Pursue God: The Changing Chase
In high school, pursuing God meant raising my hands in praise, saying the right things, and never questioning. It meant choosing to pursue, even when saying those right things didn’t lead to discovering the right answers and when church felt far away.
In college, pursuing God meant deconstructing all I’d known, reading the right books, and breaking just enough rules. It meant choosing to pursue, as liturgy replaced charisma and faith became multifaceted. Pursuit meant processing the spiritual journey in Parisian cafes with Evangelicals, Anglicans, Catholics, and Pentecostals. It meant seeing God in each other’s experiences and learning that God is bigger than our own denominations. Pursuit meant learning to balance intellectualism with the mystery of faith.
In my twenties, pursuing God meant book clubs over Bible studies, finding God in hiking and nature rather than in sitting and pews, and grappling with the revolution of the Upside Down Kingdom - of seeing Heaven restored on Earth. It meant choosing to pursue, as the books led to more questions than answers and the road to the restoration sometimes seemed rocky and far.
Now, pursuing God still looks like bits and pieces of all those experiences. It also looks like the Jesus Storybook Bible and modeling restoration and redemption in our home. Pursuing God looks like justice through backyard gardens, Kiva loans, and Godly Play. Pursuit means choosing to find a new way to answer old questions through our actions and our finances. It means finding solutions in our church and also in our neighborhood.
Pursuing God means chatting with a toddler while multitasking devotionals, taking time to pray while kneading bread, and making thoughtful purchasing choices as an act of hope for the future. Pursuit means choosing to learn and write during nap time and seeking global peace and hope during endless two-year-old questions and unintelligible tantrums.
Listening to the quiet
Pursuing God looks like walks, dinners, babysitting, hikes, camping, play dates, and doing life with friends who are family. It looks like dropping off meals for babies and miscarriages and celebrating new jobs and mourning old ones. Pursuit means choosing to be vulnerable and honest with our community and sticking with our church even when we feel disconnected. It means meeting pastors for coffee or gin and tonics rather than sitting with discontent.
Pursuing God looks a lot quieter these days – more listening and sharing stories, less talking and sharing doctrine. It looks like stripping away labels and being open to experiencing God in all of creation and in any moment.
Pursuing God isn’t as loud or as grand as I once thought it had to be. But, in pursuing those quiet moments of grace, I find God more intertwined in my daily practices than ever before. I find redemptive moments as my thinking shifts in how I thought God had to be experienced to how I am actually experiencing God. And, I am reminded that as I continue to pursue God, God has never stopped pursuing me.
What does it mean to pursue God in all aspects of life? How do we live in such a way that every area of our lives and every facet of ourselves is available to the pursuit of God? Are we living fragmented, viewing parts of our lives as sacred and other parts as secular? What would happen if we let the different parts of our lives exist together in an integrated life, pursuing God in every aspect of who we are at work, at home, and at church? Dictionary.com offers a few definitions of the word pursue, one of which includes the idea of following in order to overtake or capture, but who can capture God? Instead, let's consider an alternate definition that lifts up the idea of following close upon or going with. In the series, Pursue God, we'll consider how to go with God in every aspect of our lives—inviting him to integrate each part of our lives and to be Lord over all.