the life and times of a twenty year old designer

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Swings and Sunsets

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It’s absolutely beautiful here today. I went out in a t-shirt and jeans and didn’t feel the slightest need for a jacket. The late afternoon sun was low in the sky when I decided I had had enough of spending the weekend indoors glued to a screen or hunched over a drawing. I simply intended to go for a walk, when I passed a playground a few blocks from my house.

I stopped in for a visit. And, let me tell you, nothing beats the swingset. Nothing.

Sure, it had been a while. But the swings, my favorite playground friend in childhood, welcomed me back with open arms.  The way the metal instantly dried out my hands, the whoosh of wind through my hair, the moment where the world dropped out from under me only to come rushing back at a breakneck pace, the instant, mood lifting, perspective-altering rush of simple joy. No one can be too old for that.

I was so taken by the swings that I spent the next twenty minutes cavorting and dancing around the playground, free of worry and inhibition, simply moving where the music and the sunlight took me. It was beautiful. Moments of freedom and joy like that always remind me of Jesus’ promise to his disciples:

“I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” John 16:22

I believe that’s the greatest, most succinct promise of hope we’ve ever been given. Think for a second about what it really means, to see Him again, to fully rejoice, and to know that that joy can never be taken away.

In the rush to grow up, I hope we don’t forget the swingset. I hope I’m never too old to play. It’s just too much fun.

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Written by Taylor Webster

February 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Life

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An introduction to posts about God:

I do not write from a desire to convert the reader or appear pious and full of answers. I can only speak the truth of my own experience. I’m writing for the curious, the athiest, the doubter and the churchgoing evangelist. The desire to connect to something greater than ourselves is something we all have in common. Thank you for exploring this with me.

It’s my fourth week going to Emmaus Road Church. Churchgoing is still a habit I’m trying to get into. In my past I’ve been let down by churches and church leaders more times that I’d care to count. But I’m learning that it’s time to forgive. It’s time to own this faith I claim. It’s time to go back to the church.

I believe that this time of young adulthood is the time to strengthen, own, and define what you believe. For me, that means making the church experience my own. Searching for teachings that are full of truth and a community full of hope. So far, Emmaus is going well.

This morning we studied Philippians 3. It’s a powerful passage. Take a look:

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul was talking about how he had achieved everything a man could be expected to achieve. He was a Jew in the purest sense of tradition and faultless in the eyes of the law.

But this isn’t what mattered. Paul was willing to die to all these things to come alive in Christ. He wanted to be resurrected into a life where not everything had been attained, but where he had the freedom to turn towards Jesus and lean into the future. A future full of life.

The funny thing about resurrection is, you have to die first.

That’s hard to hear. But in thinking about it, it makes sense. We’re not ready for it, when it happens. We ask God to save us, and the balk at the ways in which he asks us to die to our own achievements or the things we prize most.

I’ve fought the idea of dying to myself. I don’t know when God started the process.  But recently the pain of dying, watching what I have always held most dear, considered my top priority and greatest strength, crumble at my feet has had an incredible power in bringing me to my knees.

It  is only in light of our own weakness that we are able to accept God’s strength. When we live convinced we are capable of solving our own problems, there is no need for God in our lives. In the past month I’ve seen more powerfully than ever before a God who is willing to raise me up. A God who says that this time of death is not the final word. A God who promises life beyond pain.

God is hope. When we take on the sufferings of Christ and die to ourselves, we are creating the opportunity for resurrection into a new life. The glory of pain is in the opportunity to heal.

Written by Taylor Webster

February 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Life of the Spirit

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