By Bethany Mahan
How does one live out a counter-culture in their every day mundane?
My grateful list for the day:
-Im grateful for having to wait for the good stuff
-The maddening experience of not being in control, especially when I long to know whether or not good things are coming, because it might not feel like its happening.
-Having to work out my faith…daily
-Im grateful for my deficits. What I experience as definite flaws, are seen by God as opportunities for beauty and transformation.
-Im grateful that my three year old is needy. Shes my constant reminder this universe is not made for me, myself, or I.
-Im grateful I struggle with ADD (oh boy, do I ever!).
-Im grateful that I still have imperfect skin (even after all this freakin time!). Its a reminder that my ultimate beauty comes from the inside out anyways.
-Im grateful that I dont own much, it just clutters up my life, and I hate dusting.
-Im really grateful that I have everything I might need.
-Im extremely grateful that I even have to do things like dirty laundry and dirty dishes. I own those things…and I have a home to put them away in, with cupboards and closets and drawers.
-Im very grateful I sleep in a bed every night, and not just a patch of pavement or grass.
And last but not least, Im deeply grateful for having asked to live in a counter culture and got what I asked for. You and I know it as the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. Its right here, right now, being lived out by those who have specifically requested the unveiling of their own authentic hearts, desires, and dreams. All that other stuff which is so seemingly forced onto us by the world, and somehow so important at the moment, will gladly become meaningless, empty, and, just so incredibly boring. I guess you could say that Ive been wrecked for the ordinary.
I know a few things about myself. I know (and boy do I know) that the corner office on the top floor isnt all its cracked up to be. The perks that come with this ordinary sort of life, in my opinion, happen to be one of the biggest soul-killers out there. You think youve arrived…then BAM, you forget about your authentic self and unfiltered dreams, and live out a life untouched by truth or hope, and sculpted with a lot of shoulds. True selves sadly die every day, and many times they are sold to the highest bidder. I live by the absolute confidence I am participating in something much bigger than myself, and gratefully, the role I live out is imperative. I am needed, there is no aimless wandering. I am not alone and neither are you.
This adventure doesnt typically occur in a presto-type-fashion. No drive-thru orders taken here. Authentic living and transparency take time, deliberate actions, and typically some sort of undesirable pain. Such purposeful requests for truth bring about danger, beauty, and best of all the needed adventure a soul requires for vibrant living. As Shane Claiborne wrote in his book Irresistible Revolution, if you dont know what vision youre meant to be a part of, ask God to show you who to love. Something will happen, and youll discover a passion and love for a person, or group of people showing up out of no where (paraphrased).
In closing Im leaving you with several challenges:
#1 Write out a grateful list three times in the next seven days.
#2 Ask God for your true hearts uncovering.
#3 Request wondrous awe and radical amazement.
#4 Allow God.
For those of you ready to live, I mean, truly, gratefully live, you are not alone. Heck, lets get going! And to those who want goodness on your terms or to experience change the way you see fit, and in definable terms, pray for your heart to grow weary and empty. When you finally tire of working so hard, for so little in return (because it really is lonely at the top), youll be able to receive the goodness thats been patiently waiting for you.
Bethany Mahan is from Spokane, Washington and the pictures were taken in and around the greater downtown area of the city. She works at Cup of Cool Water, a homeless youth ministry in the hub of downtown Spokane. “Cup”, as it’s lovingly referred to, is funded solely on faith.