What gets you out of bed?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  It recently hit me that I’m often waking up to a task list.  No wonder that I’m not inspired to get going.  Breaking down projects into manageable tasks is not a bad process to meet specific goals.  However, lately the tasks on the list don’t seem to be related to any larger vision.   Even when I see where the tasks are heading, I often don’t want to go there.  That larger story is lost.

On any given day for work I’m picking up food, sending e-mails, meeting students, planning events, and even facilitating Bible studies and conversations.  On the personal side I’m exercising, reading, writing, eating with family, and doing all manner of things that are necessary to keep going in a 21st century world. Nothing bad or even onerous, but to what end?

If I’m honest, it’s often to meet the expectations of my employer, to build a comfortable life, to keep going, to be accepted. I want to tell stories others want to hear – that we’re making progress in developing a campus ministry, that I’m happy.  So I keep doing.  Doing to fill up time.  Doing to be someone.  But that someone is at times a stranger to me.

In reading through Hosea the word prostituting caught my attention.  Israel was running after other gods, yearning for acceptance from those around her.  She was prostituting herself – straying from God and from her truest self.

I see myself in this description. Even if it seems to be for good and for the church, some of the tasks I do are a form of selling myself.  Subsuming my interests and ideas to fit into the mold that I think others expect of me – whether at work or with friends.  I don’t want to say or do the wrong thing.  I do what I think is expected – and task after task I lose myself.

However, neither do I want to prostitute myself to doing my own thing. When an activity or opinion doesn’t fit with my viewpoint, I often want to walk away.  Instead of listening to what others have to say about a project, I just go ahead and do it my way. This is yet another idol.  A self doesn’t mean a lot without the community around it. In the end it has no more substance than selling myself to others.

So, getting back to the tasks.  I want to see the life behind the tasks.  For campus ministry the larger vision is to help students connect with God’s Word.  But does this mean constructing a series of programs, or something deeper that breaks from typical structures?  And there must be something more than numbers.  What about God’s redemption of the world?  The renewing of creation?  How can the ministry be a lived expression of the new clothes we are to put on as followers of Christ?  And then there is life beyond campus ministry – which would be a whole other post.

All of this leaves me with a deep desire to be ravished with God’s love and not reduce it to a set of beliefs.  To see it in meetings with students, in writing blog posts, in exploring the university, in reading great literature, in teaching.  To wake up with the longing for God’s new creation in the world today.

Now that’s something to get a person out of bed!

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