I’m a bit of a rebel at heart. It seems to come naturally – the family used to tell about when my Dad came back from the Navy to small town Euclid, Ohio, that he rode his motorcycle in a black leather jacket with a pink silk scarf. Euclid had never seen anything like it. James Dean had nothing on Dad in my mind. My dad was cool. My great-grandmother left all behind to become a stage singer in Europe. I envision her as being pretty hot in her day. Now I’m a mother, and while I’ll never drop my family to run after my dreams, I certainly would love to don my own pink silk scarf and go for a ride. I wouldn’t mind even taking a kid with me, but my houseful of firefighter men would never allow me out of the house without a fully enclosed helmet, HANS device, and Kevlar-lined leathers. And probably not on a motorcycle. Take the Windstar, Mom.
I’ve always enjoyed flirting with danger. I love motorcycles, but despise helmets. I crave the feeling of the wind in my face and the ability to be in the midst of the landscape. Somehow, in a car, you look through windows and watch the landscape pass by like a movie. It’s not real. Yes, it is undoubtedly safer, but I still much prefer to ride.
I’ve felt bees pelt my face, and taken a corner so fast and low that my knee was scraped. I learned that if you lean away from a turn, you will crash; you must not fear your situation, but lean into it. You also maintain your speed better becoming one with your machine. Just like in life. As you leave your fears in the garage and actually engage each situation, you ensure a better outcome. Life is to be lived, and that to the fullest. And that’s right where God wants me: leaning fully into every switchback while trusting Him for the outcome.
But what does that look like now that I’m a mother? It may take living on the edge to be the Proverbs 31 woman; I’m just not sure how. The Bible says the world is dangerous and I must be smart. There’s nothing in there that says I can’t ride motorcycles without a helmet and leathers, but it would still be wise to teach my children to use them. It says I need to be virtuous and know that whatever happens is according to His plan and good.
This train of thought leads me to a whole new understanding of Mark 10: “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Think about a child receiving a gift. He shreds the paper and tears the box apart. He embraces each moment for all it’s worth and has no thought for repercussions. He has complete faith that he’s taken care of at every moment. I’m a little more aware of consequences, but it’s just not me to worry about unseen dangers and try to protect against every possible risk. I have faith that most of us will make it to tomorrow. I’ve talked about the playground mothers who call, “Don’t fall too fast, dear!” I want Sonny to careen full-tilt down the Twist-n-Loop and come out headfirst and upside down. That’s leaning into life. But in the same breath, we’re not going to rudely push the timid little girls out of line so we can hoot and holler like fools down the tube. We’re going to let the lady go first, or stay at the bottom to help her up before screaming like a banshee back to the top. Therein lies the definition of manliness, as well.
And that’s what the Christian life is all about. I chafe seriously at what I see of the average Christian’s week. Go to church on Sunday, Bible Study on Wednesday night, and prayer closet every morning. Work like everybody else in between. It’s boring! I don’t consider journaling my Christian walk to be extreme blogging; there has been nothing overly dangerous or knee-threatening in it. For that matter, raising children is pretty hum-drum, as well. For the most part. I know that raising children is where I’m supposed to be right now, but I want to make sure that I’m leaning into my calling like a flattrack racer.
And then in the midst of cooking, laundry and teethbrushing reminders, I find myself wanting to run away from home. What I need to do is finish well and then take my deserved rest. I cannot change history without actually taking the time to train my children and minister to my neighbors. But somewhere in the ordinariness of the everyday, lurks Boredom. A need for adventure. A creeping, growing desire for a road trip to In-N-Out. Nothing immoral about that. I confess my moments of wishing I could just go buy a flaming fire-engine-red, Camaro convertible and drive to who knows where because it’s a lovely day and I just want to feel some wind through my ears and rumble under my bum. Even though it’s not quite the Katana I dreamed of, I could probably compromise with a convertible …. as long as it’s red and rumbles.
But I need to wait. I don’t think my youngest will be done needing me by the Autumn release of the convertible. I should probably focus for now on developing virtue: that lofty word meaning strength of character and living according to moral law; abstaining from vice. I don’t see anything in that definition, or in the whole of Scripture for that matter, that it must be boring. Quite frankly, if life’s not fun, none of us will stay for long.
So I rebel against prevailing expectations and do what I feel needs doing, when it needs doing. But how do I know the difference between perseverance against overwhelming odds and sheer stupidity? I must bring my problems before God, ask for wisdom, and then just go do it. Use the Nike principle, and as I step out in faith, I will be guided aright. And if all goes wrong, at least I’m not a rusted out yard ornament. That’s been my philosophy of homeschooling all along, anyway. I am invincible until God decides I’m finished, which not only frees me to do all He asks, but empowers me as well. And the children will follow me. But the minute I step outside of my cause, I become the rebellious woman luring the weak astray.
That would constitute the definition of sheer stupidity. I have a vested interest in accomplishing my tasks well. God calls me to lose myself in His calling, but I need to use that rebellious streak in my favor. (His favor?) I must throw myself into my career, even if it’s unpopular, and make a difference, come what may. Waiting for my opportunity to arise is rarely fruitful, and I don’t see an illustration of it in Scripture. I may be called to spend my entire day in a rocking chair holding a sick child while all other duties get dropped. Other times, I may be stepping outside my comfort zone to do something untried. I must be open to hear – and follow instantly – the voice that leads me. I must not give fear the upper hand. Worrying is sin; overcoming danger is what makes coming out the other side worthy of the end-zone victory dance. Once I’ve identified the goal put before me, risk will be there and it may take a true rebel to achieve it. But I will make no difference in life if I spend the whole game adjusting pads and studying strategy.
So I guess that makes me a rebel for Christ. I’m under authority, but I do what I do because doing otherwise wouldn’t accomplish a damn thing.