As we end 2018 and look into 2019, I simply wanted to say, “permission granted.” Not that I have the authority to give you permission, nor do you need my permission to move forward. But, sometimes, it is nice to have a new friend, a pastor, spiritual guide, or some sort of modern sage or monk, come alongside you and say, “permission granted. Do it! Risk it. Go.”
Over the last six months, Sarah and I have talked with people who want to, to some extent, unplug from the conventional or traditional path they have been following. Many of us look at what is and dare to dream of what could be. We think , “what if we were willing to challenge this or that structure, system, or way of being? Could we find more life than we have now?”
I want to challenge you to ask one simple question about the thing, practice, or system you have been tempted to leave or challenge: What is all of this for? Do it. If you do it, it is the equivalent of knocking on pandora’s door. Then when you come up with an answer to “what is all this for?”, ask it again, until you can’t ask it anymore. Often times the final answer to this rabbit hole of questions is something you actually don’t believe anymore. Or hasn’t delivered what you originally thought it would deliver. Give yourself permission to take the exit ramp.
I have this group of friends from seminary who I continually confide in when I am wrestling with decisions that may lead me from breaking away from my norm. Lately, Sarah and I have been wrestling with some decisions about directions in life. I was talking to this group of friends, and sure enough, three of the others were also wrestling with the same questions and decisions. In fact, the only one who wasn’t lives in France. One of them said the question that is haunting me is, “what is this all for?” I started to ask this, and things started to clear up fast…and get scary. Don’t get me wrong, things won’t necessarily get easier. In fact, initially, they may get harder. The social pressure will build up. Those around you may think you have gone crazy or are “falling away.“ Especially those who are committed to the current culture, system, and structure. They may even be able to point to how the current systems “work” for them. It’s okay. Maybe it does “work” for them, but not you. You know your heart. You know the direction the Divine is pulling you. Follow it. We live in a world in which we are told the “professionals“ know better for our kids than we do. Or that the very thing Jesus came and died for looks like our modern day church. Or that you need to stick with the job you have until you retire so you can then do what you really want to do. I call, “bull shit.“ Take the step.
For some of you, may mean taking a step of faith away from what you have known as church into something spiritually fresh and new. For others, it may be stepping out of the “security” of the traditional school systems into something more explorative that only you, as a parent, can imagine for your child. Some of you are ready to risk a new life path or career that better aligns with your values and dreams. Maybe it is writing your first book. Acting on a stage. Visiting a new place. Picking up a new hobby. This can be scary. It should be. It’s okay. In fact, if you aren’t doing anything that is a bit scary, then you aren’t growing. Do it. Take the chance. Take the risk.
For what it’s worth - permission granted, have an amazing 2019!