Two Places at Once

I was booking some appointments on my smart phone a few weeks ago. I wanted to make sure I had the Christmas Eve service blocked off so I could plan ahead for some travel arrangements. “Set Christmas Eve service for Tuesday, December 24 at 5:00 p.m.,” I spoke into my phone. A few seconds later, I got a strange reply from Lexie. “Here are the conflicts,” my phone articulated in her computer-toned voice.
“What!?” I exclaimed. “How could I possibly have something else programmed in for the same time as the Christmas Eve service?”
But suddenly, it occurred to me. I have a long-standing appointment programmed into my calendar for Tuesday afternoon Bible Study. Coincidentally, Bible Study was automatically set for 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons, generating a conflict in the system when I tried to set my commitment for Christmas Eve. Of course, I knew it was an error; obviously, we had canceled Bible Study for Christmas Eve Day since we planned to be worshiping at church or spending time with our families. But it made me laugh. I wondered about the realistic possibility of being in two places at once.
A scene from a popular movie came to mind at about that same time. In A Walk to Remember, Landon blindfolds Jamie and takes her to a designated place that at first, Jamie doesn’t understand. He helps to position her feet so that she is straddling the state line. When she questions him, Landon explains that he has managed to fulfill one of her life goals: to be in two places at once. Of course, putting a foot in two different states really doesn’t constitute being in two places at once, but logically it works. In my own situation, there would be no possible way to be at Carol’s house for Bible Study and also at the church to lead worship at the exact same time. I can’t clone myself, so the only logical solution would be to simply not double-book myself.
As we journeyed into the new year, I found myself seriously thinking about being in two places at once. Over the past few months, I have considered what it would look like to find momentum in my worship ministry. In my time of prayerful consideration, I found myself at a crossroads. Could one physically stay in the same place but still move forward? My church home at FRC is small but growing, and although some may not see great promise in our tiny worship and music department, I see amazing potential. Although resources are limited and there are challenges on the horizon, I am finding that I am in for the long haul. I have committed to stay at FRC for as long as God will pave the way for our joint ministry. I look at my work at FRC as a combined effort between me, my fellow musicians, and congregation members.
Pastor Tim’s sermon a few weeks ago mirrored my thoughts in this area but with a different perspective. He talked about moving into 2014 considering God’s plan for our lives. He pointed out that God loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to simply stay there to bask in that realization. He wants us to embrace His love and seek to move forward in that love— not staying the same as we were in 2013 or in years past.
My eyes filled with tears when I considered where I had been at the end of 2012 in comparison to where I am standing today at the beginning of 2014. It wasn’t hard to recall my dismal state as 2012 came to a close. My parents left after visiting over the Christmas holiday. I curled up in my recliner to take a nap; I was getting over the flu and was jut plain wiped out. I couldn’t sleep though because the Green Bay Packers were playing an important game, which they lost. Talk about depressing! And the depression just kept piling up. As I tried to recover physically from the flu over the next few days, I continued to spiral downward. I had far too much time to myself, and my thoughts spun in endless circles. I was lonely, worried about the future, and depressed. The combination of the after-Christmas-blahs combined with physical sickness sent me over the edge and I was a wreck.
Slowly but surely, I bounced back into good physical and mental health; I made the commitment to never sink so low again. I had no real reason to be depressed, and I needed to get back to reality and focus on what truly mattered . I jumped back into my commitments and was soon as busy as ever. I had no desire to stay in the bleak days of depression; I wanted to embrace life and a more positive outlook.
Well, I’m happy to say that in comparing this January to last, I am in a good place. As I rang in the new year, once more alone in my tiny apartment, I didn’t let the circumstances get me down. I remember praying that night, thanking God that at least I wasn’t down with the flu and battling depression. In fact, I was thankful for stress. Yes, you read that correctly. I knew with the new year would come impending deadlines for the camp I direct and a new exciting project in the works for my ministry at FRC. I was grateful that I had something to look forward to and that I could move forward.
I was also eager to move forward in my relationship with Jesus on a more personal level. After all, Pastor Tim had encouraged us to fall in love with Jesus more and more each day, so that with each passing year we could say we were closer to Him than ever before. I have taken on the challenge, and I am seeking to find a deeper closeness with my Best Friend this year. Everything else is temporal in relation to Him.
Yes, the Packers lost in the first round of playoffs and the Christmas season is over for another year. But there is more to life than football and holiday trees and lights. Jesus is eternal and His love calls me to new heights. I am physically staying— in my apartment, at FRC, in my other commitments. But I choose to leave this place of passive and lukewarm relationship with Him. I want to fall in love with Him more and more each day even though my surroundings don’t change. I want to be in two places at once: my physical and spiritual words colliding in indescribable possibility and promise!

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