I often tell people I feel called to stand—to live—as a bridge between the “Candle Lighters” and the “Jet Fuel Drinkers”. What do I mean by that?
- Candle-lighters are the quiet, steady-paced, somewhat solitary, somewhat mystical, focused-on-the-now, Spirit-aware, Presence of God-sensing Spiritual Formation types.
- Jet-fuel-drinkers are the loud, fast-paced, somewhat solitary, somewhat fanatical, focused-on-the-future, Spirit-aware, Presence of God-sensing Leadership types.
I love these two groups deeply; they have each formed me in their own way, and I deeply believe the cause of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the blessed community, depends upon them both. In fact, though they often speak very different languages, they need each other.
Truth is, of course, those two extremes live in me. On any given day, I’m living out of my candle-lighting tendencies or my jet-fuel-drinking tendencies. And in my dream scenario, these worlds collide—even in me. The challenge is not which is right, but rather deep, authentic integration. If combined in real life, I suppose, jet-fuel and lit candles would detonate! But in my soul, these can and must combine if I am to live out my calling; if I am to give my life as a living sacrifice, if I am to live and breathe and move in the rhythms of grace.
Last week, as I entered my office Monday morning, I felt the familiar tightening of the chest as I considered the week ahead. I was tempted, in that moment, to simply push harder and faster, to allow fear or insecurity or drivenness to fuel my activity, setting a destructive trajectory to my entire week.
But I know better by now . . . I’ve lit enough candles.
Instead, I stopped to sense and name this unsteadiness in my soul and to surrender, yet again, to God’s good care. In those moments, I felt a choice in my spirit . . . and wrote a Post-it note reminder to keep on my desk:
- "Determine that you will experience the journey with great joy and with great peace. Why? Because of the Kingdom within."
As it turns out, I never glanced at that note again until I left the office on Friday.
But as I review the many meetings, pressures, decisions, speaking engagements, conflicts and even a pre-dawn visit to the Emergency Room with my son that occurred this week, I am glad I paused on Monday. This week felt like integration.
- There was joy and there was peace. Why? Because of the Kingdom.
- Projects moved forward, children were loved, desperate prayers were prayed, limits were faced and blessed, and teammates were encouraged. Why? Because of the Kingdom.
How about you? How did the reality of the Kingdom undergird you last week? How does it undergird you now, as you read? What unsteadiness might you need to name in your own soul; what would it mean for you to surrender... yet again... to God’s good care?
Light a candle... and fly.