This summer my friend introduced me to a song by Nichole Nordeman called Dear Me [click title to listen]. She sings a letter to her younger self about the way her faith has changed and grown over the years. It resonated with me in a powerful way. She closes the song with these lyrics “Dear Me/you did not learn this in a day or two or three/ so ask a lot of questions/ but Jesus loves us this I know/ and there are no exceptions.”
Questions have been a theme of my faith recently. I’m not afraid of the questions I have even though they are bigger and less easily answered than the questions I used to ask. Questions are essential to maturity in faith, I believe. The analogy that I like the best is that questioning faith is like turning a gem. You have to hold a diamond up to the light and see it from all different perspectives to appreciate all of the many facets which comprise it’s beauty.
I’m more certain than ever, though, that I am loved and you are loved by the God who is love. Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love you neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets are fulfilled when we choose to love. We live in a world that needs this message more than ever, and that needs more of us who believe it to talk less and live it more.
Here is my response to today’s prompt: How has your faith changed over the last 20 years?
I’ve been told that where we live is not very pretty, but yesterday it was seventy-two degrees and the sun shone in the widest bluest sky artfully brushed with wisps of white clouds. As I walked, I was reminded that so often one need only to look up to be restored, to remember that we live in a vast and beautiful world not only created by a vast and beautiful God but saturated with the presence of a vast and beautiful God.
I knew a lot more twenty years ago. I asked fewer questions, different questions, questions with more certain straightforward answers. Today the only answer I find acceptable to so many questions is “I don’t know,” and I am at peace with this. My faith has grown grayer and yet richer at the same time. Too often people of faith are answering questions no one is really asking, and I don’t want to spend my time on this any longer.
The idea of love has always been central to my faith in the God who is love, but I’m a lot more concerned with getting my boots on the ground and actually walking in love today. Sometimes I long to recover the urgency, the hunger, the intimacy of my first early love for God, but I also feel how the depth of my roots anchor me today, how the winds blow and I am less shaken, more sure-footed, taller, straighter, stronger, not so tethered and tossed about by the emotions of each day.
I don’t know as much as I once did, but I am surer of a few things. I want to live a life defined by love – the smart, generous, radical kind of love we see in the life of Jesus. I want to have fewer opinions and more living proof of my confidence in his love. When I err, I want to err on the side of grace. I hunger less for answers than to have skin in the game in the arenas that really matter, where justice is at stake, where the life that is really life is on the line.
Wherever we are in the world, we gaze into the same vast and beautiful sky, our gateway to an endless unsearchable universe. I worship an endless unsearchable God who walks alongside me and knows the number of hairs on my head. It is a great mystery. Mystery is a fact of faith. Dear younger me, don’t worry so much about having the answers, just step into the mystery and trust that the anchor holds, love prevails and the sun still shines on this vast and beautiful life.
How has your faith changed? Whether your answer would be similar to mine or not, I would love to hear from you! Email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org