Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Of Ships and Lions

“The ship is safest when it’s in port. But that’s not what ships were made for.”—Paulo Coelho

I had a much-needed tranquil Christmas day. Never got dressed to the point of being presentable. Didn’t even make a Christmas dinner—just heated up leftovers. Napped twice, watched a couple of movies, finished a book. And now look at me: I’m finally in a proper frame of mind for blogging. It’s been weeks.

The problem has not been a matter of nothing to say; it’s that my brain’s been running in too many directions, like my oldest son’s puppy who can’t seem to settle with one bit of mischief over another.

I have to admit the past few months have been tumultuous. Well, maybe the past year or two. Okay, the last four years, at least. And the chaos has had little to do with physical circumstances or relationships, though the Lord has drawn those into the picture from time to time. But the core of what I’m talking about is an inward and spiritual revolution going on in the midst of my normally serene heart.

I used to be afraid of it. Then I hated it. Then I embraced it. Now I’m on a wild expedition through personally uncharted territory. And having the time of my life. Not that it isn’t still scary at times or that I don’t long for peaceful waters occasionally, but this . . . . This is living.

And I only bring it up because many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not that you know specifically what Jesus is doing in my heart and mind, but you sense what he’s trying to do in yours.

It’s not safe, you know. It never is. But I don’t believe any thinking person could argue that Jesus is safe. When one of the children in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia asks if Aslan the Lion—the Christ-figure in the story—is safe, she gets this answer: “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

So I’m praying for you now. Praying that you’ll let the Lord of heaven and earth lead a rebellion in you. That he’ll turn upside down whatever is comfortable and complacent in your life. That he’ll start at the fringe of what you know—really know—to be good and true and noble and perfect and use it to upset the rest of your life. Don’t be shocked. Or frightened. Or resistant.

It’s what you were made for.

So . . . share with me. What is he doing in you just now, or calling you to, or making you question?


Michelle Mitchell said...

Dear Caron,

You made me stop and think tonight...something which I fail to do out of a lack of desire, I suppose. I don't want to think of bigger and better things. I don't want to challenge myself. After all, I'm struggling physically. Isn't that enough?

No, I must admit. I have let my physical difficulties strangle my spirit. I shove my yearning for a deeper relationship with God behind my wounded facade. I mean really, who would challenge me to grow spiritually when I'm consumed with illness?

Therein lies the problem. This is too easy. It's the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, it also eats away at my heart and soul. While I nurse this physical body, I allow my intangible nature to remain ill; silenced by a force that, would it turn, allow me to grow in ways I cannot imagine.

I have so enjoyed getting to know you this year. I feel privileged to access the "inner" you through your writing. God bless you!


Caron Guillo said...


Physical illness and pain can become so consuming because it is with us 24/7. It wears us down and drains our energies for anything else.

But I think you are right when you say that you can grow spiritually in unimaginable ways while in the midst of your physical struggles. Because of them, even.

I can't help smiling just now wondering about what God's up to in your life. I'm looking forward to observing and sharing in the transformation he's working in you.

I'm glad we're on this journey together.

Love, Caron