Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter and Story

I’ve done Easter a few different ways.

One year spent it in a cabin set in the Blue Ridge mountains with good friends. In 2016 I was in a wonderful church full of fantastic people in Costa Rica. On my Race I was in Nepal, where I worshipped alongside Nepali people high in the mountains in the Tibet region. I also gave a word to the church… all while having a giant rip in the crotch of my pants. One of the young children was kind enough to point it out. Basically the rest of my life has been spent doing Easter in Mississippi in my local church with my family.

This year I did something a little different. I decided to get in my truck (named Ivan, to those who have not met him) and drive into the mountains. I wanted to spend this Easter having some quality time with the Father Himself.

So away I drove. Into a part of North Georgia I’m well acquainted with.

I quickly noticed that I wasn’t alone. Everyone and their mother seemed to be thinking the same thing. Though, I can’t vouch for their motivations.

Regardless, all of my normal spots were taken. Inundated with people driving in and out to take a quick picture of a mountain range cloaked in clouds. Which I couldn’t quite understand.

Realizing there was no deep contemplation to be had here, I took off and explored. This is where I found a nice little spot tucked into the woods. No one stopped there because there didn’t seem to be anything to find. A small dirt road with a Smoky the Bear sign in front that led into the forest. I’ve learned that some of the best places to explore or meet the Lord are the ones that people don’t find interesting. The places that are unassuming or inconvenient usually are the best ones in my opinion.

I walked in. Took a several minutes to scout around, and found that I had walked into a semi-used campsite. There was no grand view, but it was insulated from the nearby road, caught the breeze wonderfully, and had some beautiful trees and plants.

It was perfect.

I setup my little REI camp chair, whipped out my journal, clicked my clicky pen, and asked the Lord what He wanted to talk about.

Seth Barnes (Adventures CEO, my boss) sends out weekly emails with his thoughts. Recently he sent one out that got me thinking. He was talking about telling a good story. He said this in the email:

“My story is one of a young man looking for acceptance and adventure. I traveled the world, wanting to make a difference while caring for the least and the lost. Eventually I began to realize that a whole generation of young people had the same foundational urges that I did. 

When I realized that Jesus gives us all the opportunity to live a good story journeying the world with him, everything changed. Since then, I've devoted my life to helping people trust Jesus in crazy ways and then to tell others about it.”

For a while I couldn’t understand what he meant by “story.” I’ve been trying to figure out what the point of a good story is besides entertainment. I mean, we pay to see movies, we buy books, we waste scads of time watching Instagram or Snapchat stories. Why would we need to live a good one? Especially when we can watch the doctored up versions up other people’s.

What I’ve decided is that it comes down to motivation. Why are you trying to live a good story? To be someone great? To be recognized? To find fame? Status? Friends? People to look up to you? Maybe it’s acceptance. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe you just want to go viral.

I began thinking about the people we find to be “great storytellers.” Or just great people. Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, Paul, martyrs throughout the ages, obviously Jesus Himself. The common thread here to me, is that none of these people were interested in telling their story for their own gain. They didn’t tell it for anything other than the point of it. To glorify the Lord and make Him known.

It’s easy to get caught up in telling a story to see what people think about it. To post something to see how many likes, views, or shares you get. I mean heck, It’s something I run into every time I blog.

We’re vain. It’s kinda the way of it, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay that way.

Now, what the heck does this have to do with Easter?

The thing the Lord really told me in the woods was this: “I died so you could be free. I died so you could live a wonderful life. So you could tell and live a wonderful story. Go and live it.

This Easter it was easy to think about all the crazy things going on in the world around us. But, it can be a time to really understand another dimension of why Christ died for you.

Go and tell a story. Tell your story. Tell your story for the simple sake of telling it. Live you story because you can. Live your story because you were made to. Tell others about it. Do not worry what they think, be concerned with living the story God made you to live.

He has risen indeed. Why not go tell some people what that means?

Anyway, that's what I’m mulling over this Easter.

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