I just saw him again, I think. That young hawk who was learning to fly last week is out swooping back and forth across my back yard. He’s still not as smooth as his parents, but he’s learning. He’s much more at ease now, not fighting the wind so much and not so desperate to find a perch for his feet. I smiled as he flew by my window. There is such joy in seeing him become what he was created to be.
I have that feeling a lot when I travel, especially when I return to some place I’ve been before and watch how those people have been transformed since I was last with them. That hasn’t always been true. When I traveled around doing seminars, people might have been impressed with my teaching and hungered for me to return to teach them more. Often they asked if I’d come back and plant a church there. While gratifying to the ego, it frustrated my desires for them. Now that I’m more concerned with encouraging their journey rather than giving them my teaching, I see far more transformation. Often I see some of it before I leave. Those who’ve been trying so hard to get God to do something for them begin to rest in the growing trust that God will do what they can’t do. Heaviness gives way to lightness, and striving in their own efforts to beginning to recognize how Father has already been at work in them.
Learning to live loved is a paradoxical process of becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, certain in uncertainty, and at rest when others are frantic and desperate. Why? Because it gets our eyes off of our own abilities or lack of them, off of the judgments of others no matter how well-intentioned, and off of the circumstances that challenge them. Instead they look to who Father is, what he is doing, and how they only have to simply respond to his unfolding reality rather than trying to make something happen on their own.
No, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. They become far more comfortable riding the wind with less effort and more grace, just like the young hawk out my window. Each bit of progress brings delight and encouragement as the frustration of our religious efforts gives way to a new creation growing in our hearts. He really is, who he said he is, and he really can draw us into the life that really is life. It will take months and even years to really sort it out, but we’ll relax into the process instead of pressing for the outcome. This is his process after all. He’s never in a hurry. And he seems to enjoy the process as much as we enjoy watching our own children (or grandchildren) grow up.
I got a card in the mail yesterday from a woman from Europe. She’s been through a difficult transition, following Jesus’ voice into freedom out of a strict religious order that could not encourage her journey but instead had to reject her from the community. I’ve exchanged emails with her, met her this summer in Europe, and am overwhelmed with gratefulness at the work God continues to do in her heart. She’s learning to fly! This is what she wrote:
God is doing a marvelous work in me, and I could say, in your words, “I am so getting it!” The revelation about God’s eternal purpose and the true meaning of the cross of Jesus is breathtaking.I just wanted to say thank you for putting words to the deep longings of my heart. Your books and on-line teachings have been instrumental in the journey I am on–an exciting and deeply satisfying journey of joy and hope for my nation and all nations.
Awesome! If you read that with frustration that you’re not in a similar place yet, then you may be looking at your own human effort. That’s always discouraging. But he is not. I hope you read it with encouragement that Jesus is also teaching you how to soar in the new creation and though you’re not as far along as you might want to be today, he is going to help you get it, too. This is his process, not yours. It takes time for God to unravel what sin and religion have twisted in our hearts and to open our eyes to his reality.
All you need to do is just keep leaning into him as best you can see to do each day and his love will percolate up from the deepest part of your being and he will win you into a new space of living loved at rest in his working. Don’t worry that he would leave you out. He isn’t like that. It is his great pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Remember we don’t “get it” by trying to get it. We get it by simply receiving what the Father gives to us.