Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This past week I worked on a t-shirt design with the words “beautiful disruption”. The words are the theme for the holiday season at Journey Church in Worthington, MN. They are a reminder that out of the disruptions of life God creates beauty. God is in the disruption; He allows and places circumstances and trials in our path that are contrary to what we thought the plan was for our life.
We all have daily disruptions… whether you are in the work place and receive constant disruption by bosses, co-workers, those you supervise, customers, venders, etc.; or if you work from or at home where children and pets offer about a kazillion disruptions per day. And everyone deals with the disruption of the phone, email, IM, and social media!
And we all have life disruptions – major and minor events that change the course of a day, a week, a month, or a lifetime.
In his book Margin, Dr. Swenson discusses the need to have margin in our spiritual life, emotional health, physical health, and schedules so that we can handle and even embrace disruptions. Mary, the mother of Jesus, displayed well her embrace of God’s disruption on her life. Mary’s responses to God’s angel telling her she is going to conceive are “How can this be since I am virgin?” and “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” She asks a question of logistics and curiosity, accepts the explanation, and willingly sets aside her plans for God’s disruption in her world.
Mary’s response to God’s major, life-altering disruption models an exemplary attitude. She held loosely to everything in her life – her dreams, her plans, her ideals. In a single conversation her life went from the average young Jewish girl to an extraordinary off-course, unchartered path with an uncertain future. But she does not even seem to fret for a moment.
Mary says – “OK, I am God’s. I am not my own.” She goes to visit her relative Elizabeth not too long after her conversation with the Angel, but she does not go to receive consolation or complain about the uncertainty of her future because of the plight God has given her… nope. Mary sings the Magnificat of praise to “Mighty One [who] has done great things for me.” (Luke 1:49)
We are thankful for the harvest God has given, for His salvation, for His provision and family and friends He has blessed us with and so many other good gifts. But, are we thankful for the disruptions and difficulties of the year? Do I recall that I am not my own, I was bought at a price; I belong to God? (1Corinthians 6:19-20) Do we recount God’s praise in our struggle or rehash our lack of faith to others? Do I hold loosely to every hope, dream, and even my life because I trust in God alone?
Luke 14:33 tells us that “in the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (emphasis mine) Mary was willing to give up everything – she was a disciple of God. The question of holding things loosely is not just a good thought it is indicative of my relationship to Jesus Christ as a disciple.