Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Are we actually allowed to enjoy it?

I don't go in for new year resolutions. I cannot recall a time when I did. I do like to reflect on what has happened over the past months as a means of spring-boarding me forward towards the next stage of my life, or at least the next project that might come my way. The past few months have been very eventful, and for the most part exceptionally enjoyable and fulfilling. Those of you that follow my exploits here will be aware of some of the events of the past year in this minister's varied life, but to precis my career over 2013 it looked something like this:

  • preaching at our little church, Windermere Community Church and trying to pastor the little flock under my care.
  • freelance outdoor instructing, including mountain walking, rock climbing, abseiling, ghyll scrambling (that's canyoning to my colonial colleagues!) and bushcraft.
  • Deer stalking. Maintaining a healthy population of Roe and Red deer on two estates, taking out an occasional client and training Gunnar, my German Wirehaired Pointer pup as a specialist deer dog. I will write some "parables of Gunnar" over the coming weeks and months all being well.
  • Bible teaching. At Capernwray Hall. This year I was involved in their "Impact" week and taught on the first 9 chapters of the book of Romans to around 50 young adults (18-25 year olds). A great time was had by all. Well, I enjoyed it.
  • Employed work at a local Tree Top Adventure company. This is a really fun day out for families and groups, or even as an individual. I was part of a tremendous team of enthusiastic instructors and managers and hope to be a part of the team this year as well.
  • Writing. Preparing to do another book this year and have recently joined the team of contributors for Our Daily Journal. This is a daily devotional for those who want to dig into the Bible a little more than just the basics. I'm very excited about this opportunity.
  • Chaplain to the local Air Training Corps. I get to play non-combatant soldier (well, airman actually) for a squadron of young people aged between 13 and 19. It is enormous fun and a great opportunity to help develop young people in all kinds of ways. I have to resist my desire to take weapons training and unfortunately am not even allowed to wear "greens" (that's camouflage or DPM to those of you not au fait with the lingo).

There is more that has been going on, including taking school assemblies as a local minister and a trip to the French Alps last September which was outstanding, but it is clear that life has been anything but mundane. 

My problem, which I am sure is not only my own, is that as a minister I am called to be about God's business; that is, preaching His word, shepherding His flock, living a life pleasing to Him, and talking to those who do not know Him in a way that will help them move towards a faith in Jesus Christ. All of this is extremely important, very burdensome and must be approached with enormous sobriety. It must not be taken lightly. Ever. And I agree with that statement entirely.

And yet I spent a very large portion of last year, in all of my different guises, laughing my head off, sometimes giddy with excitement.

Is this allowed? Is my role not far too important to laugh and joke about?

What a twit. The best way I can convince people that Christianity is real, relevant and personal, is by living life fully, as He intended. That includes enjoying the wonderful variation He has given to me, and allowing myself the freedom to be me within all those roles and situations.

I actually forgot about that for a while; for a few years actually. The "having fun" bit. Just thought I ought to write that down in case there were some of you out there who weren't allowing yourselves to enjoy your Christian life because the task is just too serious, or perhaps you have rejected all this religious nonsense because folks who are into it seem so frightfully dull all the time!

Sometimes this walk can be hard work, really hard work. Sometimes it's like this:

or this:

or this!

And we are allowed, nay commanded to enjoy it. What's not to enjoy? I have so much to be thankful for. I hope that I express my gratitude best by receiving and relishing in all His goodness to me, whether the experience is good, bad or just the ordinary day-to-day!