The Kairos.

Here we are again. The end of the semester. The end of the semester always begs for reflection, and especially in the midst of a year that has been so filled with change for me, reflections are especially important.

The end of last semester had brought me to my knees, clinging to God more intimately than ever before because I truly felt like He was all I had left. This was around Christmastime, and in response to feeling total absence of joy in the midst of the Advent season, I had decided to read Douglas Webster’s A Christmas Journey (hugely recommend for anyone struggling to feel joy in the midst of sorrow, even if it’s not Christmastime). Webster touches on the idea of reflection, explaining that the Bible uses two different words to describe time: chronos and kairos.

Both chronos and kairos translate to “time” but chronos and kairos have a distinct difference that makes their meanings so much richer than our language accounts for.

Chronos denotes time marked by human measure (day, hours, years, calendars, etc.) while Kairos indicates time marked only by God’s blessing.

The chronos of this semester is easy to identify. I see different months and weeks, characterized by different challenges in school, friendships, and extracurriculars. I see different sets of expectations and how I failed or succeeded to meet these expectations. Kairos comes to me more in themes. How God is so faithful to provide enough mercy for each day. How He has shown me time and time again this semester that His plans are so much more perfect and fuller than mine could ever be.
As I reflect over the last semester, my natural reaction is to focus on the chronos of the semester. And when I do that, shortcoming are first to drift into my mind. How this time passed so quickly and fell so short of the goals that I had. How I failed to achieve the grades I wanted, the perfect relationships I wanted, or whatever vapor or fleeting thing it was that I was chasing after in any given moment this semester. I realize that my chronos is worth nothing. I think a natural response to this is that I start to feel like I am worth nothing. But when I view this semester in light of kairos, I realize something eternally important: my chronos is worth NOTHING. And that is ok because His kairos is worth EVERYTHING. Which means that if I lean into His kairos, my chronos can be replaced by the fullness of His kairos.
So, Jesus, thank you for a semester full of your blessing. Thank you for every morning, sweet friendship, and great conversation that you gave. And most importantly, thank you for every time that my agenda for chronos failed. Thank you for reminders that nothing of this world, nothing of human creation, can satisfy my heart. Thank you for not allowing me to find success in attempting to fill the void in my heart with anything less than you and your kairos.
Eternity marked by God’s blessing, Kairos, lasts and lasts and lasts, but the chronos of this semester (and every single one before and after) comes and goes with the blink of an eye.
Chronos is my point of shame, while kairos leads me to the One who is my salvation.
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The apologies.

Nothing like confessing a good ole bad habit, am I right?

Well, one of my absolute worst is my habit to incessantly say “I’m sorry”. I will apologize for talking too much, for talking too little, for being late, for being early, for asking too many questions, for not asking enough… if there is anything to feel remotely guilty for at any point in human conversation, I have probably said “sorry” for it.

As would be expected, my friends are very faithful to call me out on this. I can’t decide if this is because this habit is extremely annoying or because they are worried about my self-esteem or a mix of both. No matter what, I am glad that they say something, because it’s made me aware of how much I apologize.

One of my closest friends made me vow to never say the words “I am sorry” around him, which has helped, but it wasn’t until this morning that the Lord really hit me in the guts about abandoning this habit.

My morning devotional was Psalm 51:5-9:

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in the secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity”

What do we gather from this passage? Well, first of all, that I am innately sinful. That’s a fact. Sin is separation from God, the acknowledgement that our world is fully broken and wrecked by death, and that was written in my DNA from the first perceivable moment of life. We are also reminded that being sinful is not how things are supposed to be, because we are told that you (God) desire faithfulness and teach wisdom. Furthermore, this God that we serve has the capability to blot out all my iniquity and cleanse me and make me whiter than snow and make my sorrow turn into gladness. Hallelujah! We have hope to be rescued from our sinful state.

And how has our Father done this? We find out in the New Testament that he has done this by sending His only Son, who was perfect and without sin, to take on the death that we deserve so that we no longer have to answer to the permanent death we deserve. What freedom!!!

But what I realized is that when I continue to apologize as a result of self-doubt or self-depracation (NOT in situations where I have actually wronged someone and actually need to ask forgiveness), I am not living in this freedom. I am choosing to continue to believe only in the me that is innately wrong. I am choosing to believe that the opinions of other humans determine my righteousness. I am choosing to say that the sacrifice that was made was not enough.

Or as Tim Keller says better:

“Father, you can hide your face from my sins because you hid your face from Jesus on the cross. Yet I despise his sacrifice when I try to add to his work by beating myself up. Help me to honor you by believing in my forgiveness”

Maybe you don’t have as terrible of an apologizing habit as I do. But I think that we can all connect with this on some level. We are ashamed of our sin, and that is good conviction from the Holy Spirit. But let us not fool ourselves into thinking we can pay the price for that sin!

Lord, help me honor you by leaning into what you’ve already done for me!

What is a practical way to do this? Earlier today my dear Vivian sent me this picture. I think that it summarizes well the difference between showing gratitude versus living in shame for who we are. Instead of apologizing for brokenness, we should demonstrate gratefulness for the steadfastness and patience that others give to us, even when we may not deserve it.

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Seek to give gratitude, affirmation, and encouragement (to yourself and others) instead of continuing to harp on a debt that has already been paid for us by Jesus!

The debut.

There have been a lot of changes this year. A new tattoo, a new major, a new life path, and a new blog. Honestly, the last is the most surprising and most intimidating of the list (potentially an exaggeration but let’s be real this is scary).

But, my dear friends, Vivian and Meg, made a pact with me today in the middle of the freshmen Commons. We are to become bloggers. All three of us. So, here I am. Easily the least artistic and crafty of the bunch, but certainly not going to be the one that breaks a pact made in Commons.

Plus, my dearest Vivian made the most amazing and encouraging point in her blog (which you should go read at  https://viviansaxon.wordpress.com): everyone of us has something to say. Each voice deserves to be heard. I believe that about everyone, so as Viv stated, I should practice believing that about myself first and foremost.

So what am I going to say in this blog? That would be a good question to know if you plan on investing the time to read. Well, I have no real plan, only a very clear revelation to live off of.

Life has really thrown me some curveballs this year and changed my perspective on who I am and why I am here. And I think that is worth sharing. Because life isn’t clean and simple, but for some reason we all walk around pretending like it is. And I hate that about us, because I think that takes away from the beauty of life.

If there is anything that I have learned most clearly this year it is that the most beautiful things often come from the most broken things. Isn’t that the illustration we have been given? Isn’t that what we celebrated yesterday? The most beautiful Joy we have in this world was birthed out of the most broken, sick, and cruel moment in all of history. The more we accept the broken, the more room we allow for the Beautiful to reign! That’s why I want to share. Because I am broken, because you are broken. And I want us to embrace that so that we can journey together and one day hold hands as we walk down those beautiful, unbroken streets of gold!

So here it goes, All AP, no walls up, no questions asked. Follow at your own risk!