As I continue to blog day after day, I'm discovering something so interesting in the harsh Pennsylvania winter. In years past, I focused so much on redeeming and elevating my circumstances. Everything about living with flair has been about finding beauty in common things, discovering mystery, and worshiping Jesus through the wonder of my environment.
It was always, "Look! Look at this wonderful thing that reminds me of God! Look at His mysterious ways, and let's worship Him because of this snowflake, this Northern Cardinal, and this bare oak tree!"
That discipline made me exceedingly happy and brought structure and purpose to every single day for the last 1,790 days. It healed my brain. It changed me. The darkness left. I'd recommend this practice to anyone.
But lately, the environment--no matter how full of mystery and wonder--isn't as satisfying as Jesus himself.
For five years, I looked outside of myself to see God in everything; this month, I'm going deeper inside of myself to find that inner fortress, that soul refuge, where the Holy Spirit resides. In other words, I'm not needing to see beauty everywhere because God is the beautiful thing. This means that, sometimes, the circumstances might not produce a wondrous narrative or reveal any kind of beauty. Maybe they cannot. Maybe they should not.
I think of what I'm hearing on the news and the suffering across the globe. I think of persecuted Christians who do not--and will not--have the luxury of considering the gentle snowflake today. Hurting and dying people will not hear the gorgeous cry of the hawk or interpret the beauty of children skating on a frozen pond, their laughter ringing like sleigh bells across the landscape.
Is life any less wondrous? Is there a secret dwelling place in the heart that makes what's happening around us unrelated to our deepest joy?
My circumstances no longer depress me or put me into despair--or, on the other hand, create the kind of joy I used to feel. The new disposition of my heart means I think about God's truth and His great character. I'm worshipping Him in the quiet of my soul and rising out of whatever is happening, good or bad. It's a deeper kind of living that I'm experiencing, a new kind of living with flair.