Yesterday I wrote about what it's like to wake up to calling. About the moment we go from fuzzy, grainy focus to an edge as sharp as a chef's knife, whetted against a stone.
A blade that cuts clean, painlessly, across our lives, dividing our timelines into two halves: the moment before and every moment after. And the cut itself is The Moment.
The Moment it drops into your lap.
The moment you suddenly know -- and you catch your breath.
As I write that, I am reminded of something we used to say in choir -- or it feels like choir, but really we talk about it all over singing.
Sometimes, my directors and voice teachers have said, in between phrases the only air you can get is a catch-breath. Quick, clean, usually silent -- enough to keep you going until you can relax and take what you would consider a Good Breath.
A catch-breath is also what we take when we're surprised. The air in our lungs suddenly seems not sufficient enough to handle the situation we've met. We need a little more. We need something else to sustain us through the leap of our heart.
For our heart has indeed leapt, and whether with joy or fear, who can say?
With calling, it's often both.
It's the seizing of joy and it's the slow-fast strangling of misgiving as it rises into our throats and wraps its hand, one finger at a time, around our hearts.
It is cold and clammy. It is hot and flushed. It is too much and too little all at once.
It's everything: potential energy firing like cylinders a-sparkling -- and it's the canyon between what is and what could be.
And you are afraid.
And you are ecstatic.
And instantly something rises up, an impassible wall, a deep shaft of cloud materializing out of nowhere and seeming to become a wall of solid vapor, stopping you in your tracks.
One time I was walking to class with my big sweater on (lovingly known as the Hobo Sweater by me and my friends). It was the between the seasons (meaning it was either the two weeks of fall or the two weeks of "spring" we get in west Texas; I cannot recall), so the wind was high. My backpack was on, so I was weighted down with music books and my computer. But the wind was so strong, and billowed into my sweater, that it stopped me in my tracks as I walked north to the School of Music. For a few seconds I hovered on my toes, willing my body to tip forward into momentum but frozen by the backward push of the wind.
That's what the moment is like.
You are all ready to tip forward into calling. It has come to you. You have caught your breath and you are ready to leap with joy across the canyon.
But then the canyon fills all your sight, and you get a kind of tunnel vision, and it's all you can see, and suddenly you draw back from the abyss. One step, several steps -- and while you are transfixed by hopeful vision, and cannot peel your eyes away from the vision because your heart hurts so much with longing for it, you go suddenly cold all over and just cannot.
The enemy knows, don't you see.
He was there when humanity fell. He is there when each one of us awakes.
And he becomes afraid of us.
He has a vision, too, but for him, it is not hopeful.
It is a vision of what we could be. What we will be, if we are uninhibited.
Here's the truth, y'all: we are uninhibited.
We have Jesus. He has given us freedom. Given us everything.
But the enemy wants to make us think instead that there is everything between us and the hopeful vision given by God. Because if we believe that, well, then. How will we move forward? He believes we will not, and even if we do, it will be a fight.
And we will often feel like we are fighting what Galadriel calls the long defeat.
Every morning that I wake up and decide to pursue the art God gave to me, I feel a wall of what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance. And it is -- but I know whence the Resistance comes.
It comes from the enemy that wants to freeze my blood and freeze my hands and make my voice so cold it freezes in my throat, too.
It comes from the enemy that shoots ice into the morning mist so that it turns from magic into death, like curdled milk filling our ears and our brains.
He makes it hard to see.
Because he knows who we are when we are free.
(And we are free.)
But he knows who we are when we believe the freedom.
He knows who we are when we follow the hopeful vision God has given.
He is afraid of us.
And his job becomes to make us afraid -- not of him, though.
He makes us afraid of us, too.
We fear who we will become. We fear who we will no longer be. We fear what will happen to us.
And none of it is true. But it takes on all the dread of looming shadows and freezing fright. All the dread of inevitable defeat.
I am here to tell you today what I need to tell myself every day.
That defeat is not inevitable. In fact, what is indisputable, what is 110% coming to us, what is absolutely racing down the pike toward us is victory.
It won't always look the way we think it will look.
But it will always always always come.
I am here to tell you what I need to know this morning: that you are not what the enemy has made you believe you are.
You are not cruel or selfish or arrogant when you step into God's hopeful vision.
You are radiant.
And everyone can see it.
The resistance is a lie. Once you break through it, once you see it for what it is, you see that it is all a cloud. Dense, yes. Blinding, yes. But when you put your hand through it, you see that the enemy gives a little bit.
And you also get a taste: a little taste of the true-coming of the vision, because when we take a step, we are rewarded for our faith.
The enemy's job is to steal our faith and joy.
Jesus has given them back to us. Already. Past tense.
All we have to do is take a deep breath and feel the ice crystals in our blood and say yes anyway. And allow ourselves to tip forward into momentum and calling.
You think the fall will kill you.
But then the breath of God will snatch you in midair and you find that what was resistance was the catalyst to catching on fire.
The catalyst to catching your breath.
And, yes, you breathe again, and your blood flows like a river of silver, and you dance and sing.
We will face the resistance again. Our enemy is clever. He knows what it takes to frighten us.
But he does not know us.
The One Who does -- He has given us everything. Every victory. Everything we need. Every moment. Every chance.
All we have to do is say yes.
Say yes every moment of our lives.