Thursday, March 28, 2013

God is in the Air

“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
Mother Teresa

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
Mother Teresa

“Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of God bursts through everywhere.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of my favorite professors from St. Olaf would regularly say in class (often to sooth a heated philosophical debate) “Love is in the air!” Or “Love is all around!” When you take this statement outside the cliché context of a star-struck lover on Valentine’s day, it is a great saying to have on the tip of your tongue and in the foreground of your thoughts. When you watch for it, love shows up in the most ordinary yet unexpected interactions of affection. Stealing from the movie “love actually”, one of my favorite places to witness interactions filled with affection and love is the airport baggage claim. Kids, parents, boyfriends rush in with a hug and a smile to welcome back their compatriot from abroad. Another great place to watch for love-filled interactions is while in a popular walking/running destination or park; Kids loving on parents, friends hanging out or working out together, dogs smiling up at their masters. My personal favorite place to do this is around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.
When love is in the air, so is God. And lately I have been on the periphery of watching him suddenly appear in others’ lives. In my life- I know I write people off for their beliefs- in the sense that when I learn they believe X, I assume they will always believe that the rest of their lives. In other words, if I know someone is an atheist, and they tell me their reasons and beliefs, I think something along the lines of “Ok, that is the way they are.” And I never consider that they may change their minds! This is lazy thinking on my part, and I have been recently surprised and humbled by people I know not being constrained by their original patterns of thinking. I should know better- goodness knows how much my faith has morphed over the last handful of years.
In the last couple weeks I have learned of atheist friends joining churches, people interacting with pastors after holding a lifelong vendetta against the church. I have friends who have been in doubting periods of their life recently come to new convictions around faith. I know people in my life beginning to go to church again regularly after not attending for the last several years. I talked to someone last night who said the best part of his last two weeks was reconnecting with God. Wow right?
How extraordinary that God gives up on no one. How marvelous there is always the next moment awaiting us and others to connect with him further. And who am I to judge, evaluate or write off anyone given the champion God is for each of us?
Over the next week I am going to practice being open to others, and loving them in a way that is open to them to morphing and changing. I also am going to practice being open to others pleasantly surprising me.
When I say God is in the air, I also am noticing him working in my life- meaning I have this sensation of the things occurring in my life are happening in a pattern, a dance of sorts. I feel like I have suddenly happened upon the script of my life. Over the last year, God has really morphed and shaped me- the experiences I have had over the last year have taught me how to better prioritize God over money, self-worth, personal relationships, love of food or desire for success.
And today, I am noticing through what I am doing and in my interactions with others, how close to God I feel- as in how present the forces of love, authenticity, beauty and order are around me. And I also have this odd experience of being open to major parts in my life working out on their own. My job, where I live, my money situation and all the other little things I worry about day to day- those things will work themselves out. And me planning too much will only get in the way of what God is slowly revealing to me.
I am approaching the hinge of my life, a precipice of sorts. I cannot see much after July- after my time in the Middle East. I do not yet know where or with whom I will live, I do not know where I will be working, I do not yet fully understand what my time will be filled with. And instead of being fearful I am anticipating this new chapter. Kind of like how I felt skiing this past weekend. I have spent so much of my life becoming a good skier, but I have always had a fear of making it down the hill. Something in me kept me cautious, tentative. This past weekend in Colorado, my experience was different. Instead of being scared of the slope, I felt as if I was flying down the hill. I felt as if a switch had turned on with me, circuiting me with confidence and ease. Skiing became joy-filled instead of a preoccupied trepidation.
In the midst of continuing to complete things in life, in continuing to crowd out my self-interest and make room for God- I notice moment by moment the world around me is becoming brighter- as if the sun is rising. I am becoming increasingly aware of the ability to fly through life rather than worry about the decent.
Here is a section of Romans chapter 8 that I find especially reflective of how lately I have been feeling as I continuously notice God more and more in my life:
  26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36Just as it is written,

37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is in the air. God is in my life and the lives of others. I do not know of what is to come or how, but I am optimistic.


  1. Beautiful! I am hoping the opportunity in Israel will work out for you. The spirit of God is moving in your life, Kelsie, and once that happens you become sensitive to the currents of change in other peoples' lives as well.
    You are experiencing the reality of being called according to His purpose, and there will be doors that open for you as you trust and keep yourself centered in your faith. It is difficult when we cannot see the future mapped out in front of us with a definite plan, yet in reality there is nothing for certain in any of the plans we make. Having expectations sets us up for disappointment, but having hope is essential to living and thriving. Hope is open ended, and accepts the gifts and goodness that God provides even if it does not sync with our own human agenda.