intent : rule-breakers + legacy makers :: searching for sacrifice
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
post written in remembrance of Noah Washington Pridgen, and with thanks (for the inspiration) to Lauryn Slattery (Big) & Amanda Fields (my Mandarrrr).
have you ever felt pressured to perform?
to win that award?
get that medal?
to have your name known?
to leave a legacy?
one that lasts.
one that makes people know you made a difference.
what does your legacy look like?
is something you are proud of?
is it something you share and hope your family will pass down for generations to come?
or is it something you hold close?
is it actually your legacy- or does it belong to someone else?
i had a conversation with my grandaddy a long time ago.
the context, you see, revolves around my early childhood diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
it was after this that i knew it was my destiny to change the world.
i knew i'd been given a life (and subsequent chronic illness) to help people.
my idea, back then, was finding cures for diseases.
to treat people.
and to revolutionize our human condition.
confident little girl, wasn't i?!
what does that even mean?
i look at those words and the state of my heart, back then, and recognize those statements were driven by the desire to prevent anyone from having to endure what i endured those few months surrounding my diagnosis- and beyond.
i knew i was supposed to leave a legacy.
until my grandaddy said
"i admire your tenacity, child, but it's not your name that will be known from this."
those words changed my understanding of nearly everything.
because if i got a disease so i could help people;
if i suffered and endured,
and if, in fact, i was able to help people...
why wouldn't my name be in neon lights?
"because you are His.
and He uses us for His glory.
you are Holy because He is Holy and you are set apart because He is set apart."
i remember going back and confirming with grandaddy that no matter what i did, it wouldn't help me.
"of course it will help you, but only because your heart will know how to LOVE BIGGER.
you don't get brownie points for what you accomplish.
you're loved more than you know.
not for your accomplishments,
but because you are His.
and He is alive in you!"
i am His.
you are His.
how refreshing it is to claim that!
with our flaws.
our individual attributes.
our discernment and lack of discernment, sometimes.
with our good decisions & bad decisions.
in all of the love & fear we've encountered.
with all of this forms a legacy.
and we get the chance to be a part of it!
///this song is one that made alive, my grandaddy's message\\\
rule-breakers + both buckets
do you consider yourself a rule-breaker?
a bad mammajamma?
a Robin Hood, prince of thieves, defyer of laws, gravity and statutes for the welfare of others?
if you do and if you don't, there's a reason why.
i fall into both buckets and it usually depends on the day and topic of discussion.
i imagine the same goes for you.
both buckets is where we belong.
it sounds fancy to swim in this stream, doesn't it?
we're like the fish that swam against the current.
the lame who walked.
the blind who saw.
because we don't fit the standard.
if you've not already noticed my lowercase prose, you're asking yourself why i leave my i's, and everything else for that matter, uncapitalized.
because i break the rules in this creative safe-haven of my notepad.
just like Jesus did.
and i dare to say it's because He has
"set [me] apart from the nations to be [His],"
and to practice recognizing this, i choose little "i am", relying on The He who is I Am [Leviticus 20:26].
what are "rules" or areas where you feel set-apart?
the rules you break when you swim upstream?
perhaps these are your gifts.
and perhaps, in breaking the rules or defying the expectations of the world, this is where you are contributing to His legacy.
it's also extremely appealing to claim that we follow the rules. yes?
that we punctuate appropriately.
our grammar is on point.
we drive in the right lane and pass in the left.
that we spend countless days to play Monopoly the way it's supposed to be played.
and choose to pay for our goods instead of stealing.
i'll be honest.
the only reason this would sound appealing to me is if i got something out of following the rules.
if there was an ROI.
like- if i played monopoly like the rules say to, i'd win every single time.
or if i punctuated appropriately, people would find me credible.
[please note: i've never finished a game of monopoly because i couldn't follow the rules]
what if we re-frame it to following our hearts, instead?
to me, that's the lotto ticket.
you see, i don't resort to logic often.
i mainly feel.
intuition drives decisions.
and a soft heart that knows God fires when action needs to be taken.
this is how rule-following looks for me.
those nudges, tugs and pulls on my heart strings.
to call the friend i've not spoken to in years.
to speak to the stranger.
to do something risky, but seemingly fortuitous.
that is my version of rule-following.
how does that look for you?
do you use logic to drive your decisions?
is there fear in those decisions sometimes?
what about faith?
it's not about either/or.
we are either outlaws and rule-followers... or searching for what those look like for us.
searching for sacrifice : lent
with the season of lent approaching this week, i thought about all the ways legacies living, outlawing and rule-following could collide in my engagement in this liturgical practice called lent.
lent, for those unaware, is a time to remember the 40 days in which Jesus fasted in the Judean desert, after His baptism by John The Baptist in The River Jordan (where i had the fortune to get re-baptized, last November).
i'm not here to provide education on that.
i'm here in hopes of connecting with you on how to engage with Him during this time.
this 40 days was a time that, to me, shows Jesus in outlaw mode.
He was fully human.
and fully able to defend that temptation- because He is I Am.
i think about my weaknesses.
the things, people and motivations that drive me to act.
the approval i seek.
...and the pressure that comes from fellow christians and from articles like this, making me feel obligated to give something up during this season.
do you feel that pressure, too?
the kind that makes us buckle from an expectation we're not confident we can meet?
the kind that makes us feel like we're less good?
and the kind that makes us disengage from observing lent, and even Easter sometimes, altogether?
i did that last year.
i stopped reading my bible.
stopped observing much of anything.
i put a stake in the ground of my heart;
the place that was left gaping open from my own failed expectations of what God would do to save a relationship i was so desperate to say He saved.
the reason i'd been so desperate?
to say that God saved it.
i wanted that miracle (the one i made up and i planned and prayed for, and the one that God didn't plan or answer the way i wanted) to be a part of His legacy, like my grandaddy said i'd be.
here & now.
in the healed place of that hole that gapes open no longer,
i draw near to God.
He who delivers me.
He who provides for me.
and He who, i believe with all of me, has set us each apart.
He invites us to "lent" this year.
not for the purpose of participating with each other.
but with Him.
a dear friend has shared many resources with me in 2020 so far.
one, particular to lent, helped me pray through finding the right fast- the one that will draw me near to God- and one no one else will see.
what gives me comfort?
what is a distraction?
what is unnecessary?
what would i feel the absence of?
make a list for each.
feel that heart tug;
that "rule-following" pull.
and please encourage me to commit to this too.
in the emptiness of this sacrifice, i want so badly to draw near to God.
and for you to draw near, also.
to see what that does to my heart.
how we become, in it.
...and in that nearness, in all the badassery combined with rule-following, i am confident legacy lives.
with love + light, always,