Life More Abundantly
Scripture: John 10:10
After my daughter was born in 2012 I went through a major faith deconstruction. (You can read all about that here.) I was so angry, so very angry at all the ways I felt like I had been lied to growing up. I raged in conversations and on the internet. “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!” “No complementarianism!” “John Piper is WRONG!”
It was a moment.
A friend pulled me aside in the midst of this time and gently suggested I try to spend some time talking about what I was for, not just who or what I was against. This went over very well, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I received their suggestion with an open heart and definitely did not get angry at them. Obviously.
I was angry, and anger is a good and necessary emotion. Its fire blazes hot and melts the areas of our lives or the systems of this world we’ve grown numb to. That’s a good thing.
I was also grieving, though I couldn’t identify it at the time. The little girl who had been told in multiple ways she was too much and not enough at the same time was learning that perhaps she was good and holy and lovely after all.
In the Christian tradition, lament is an expression of grief or sorrow. It’s crying out to God over a situation or an injustice. “How long, oh Lord?”
Lament is a holy an important practice. We need to name those things which anger and grieve us, to cry out to God over the things we cannot or do not know how to change.
If I’m honest though, I became enamored with lament. I swung from a triumphant faith where nothing could be wrong and even in my difficulties I would still praise God, to a faith I was defining more and more by what was wrong or by what I was against.
It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started to think in terms of trying to balance my laments with listening for the invitation of the Spirit into what I am for. Vision, of sorts, if you will.
In order for me to take part in life more abundantly, Jesus describes, some of my old ways of thinking and perceiving myself and God and the world absolutely needed to be dismantled. But in order for me to live in that life more abundantly, I cannot be content with only defining abundance by “not scarcity.”
This week, I am fasting from lament–or at least lament in the “how long, oh Lord?” sense. Instead, I will be phrasing my prayers for the changes we desperately need in the positive– “your Kingdom come, your will be done.”
Today, I invite you to call to mind 2-3 realities you lament, then consider what an abundant, shalom-filled restoration of those realities would look like. Add this vision to your “how long, oh Lord,” and, if there are actions you can take to help move toward this reality, consider how you might engage.