We are told that all Creation is groaning. “Groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Creation cries out through its slow burning into fullness.
There are seasons when we feel that deep unease which lets us know that we too – we fearfully created beings – are a part of that groaning. I guess in the same way that (so I’ve heard) during childbirth contractions which speak acutely of what is to come ebb and flow, the awareness that we are part of the greater groaning of all Creation comes and goes in waves.
As I mull over the idea living fully as creative, created beings, I have been ‘moved most’, my sister said, by people doing what they are born to do. At the moment it’s Donald Miller. Every word of dances off the page, revelling in the fact that they are weighted with the purpose of the one who birthed them into being. Miller gives life to words in a way which he only can, as he has been made for this, to write. This beauty of this invites you, invites me to join the story and it is a soul stirring thing.
And I wonder if part of Creation’s groaning looks like us taking risks and in doing so unearthing more of who we have been created to be. This means facing fear of failure and working through it. A painful, uncomfortable process. But through these painful contractions, the hope is that our lives are filled more and more with the weighty purpose that comes from living fully and honestly in His purpose for us. We are a part of the redemption story of Creation.
Circumstance allowed that I take 2 months off from work in between jobs to think about this. It’s scary, to take a break in a world which so often tells us that identity hangs on what we ‘do’. Not having fixed work for 2 months was a risk (and a luxury for sure, which I want to appreciate) but I knew this time was important to figure out where fear is stopping me from taking the risks which I hope will unearth a little more of creation.
And in the space which I’ve had, I have been struck by how much I have arranged my life in such a way that I never have to fail. And the question nags – by living in this way, how much am I shying away from real risks which will unearth more of my purpose? How do I even begin to dismantle the deep-set armour and begin to risk failure?
Start with love, a wise companion said today. Start with brave conversations, with forgiveness. Think about how Jesus took risks, Think about how he decided to come down from heaven in helplessness, inhabiting our human fragility. That’s risk. Think of the depth of sacrifice involved. And the depth of impact. ‘Not my will, but Yours’ he said.
We are to take risks, I think, precisely in those places where fear and dread dwell most heavily. Because it’s likely that our greatest purpose and fulfilling lie buried beneath those places. We fear where there is something at stake – something which could mean something, mean everything. I fear failure most in my closest relationships, in the dreams closest to my heart – so I play safe. And yet it’s probably in those places that I am most likely to unearth who I have truly been created to be. I want to take risks in those places.
So much of my life my prayer is ‘take this cup from me’, please ask someone else. And yet I long to move closer towards ‘Not my will, but Yours’. As I move in that space and discover what it is to leap and take more risks in my relationships and my dreams, I groan in tune with creation. But press towards the redeemed creation that will be unearthed.
A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep
Sustains the bed on which we lie, my dear:
Although I love you, you will have to leap;
Our dream of safety has to disappear
// Leap Before You Look // W. H. Auden