Friday, October 21, 2016

The Good Life

Let me ask you something: how's your life?

Most of us, when asked this question, consider it for a moment and then decide that our life is pretty good. We've got a pretty good house, a pretty good job, a pretty good car, pretty good kids, a pretty good church.... Our lives are pretty good. We are living the good life. 

But then, something happens that makes our pretty good life look a little less pretty. 

What that something is is different for everybody, and it changes often, according to what out pretty good lives demand of us. All of a sudden, all the little cracks and creaks in our house start to show. We see all the things that we probably ought to fix, that we used to think gave our house charm, but they're really just disasters waiting to happen. We start to feel the quiet discontent lurking beneath our job satisfaction, wishing we'd spoken up a long time ago about all the little things that have since become the big things that make Friday, not Monday, the best day of the week. We start to see all the little rust spots showing up on our 'pretty good' car, hear all the little rattles that used to be drowned out by the radio or the wind. We see our children's hearts aching, asking questions we've never heard, and we see how just the small little things they do are cries that while they're still pretty good kids, they're not okay. They're struggling. We look around our church and see the ways that we are failing one another, feel the ways that our church has failed us. We see our shallow teachings or our empty relationships or the politics that seem to always pull someone in and always leave someone out (and far too often, that someone left out is Jesus). 

All of a sudden, our pretty good life is kind of ugly. 

And we're all just hoping no one notices.

Why can't we just be honest about our lives? Why can't we just live the lives we really have instead of pretending that they're all "pretty good"? Let's pull up to our broken churches in our beat-up old cars, rust spots showing their age. Let's wear the same clothes we wore yesterday because we haven't had time to do the laundry yet. Let's invite people over to our houses and not worry about whether they see where the porch floor is starting to warp or the ceiling is starting to crack or that spot on the carpet that we never could quite get out completely. Let's introduce them to our children and get to know theirs, and let's let our kids play together, knowing they're all a little weird. (And that's okay - they're kids. They are supposed to be kind of weird.) Let's be honest about Fridays...and about Mondays...and about jobs that don't fulfill us any more. Let's stop pretending our lives are "pretty good" and embrace all the ugly that's around us.

Because when our lives aren't so good after all, when they're just...real, then God gets to be the one that's good. He gets to be real, too.

That's what happens, isn't it? Our pretty good lives are going along with our pretty good God, and then when things start to go awry, the first thing we do is blame God for our lives no longer being pretty. But they haven't been pretty for a long time; we were just unwilling to notice it.

When we're honest about our lives, when we live into our stories as they age and fall apart and come together in new ways and start to show their messes, then whatever good we've God. It's really all because of Him. Our lives, our messy, broken, messed-up lives, are good because they've got a good God in them. And when things start to go awry, our good God only gets greater. 

That's how life is supposed to work.

So look around you. Really look. Notice all the rough spots. Notice all the rust. Notice all the little cracks and creaks and dents and dings. Notice all the ache and all the worry and all the trouble. Notice it all. And let me ask you: how's your life? 

Okay, but how's your God?

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