“Ruled by Reluctance” by Forest Benedict

Fear is familiar. It is my natural mindset; the default state I’m drawn to. As I stew in my mental juices, the awareness surfaces that my world is often orchestrated around anxiety avoidance. If I control all variables, maybe then I will feel secure.

 My life is too often…

Safe, yet stagnant.

Responsible, yet repressed.

Shaded, yet stunted.

Controlled, yet chained.

In this unending quest to protect myself from harm, I am left thirsty, longing for life. The deeper tragedy is that I call myself a Christ follower. My structured moments whisper to the world that the rugged, rebellious, real-life Jesus is instead a rules-based religious icon. Sadly, this protected and predictable version of myself does not embody the abundant life Jesus promised to those who love him (John 10:10).

It is not always this way. Sometimes the aroma of adventure steams into my nostrils and God’s spirit awakens within me. Then, everything is possible, joyous, and exploding with energy. In those instances, the Jewish carpenter’s blood enlivens my veins and the world senses His life-giving presence. Those are the dangerous, mesmerizing moments I enjoy and yearn for.

My life becomes…

Exposed, yet exciting.

Risky, yet radiating.

Messy, yet memorable.

Uncertain, yet unshackled.

That is true Christianity. Running with the God who is good but not safe. Trusting that when presence trumps predictability, life bursts and spills from within. That is the life God invites me into. That is the life I choose today.

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