The past week or two, Kassy and I have spent a very large and significant amount of time packing up our apartment so we could move to our new home in Lubbock, TX. While she spent her last week as a teacher over at her elementary school, I was finished up at Cherry Creek Pres and “worked full-time” on packing and stuff. Really what that meant was throwing away a lot of junk that had accumulated in our apartment and spending way too much money on coffee and meals with our friends before leaving.
In other words, what I was doing was taking inventory on the life that we had been living over these last three years.
After all the packing was said and done, I can say with a lot of confidence that the material possessions we accumulated were not very important with the exception of our decorations and wall art that Kassy picked out. She made our apartment feel like home. Yet, what made Denver truly feel like home were the people we met and who became our “framily.”
Taking inventory of one’s life can be both difficult and amazing. Difficult because one can see what they have left undone and what is being left behind. As I look back on our lives the last three years, I lament because of the relationships that were left undone; unpursued. Some of that comes from the growth and maturing process. We learn to live differently through reflection upon our past histories.
It can also be amazing to take inventory of our lives, however. Having the opportunity to pause and look back and recognize what mattered most to us (my relationship with Jesus, Kassy, and our “framily”) can help set the tone of how we want to live our lives for the future. Just as our “undones” help us learn how we don’t want to live, what we have positively learned help us look forward and cast a vision for our future seasons in life.
For me, two things come to mind as I take inventory. 1) People and our relationships with them have a god-like significance. In Genesis 1:26-27, God created human beings in his image and in his likeness. Even more specifically, he created them male and female. Human beings were created to relate to one another. Just as the persons of our Triune God intimately relate and interact with one another, so humankind was made to interact with each other with appropriate intimacy. God said in Genesis 2:18 “it isn’t good that man (the first of the humans to be created) is alone.” He was alone in the perfect, life sustaining, rich-with-potential, garden and God said it wasn’t good because he was alone. He needed an equal, he needed a partner, he needed someone to help him fulfill the what God called all of humankind to fulfill (to fill the earth with Jesus’s culture of love for God and neighbor). We need other people. I need other people. For some reason, this past season in Denver taught me how deeply I need intimate relationships with other people. We were not made to be alone.
2) Deep relationships are scary. They are scary because of our own human propensity towards brokenness. There is no relationship that is left untouched by the destructiveness of evil that we each perpetuate. We will be hurt by those who call us “friend,” and we will hurt those who we call “friend.” That is just a natural part of living in a broken world. Secondly, relationships are scary because they require us to trust those friends, those people who have an intimate open door into our lives, and slowly disclose ourselves to them. For me to develop into a relationship, it means that I need to not only receive from them, but I need to actively give myself to them and trust them. Obviously, this happens with safe people, but even then Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons (that is children who are rightful heirs, like to a king) of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
For Jesus, he rules a kingdom filled with people who love others relentlessly and care for those who culture and others might deem as unworthy of our love. Jesus calls us to love because even God showers all of humanity with the gift of life in the world he so graciously created.
Love is scary and sacred business. And as I continue to take inventory on our past relationships that will continue on, I am looking forward to the new relationships we get to build here in Texas. So, may our Father in heaven bless you with every blessing that comes from the Spirit in our Lord Jesus who’s life, death, and resurrection actively brings about a kingdom filled with his apprentices who love and engage in relationships the way the Trinity does within itself and the way our Lord Jesus came down from heaven to us for us. May we go and live as he did.