The Variable Life: Process

I often find myself returning to a few themes which have become more valuable and tangible in the past few years of my life. Lessons emerge and vision refreshed. Scattered amidst the unexpected, roller-coaster twists and pleasant surprises lie seasons of more consistency or relative stability. But even these stretches vary in nature and length. Of course, there are less than desirable conflicts and obligations, but I really can’t complain much. The overriding process is rather enjoyable.

This is the variable life.

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The variable life emerges in one’s willingness not just to endure the throes of life, but embracing the richness of variation as adventure. I firmly believe that as humans seeking purpose, we find it in aligning our personal story with God’s narrative. Our passions and abilities are designed to feed into a vibrant community of grace and truth. Conflicts are meant to be faced alongside fellow warriors and supporters. Victories, reveling with sisters and brothers.

As adventurers in everyday life, we can take up even challenges which formerly appeared to be mundane or pointless. The way in which we focus our vision trains us to live more deeply on the path we tread. I recently read “Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick, in which he provides a number of inspiring stories and insights about living with audacious faith and asking God to do the impossible, to work miracles and display his faithfulness and power. One of my favorite parts of the book reminds us of the necessity of facing the routine with elevated hope:

“Between the promise and the payoff, there’s always a process.”

The process serves to soak into our core the lessons that we must learn. Without the process, character isn’t built, endurance isn’t tested. We would be hollow, unchallenged and atrophied. When process is absent, relationships aren’t given the opportunity to be proven. Shared process creates bonds of connection through facing adversity together; flourishing community is enabled by shared mission.

I’ve enjoyed the process, of late. I’ve been well provided for; a new home, new roommates, managing funds, recalling family stories with grandparents, substantial friendships, a deepening love story, encouragement in watching God provide means to fulfill a friend’s vision, more consistency in work efforts, gleaning insights from conversations and reading, and new opportunities.

Such refreshment is invigorating enough to prepare me for future battles. I’m reminded of a poem from a movie recently viewed, “The Grey“:

“Once more into the fray,

Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.

Live and die on this day,

Live and die on this day.”

This is the variable life.

And I’m learning to enjoy the process.


2 responses to “The Variable Life: Process

  1. John, really enjoyed this posting. This: (“Between the promise and the payoff, there’s always a process.”) is a great quote!

    And for the record, I hated “The Grey.” I didn’t move me. Spoiler Alert! One would think that a movie that starts off with a man on the verge of suicide would eventually turn a new leaf and have a more positive outlook on life, but in the end he is almost worse off than before-cursing God and relying on his own humanism as solace. This movie was way too much a reflection or the reality of the human condition. And that’s not why I go to the movies. I go to the movies to escape reality and I love movies that challenge me to dream of God’s oringinal plan for humaniy. Movies that highlight the imbedded needs, wants, and intrisic desires of humanity which point us back to the answer of something more (a gospel of Grace) – even when humanity doesn’t even realize this.

    Anyhow, good post though! [Insert Conan quote here]

    • Thanks for reading, Seth! Furtick’s book is full of great phrases.
      As for “The Grey,” I feel you. I had quite mixed feelings after it. The poem, I thought, was likely the strongest part of the film. Plus the contrast between the tense action and dream-state showed some much needed contrast.

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