On the Road to Anything

I believe the Holy Trinity is one of the most mysterious truths contained in the Bible.  It is difficult as a human to conceptualize a being that is simultaneously three in one.  However, there are moments when I catch glimpses of a whisper of understanding. Or at least purpose in the design of it all.

In John 14, during the discussion Jesus has with his disciples around the Passover table, he explains how he will be leaving them, but He will be sending a helper to all those who believe in Him.  It’s something I’ve known about/heard about since becoming a Christian:  the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity.  This manifestation of the one true God has always been the hardest one for me to wrap my head around; mainly because He’s always been portrayed as the aspect of God I’m supposed to feel.  And if I’m completely honest, most days I don’t FEEL much God around at all.

This week as I was finishing the Bible Study Named by God by Kasey VanNorman she directed us to read a couple of places that spoke about the Holy Spirit.   John 14: 26 (ESV) reads “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to you remembrance all that I have said to you.”  Then, when you see Paul talking in Titus we see this:  “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6 (ESV)).   We are renewed by the Holy Spirit, we remember the teachings of Christ through the Holy Spirit and we are taught things by the Holy Spirit.  These are aspects of the Holy Spirit that Kasey wanted us to see.

But what I saw was a reminder that God is Big and Mysterious and Multi-faceted.  We only have the Holy Spirit in the context of the Trinity, because the God of Abraham is but One Being.  Both of these verses refer to all three aspects of the Trinity.  And while I’m not exactly certain the significance of that yet, I feel that it’s important.

Because to a frazzled, working mom wearing many hats, that seems to be a comfort to me today.  The fact that God, who is all things at all times, has these aspects of himself that are manifested for specific purposes is soothing for a woman trying to juggle multiple roles in her life.  And all of the manifestations of the Trinity are important.  God the Father as pure and holy creator, loving us too much to let us go; Christ as relatable, redeeming Savior; and Holy Spirit as the present helper and teacher.   My different roles don’t make me fractured, and it’s okay to need to set aside one role on occasion to focus on another because that’s more important to the story right at the moment.

But I also see it as challenge.  Because, even when one aspect of God seems to be taking center stage at various times throughout the story, all of the aspects of God always work for one thing, with one goal in mind: For God’s Glory.  What would life look like if all of my personas were to be able to run after that same goal together?  That no matter whether I’m wearing my mom hat, my wife hat, my daughter hat, my sister hat, my employee hat, my co-worker hat, my friend hat, etc. my goal would be to glorify God?  It’s a challenge that Jennie Allen issues in her book Anything.  A challenge to lay down our lives, everything, and be willing to do anything to follow God and fulfill his purposes for our lives, the ultimate purpose of which is to glorify God.

I think at this point in my life I’m more like Jennie’s friend Karen who told her “Jennie, I can’t pray that [anything].  I can’t turn this life over to God.  I am scared of what may happen” (page 54 of the Kindle edition).  Jennie goes on to talk about how, especially in Karen’s situation where she had experienced tragedy, she can understand how her friend was torn.  Following completely abandoned after Jesus is costly.  For some, hugely costly.  To pray anything, to give everything, means God might just take that offering.  She goes on to make several more compelling and honest points and ask us to consider “what are you most afraid of?  What would be the worst thing that God may allow you to suffer?”

And if I’m absolutely honest, I’m still stuck in a huge place of fear.  When I consider those questions, some truly frightening possibilities come up, including ones that are likely (like the death of my parents or emergencies that cost a lot of money (home issues, car issues, health issues, accidents)) and other ones that are totally irrational (did you know that masked murderers come into my house every other Monday night when I’m home alone with Kate?  Or that any night we don’t hear a peep out of Kate the creaking of the crib indicating tossing and turning, she’s got to have stopped breathing?  At least that’s what my fear-riddled brain believes every time the house creaks when we’re home alone or my daughter has an awesome night of sleep!  Seriously, what kind of mother is more comforted by a restless child that is going to wake up cranky and tired than one who is sleeping so deeply she doesn’t move an inch?)

And, again, if I’m truly honest, I’m even scared to pray to God for help with this issue because I’m afraid of the form that “help” may take (after all we’ve all heard the anecdotal stories of those praying for patience only to be placed in stressful situations where they have to practice patience!)

BUT, I’m doing it anyway.  Because I’m to the point where I think I want to see what life would look like if I wasn’t afraid to do everything and anything to Glorify God.  A life where I’m more concerned with what God thinks of me than what people think of me; where I’m more concerned about the eternal lives of those I love than their earthly ones; where I’m more concerned with being considerate rather than correct, compassionate rather than comfortable, joyful rather than jealous, and thankful rather than trendy; where I’m more concerned with relationships than to-do lists and eternity is a constant reality present on my mind rather than a fleeting idea that can wait until tomorrow.

What would that look like?  I’m not sure right now, but I’m kind of excited to find out.  So, while I may not be ready to pray anything, I’ll continue to pray that the Holy Spirit continually reminds me that God gave me a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV) and the words of Christ after he promises to send a helper (John 14:27 (ESV))

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

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