By: Lisa Keinert
Having been brought to the Edge and peered over, I never want to come back to the safe, the comfortable; conformity, the monotonous patterned life, controlled by routine.
Because the view off the Edge is incredible. It’s dynamic, always changing, inspiring, invigorating. It is breathing in to the depths of one’s diaphragm, soul-penetrating. It is thirst-quenching, and it is stilling—to the endlessly chattering mind.
What did I come away from Altea, from the Edge with? So many treasures: thriving in community and celebrating creative expression, uniqueness of talents, and the commonality of humanity. A brief taste of the fullness of joy and contentment that there is when you slow down enough to be still and rest in His presence. In the presence of the Lord, have I found peace incomparable. Lesson learned, of holding all of my plans loosely. For my plans, schedules, and time— to be held in open palms; open to the will of the creator, rather than fists clenched tight in attempted control. The remembrance that God is satisfied in who I am, rather than what I do in an effort to attain success. To sever this thick rope of striving, wrought carefully year upon year, this triple-braided chord of self-effort. To boldly live by Faith, as Dennis defined: “Faith is not having no fear, but moving forward even when you have that fear.” During my time with the Edge, tumultuous minds thoughts were quieted. Peace. Seeping in cracks, soaking in the skin…letting Jesus in, resting, and simply being.
Leaving Altea, I had reflected on all that I had gained from the experience. From my journal: “My goal is to retain this treasure as a captured jewel I possess that glows from within me and shines out. A miraculous aroma of something fantastic yet peaceful, that people cannot help but sense. That I might exude the sweet scent of the Holy Spirit seeping out of me.”
It has now been four months since my journey with Edge. So, “Now What?” (to echo the challenge my pastor poses to conclude each message on Sunday mornings). How do I retain these revelations, these unexpected lessons my great teacher taught me during this pilgrimage? How do I circumvent the regression toward the mean, the reversion to mediocrity?
Accept that you will trip along the road. You will forget, but then, you will get back up again. You set up “stones of remembrance,” (Ebenezer Stones). Remember with intention what God has done. “Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried.” (Ann Voscamp) “Gratitude is the memory of the heart” (Jean Baptiste Massieu). And perhaps, gain insight into the meaning what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.”
You can seek to be spirit-minded, meditating on the wonders of Christ on a moment-by-moment basis. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You can set apart intentional pauses in the chaos of everyday life, prioritizing quality time with the greatest lover your soul. Did He not promise, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). We have the Holy Spirit—the gift that we have access to at any time. It is our heavenly umbilical cord so to speak, delivering that spiritual sustenance we need, our daily bread.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I am reminded. You can always live with this Joy. The kind that is not circumstance-dependent, but spiritually developed. God is good, God is in life, and life is good! So keep fighting to be not just looking, but always seeing this view…the view off “the Edge.” It is wrapped in daily little gifts. The smell of cinnamon rolls, coffee’s aroma dancing to its crackling soundtrack, upward toward my nose. The abandoned delight in the smile of a baby, experiencing all that is in this world for the first time. The last sliver of sun before it is swallowed into the horizon, soft knead of cat paws on my lap, feeling of safety from being completely enfolded—contained in the arms of the one who loves you.
Again, four months later, I find that once busy-choked spirit, now washed anew in streams of refreshing contentment. Ann Voscamp states, “Stress can be an addiction and worry can be our lunge for control and we forget the answer to this moment is always yes because of Christ.” Heart, full, awakened, to see beauty- in all that God has made. In every moment he has commanded a new breath to rise in my chest. To accept it all, to trust, and in return the gift of gratitude, settling sweetly upon me as a blanket on a cold winter’s night.
Each journey traveled leaves behind the gift of a story, meant to be told—a chapter in the greater story, God’s story.