In Part One, I shared with you two of my great passions: Brilliance and Brokeness. We looked at how they intersect for good and also for bad. I told you about my own very broken past and also about learning to embrace my own brilliance. Now, more on what I'm passionate about.
I really love pizza.
And chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven with ice-cold milk.
I REALLY love cats. Seriously love them.
And Star Trek. It's more than a little troubling how much I love Star Trek. And Lord of the Rings. (I don't speak elven - yet.)
Oh, wait! And my kids! And my husband! Of course, I love them more than all that stuff. Even though - I really do love cats. But you should see my sweet, beautiful, loving cats.
Like you, I love a lot of things,* and some of them quite passionately. But this next great passion of mine isn't anything like that.
The thing that revs my engine, stokes my fire and lights up my life is the mutual connection, love and understanding that the Shepherd of my soul, the Creator, my beloved Heavenly Father and I have with each other.
Believe me, this isn't some churchy, cliquish, "get in line and follow the rules" thing. Oh no, not at all. It is an eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon or thunderous waves crashing on a towering wall of rock or flying through the mountains while a symphony of music lifts you higher and higher. (I'm thinking of the Lighting of the Beacons scene in the third Lord of the Rings movie)
I believe I experienced the presence of God while still in the womb. His love and goodness have been in the deepest part of me from the beginning of my existence.The older I get and the more I grow and heal - the stronger it becomes.
You might wonder how that lines up with the massive trauma of my childhood. The truth is that my understanding of everything, including God, was a huge mess. But there was a place - a teeny, tiny place, hidden away somewhere inside of me - where there was a purity and clarity of belief that there was a God, he was good, and I could trust that. Layers and layers of immense confusion, dysfunction, fear, denial and disconnect crushed that teeny, tiny belief but didn't completely extinguish it.
Even though that belief was a low-wattage, flickering flame, it was truly the only light in my dark interior. So, it had a lot of power. And promise. There were two things that kept that light alive:
- I believed there was a God and he was good. I believed it because I saw it.
When I was a preschooler, my dad would come home for lunch every day. We lived in the small town of Durango Colorado, so it was a quick drive. My family comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and my father had owned several businesses. At that time, he owned a roofing and insulating company called Reliable Roofing. I remember many times that he and mom would stand at the picture window next to the kitchen table before we ate lunch and look at the storm clouds gathering. He would shake his head and say, "We have half of the Robertson roof torn off." Or, "We have the Chevy dealer's roof completely torn off." When we sat down to eat, they would pray, "Dear Lord, please hold off those rain clouds for just a few hours please." Over and over, I saw those rain clouds hold off until early evening. I saw my parents pray. I saw their prayers answered. I believed in God. Pretty straight forward. I was only 4 years old, after all.
- The second thing that kept that light shining was the Bible. From my earliest memory, I just knew the Bible was the true Word of God. I never doubted that it was trustworthy. I still don't.
But this isn't blind trust. I have read and studied most of the world's religions. Highly intelligent people have refuted the values, stories, and concepts in the Bible. I have read many of those arguments and thoughtfully considered them. I have people close to me that I love deeply who are strong atheists. I have listened and dialogued openly with them. On the other hand, I have also studied much on the many aspects of the Bible that make it the best-selling, most read and cherished book of all time including:
- Its historicity
- The poetry and wisdom writings
- The life of Jesus Christ
- The prophetical. Many, many Biblical prophecies have come true. Literally.
- The personal relevance. It's truly incredible to read a passage from the Bible that was written over two or even three thousand years ago in a different language and culture and yet find so much help and wisdom for what's happening in my life right this minute.
This brings me back to my passion.
The Bible tells me I am the beloved daughter of my heavenly Father.
It tells me I am perfectly designed by God in wonder and beauty.
That he is my loving Shepherd, he has a good future for me, he is at work in my life for good.
That there is nothing greater than love, I am forgiven for anything and everything wrong I have ever done or ever will do.
That God knows who I am, he knows what I feel, how I struggle, what I'm going through and he cares!
That he has hope, he has power - supernatural powers I have access to. He has answers, real answers.
The Bible tells me that Jesus Christ gave his life for me so that I can know, experience and live in all the love that God has for me.
And here is the clincher -
I have experienced all of that. Not just a bit here and there. But a lot and many times.
Imagine you're walking toward a wide, sandy beach. You cross a strip of soft, green grass bordered by tall palm trees. The sun is shining warm and bright in the bluest of skies. There's a gentle breeze blowing. The sand squishes through your toes with a velvety touch. You drop your towel and head to the water.
It stretches out in front of you forever.
The water is cool and frizzes around your feet and ankles. You wade in until it is thigh-high. Then, you push off and begin stroking. It is luxurious! You can hear the laughter of others nearby. Off to your right, the waves are sparkling with the light of the sun. You feel strong and happy. You pull your goggles over your face, take a deep breath and dive. Tiny slips of brilliant color dart around you. Larger fish flash through them. You swim deeper into the turquoise water. The fish get bigger but they are still beautiful, a feast for the eyes. Dolphins zoom past you. A giant sea turtle strokes serenely below. Round rocks, almost like pillows, dot the sandy seafloor. You come up for air. The beach is far away and you are alone in the quiet, undulating sea. Beams of sunshine dance up and down your body as you float on the surface. Peace, beauty and goodness flow over, around and through every part of you.
This is what it is like to experience the love of God!
I am not talking about religion. I actually kind of hate that word. Religion is a system of performances. Theoretically, it should be about sincerity and authenticity. But anyone can fake religion. It's not about knowing God. It's not about even knowing yourself. It's often impersonal and based on punishment and, to a smaller degree, reward. Religion can be discouraging and contradictory.
What I'm talking about, what I'm passionate about is my relationship, my friendship with my beloved heavenly Father-dad.
Here's a question: what if this being we call God is really all those things he's supposed to be:
- Supremely loving
- Aware and caring
- All knowing
- All powerful
- Eager to meet our needs
- Bigger and better than we could possibly imagine
- The greatest intelligence in the universe
- A limitless source of joy and peace and love
What if that was who God really was?
Wouldn't that be the greatest thing ever?
Well, that's why I'm passionate about God. Because he really is all those things. (And many, many others, of course.) It's not this philosophical, high concept of God, but the "right here, right now" relationship he and I have with each other.
And that, my friend, lights me on fire! And I love fire!
A loving friendship with the great Shepherd of my heart.
These three create a thrilling elixir of joy that I want to pour into the world. Maybe even your world.
Here are a few other things I really love:
- Diamonds!!! I have a very serious, life-long love of diamonds. And Tanzanite. Second only to diamonds
- Thinking, talking, analyzing, exploring anything to do with relationships
- Fiction of all kinds - movies, books, TV, YouTube videos (lots of those are fiction!)
- Cell phone games. This is a great weakness. When I am stressed, it's a perfect place to hide. I love word games, mahjong games, Tetris games and I especially love the all-time most addictive game of my life, 2048 games. Stay away from those!
- I love insightful connections. Like: Phone games not only release stress, they also give me that dopamine shot people with ADHD so crave. Thus, they represent safety and success.
- I love, love, love humor, laughter, comedy. In fact, I've even done a little stand-up on open mic nights. Here's a clip: "I love fire. I love to light fires. Are there any other pyromaniacs in the house? (All the men roar, "yeah!") Do you know the difference between a pyro and an arsonist? We pyros like to burn things up. But an arsonist likes to burn things DOWN!" (More roaring.)
- I love soft, restful music. I love to compose and play soft, restful music on the piano.
- I love color! Here are my new gel pens. I love them. I use different ones all the time and always keep them in their case. Not so I don't lose them, but so I can see all their beautiful colors all lined up.