I want to start becoming a person who is better at following through. That is what I have decided; today and yesterday and for the past week, the idea has been in my mind. There is following through in plans and with relationships and with time for oneself, but I have dreams that stretch beyond and have been stuck only as pieces of my mind for far too long. I want my thoughts to be tangible and attainable and joyous and the glory-cry that fills my lungs as I chase after the desires God has planted on my heart.
But why now? Why don’t I simply do these things without having to give the act of pursuit a second thought?
I have begun every year scrolling through strings of Instagram posts and blogs speaking to the words that God has placed on said person’s heart. I’ve greeted these with a mixture of envy and of curiosity. I wonder what has to be said for a person who feels this tension in her heart; one that is tiptoeing around the possibilities of wonder and of greatness and at the same time locking herself outside the circle because of ego, because of pride, because of feeling quite inadequate to share the same thoughts with the world.
There’s been times, internally, when I label myself as a person who is someone unworthy of the communities of Christ followers I find myself in, which is the silliest and most fear-striking thought I seem to have. My insecurities are rooted deeply in second-guessing words I had to offer raising my hand in elementary school, in not knowing how to recite the books of the Bible as some of my other friends did, usually with a rhyming song. They are rooted in feeling I had to explain myself for the traditions and saints and livelihood that I grew up with, and why the rhythms of worship I press into now look different than Catholicism, but are for the same Being and His glory. I look now and see there’s no reason for these insecurities, merely a denominational difference, but it is something that has taken hold of my heart time and time again.
I find myself still in quiet times, in media scrolling times, in reading book times, in speaking in front of theology class times feeling that I am not good enough to be a part of this community that is far more eloquent and personable than I might ever be. The internal thoughts come from thinking that I may have missed out on something because I didn’t have the deepest relationship with God when I was a child. He was there, of course He was there. I was the piece that was not there with Him; in prayer, conversation, and cries. To me, for so many days of my life, He was merely a book and a Sunday and an Advent wreath and the beads that hung from my grandmother’s hands and my mom’s car key chain.
I see now that He was these things and so much more as I grew; the softness to my father that would come unexpectedly when I cried, the thrill of pursuing the sport that made my legs hurt and lungs burn with triumph, the words that sat in my head and made their ways to door frames and crumpled scraps and eventually an expression of hope. He planted my dreams in the path I was walking and chased me, despite brokenness and unknowing.
So the truest thing is, I feel inadequate in the realm of my faith, to put it at it simply and with all the vulnerability I can muster. I think this is the piece that has beaten me down and kept these desires to live and dream in their infantile state as simply that, desires.
I am here to attest with the smallest story of insecurity and inadequacy that despite, our Father pursues us. He has held my hand and wiped my tears and shown me that He has and always will meet me in the most vulnerable and uncomfortable places.
He has given me a mind that races with ideas that run a million miles a minute, but shown me that when I press into them, they can become things of beauty and validity and to share with His children around. He has chased after me since I was a child.
The parable of the lost sheep speaks to this idea of pursuit (Luke 15:1-7). That He has promised to chase down one out of one hundred lost children to ensure safety and comfort and peace, and He has shown us that He will do the same now and forever, despite inadequacy.
His hand is on everything so intentionally and so gracefully in everything. The prayers I have held towards eradicating pride and envy have been shaped and molded into ones of pursuit. He pursues each and every one of us and has shown me that as a reflection of Him, we too should be living with a spirit of pursuit. We were made to pursue the thoughts that are in our minds, the people we wish to be in community with, the ideas that we have with the ferocity and joy just as He has for us when we are lost.
We have been made in His image, to be reflective of Him. My prayer is to continue recognizing the way He chases after me and all of you, despite feelings of unworthiness of this community, of schools and churches and families. My deepest wish for this year and for years to come so that I remember the beautiful way He pursues so that I may the in turn be a person who follows through, who shares her brokenness, who shares her story so that the ideas may proceed to completion and to glory.
My glory-cry of this year is pursuit, because He has been running after me with joy.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” (Luke 15:4-6).
words by Erin McChurch and photo by Sara Beth Pritchard