I have never really liked surprises. Don’t tell my mom but one year my sister and I unwrapped and re-wrapped all our gifts. I have to admit, we ruined Christmas both for us and for my mom and dad who were robbed of seeing our surprise.
In response to my post “Releasing Creativity”, my friend Tom Mitchell shared the following quote from Walter Brueggeman, “Our penchant for control and predictability, our commitment to quantity, our pursuit of stability and security – all this gives us a sense of priority and an agenda that is concerned to reduce the element of surprise and newness in our lives. And when newness and surprise fail, there is not likely to be graciousness, healing or joy. Enough critics have made the point that when experiences of newness are silenced in our lives, there is no amazement, and where there is no amazement, there cannot be the full coming to health, wholeness and maturity.”(Walter Brueggeman, Living Toward a Vision, (New York: United Church Press, 1987)
As I move from Wendy McCaig, Executive Director, to Wendy McCaig, author, I feel like I have embarked on a whole new adventure. Even in Embrace Richmond’s unpredictable nature, it has become “normal” for me. As I contemplate book signings, speaking engagements, traveling, and promotion around my book, there is a real sense of fear of the unknown that lies ahead.
My book has been in print for exactly one week and in the past week, I have had many surprises. I have gotten emails from friends I have not spoken with in decades congratulating me on my book. My facebook friends have cheered me on and I have found such joy in getting early comments from those who have read the book already. However not all the surprises are pleasant, like the fact that the book is listed on amazon for the wrong price, and the fact that it is taking 2 weeks to get my first shipment of books.
I think what I gleaned from the quote that Tom shared is that it is all part of the deal. When we go on an adventure with God we get both the good and the bad “surprises”, but it is only when we are open to surprise that we open ourselves up to moments of joy that are always a surprise. I think that moment for me came this week when I showed my daughter the cover of the book which is a picture of my friend Yolanda that my daughter took and her name credited on the back of the cover. Her surprised face and ultimate smile were priceless. I wonder if God gets a kick out of surprising His children as much as we human parents do?
Leaving the comfort of what we know and venturing into uncharted waters is never easy. I find that every time I start to get comfortable, God calls me out on a whole new adventure. I know many of you are in seasons of discernment. I think the Brueggeman quote shared by my friend Tom is for all of us whose lives are being shaken and stirred right now.
What do you think of this quote? Have you found it to be true in your life? What would you say to those of us who are preparing to set out on a new adventure? How have you been surprised by God lately?
May we all be open to surprises and experience the joy, healing and amazement that await us.