, may we undergo the process of transformation, and embark on the road to becoming fully alive, to knowing and feeling our purpose in the world.

Let’s own the gift of life, for the sake of the world.

Originally published in Issue 21 of Converge Magazine.