Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pay Attention

In the past 9 days I have been to a concert in Nashville, Spring Break in Panama City Beach, a wedding in Springfield, and then hopped right back into normalcy. My poor little mind though has been reeling with these experiences and I just need to pen them down. I want to remember.

The Local Natives blew my mind. This concert was the culmination of so many college memories. Who Knows Who Cares has rang as an anthem for me in college, not so much lyrically as the string of experiences it was latched on to. Suffice it to say, to hear it live, right next to the stage was awe-inspiring. I am so grateful I was there. So grateful to have this stake to go back to in years to come, a zenith to the theme this song has carried over the past few years. 

Spring Break was lovely. Dynamic and exciting, yet it's own kind of restful. I love trips because they are equally as lovely to experience as to remember. Part of the fun of a vacation is the coming home. It's like what Frank says in You've Got Mail about the VCR. 

"Technologically speaking, the world's out of hand. Take the VCR. The whole idea behind the VCR is that it makes it possible for you to tape what's on TV when you leave the house. The whole idea behind leaving the so you can miss what's on television."

I keep company with great people. I tend to be drawn to those who are very opposite of me in many ways, most of whom were on this trip. But with the whole opposites attracting thing comes the sweet rest that comes with being together and enjoying the same things: laughter, the best seafood of my life, and sunsets. 

And finally, the wedding. The wedding of two people I have known all of college. The first two friends who I saw meet, be unsure, date and decide to love and marry one another. We started college together, Brittany and I, suite-mates, babies. We learned how to do college, faced the woes of being gawky freshman, self-assured sophomores, exasperated juniors and seasoned seniors. We inaugurated "The Herd" and watched it deteriorate, seen each other through new relationships and break ups. Driven the other mad, seen sin abound and then grace more, and walked heinously hard seasons together. Trevor, Brittany and I, though not always close, have grown up together these past four years and their wedding was such a wonderful testament to all of our friendships.

As I sit here, summarizing a weeks memories and seeing years of building up to them, I know why I had the thought I did this morning. 

I stayed over in Springfield last night and woke up at 6:30 to study for a test that I had procrastinated studying for. As I'm driving to Panera to nurse my wounds with hazelnut coffee, I watched the sun begin its ascent. I was contemplating, as I often do, Ann Voskamp's thought about how we pay tribute to God by paying attention. And as I sat their soaking it all in I thought, "isn't that the point?" 

If, as John Piper says, God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him, then isn't the point of my life to pay attention? The Gospel is all about paying attention. I see it with Lent, Good Friday and Easter. Sacrificing something for 40 days to remember Jesus' sacrifice. To pay more attention to my heart and asking to see where I have subsequently created idols that take away from my realization that Jesus is my only need. I bring nothing to the table and incapable to do anything but watch. I need the Gospel and nothing. 

I couldn't create the sunrise if I wanted to, nor can I create a heart change in myself. I am only a participant in watching Jesus work in me. Please don't hear puppet. Paying attention is certainly not passive. It is being engaged in my surroundings, asking questions, attempting to understand and see clearly that which is occurring, but not being responsible to do the actual work. 

By paying attention, I am allowing Jesus the room to work in my life freely. Not withholding because of fear of hardship or not wanting to change. Watching means that I am open-handedly and curiously seeing what He has for my life when I don't get in the way. 

Looking at the past nine days and history with the people involved in them, I can see clearly how He was present, despite our sin and close-handed naivety of His goodness. By paying attention, I choose to hope in His goodness, expecting Him to show up. I am able to see the empty tomb as a joyful, not a problem. I am able to grieve the cross and revel in the resurrection. Easter is all about paying attention, about curiously and actively believing that He is working things out infinitely better than we ever imagine He can, and waiting to see it happen. 

He is Risen.

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