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A Fresh Start Amid Chaos

May 10, 2010

Is this thing still on?

I hadn’t posted in more than two months and was flirting with shutting down this thing. Then I read Joan Ball’s book, “Flirting with Faith: My Spiritual Journey from Atheism in a Faith-Filled Life.” I am encouraged by her story and others like it. Any radical change of heart captures my imagination. Like:

  • Saul’s transformation from Christian killer to flaming evangelist on the road to Damascus.
  • Ex-reporter Lee Strobel’s journey from atheism to faith after investigating Christian claims and finding them persuasive.
  • Brian “Head” Welch ditching the metal group Korn and a host of self-destructive habits upon following Christ.

Much of Joan’s life parallels mine, from having a firefighter father to her love of writing. Most of all, I identify with her drive to grow spiritually.

When I first heard she would be publishing her story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I had been reading her Beliefnet.com blog for a while and only knew snippets of her story. The book, her first, filled in all the gaps — and much more. It’s a terrific read that conveys, in moving detail, the costs and rewards of an authentic Christian life.

After her startling 180-degree turn on an ordinary Sunday morning in 2003, nothing is ever the same. Faith provides new lens through which to interpret her past and a moral compass for moving forward. Though radical changes ensue, her faith holds fast through career changes, illness, betrayal, and more.

She knows little of Christianity’s history or the current landscape of the faith. But she credits the Holy Spirit with helping her get up to speed and, like a divine switchboard operator, helping her make serendipitous, lasting connections with others.

The final chapter, which deals with perfectionism, particularly hit home. It opens with Joan doing something I’ve done about a thousand times: standing in my closet knee-deep in my own “stew of shoes” — cranky that I can’t find the footwear I want, but mostly exasperated that I can’t will my life to be more orderly. More… perfect.

My shoe stew

“The foe was this,” she writes. “There was and always would be a chasm between what I hope to do and what I actually do. No matter how devoted I am to this new life, I am never going to be perfect, and sometimes, even though I know it is not right, that really sets me off.”

I like where she ends up and can’t wait to get hold of her next book.

Till then, will I keep letting perfectionism (disguised as “too busy,” “too disorganized,” “don’t have anything to say,” etc. ) prevent me from blogging? Or finishing that short story? Or developing a long-term interest in photography?

Will I find a way to start fresh amid life’s chaos? We’ll see.

After finishing Joan’s book, I found additional inspiration in a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick of Charlotte’s Elevation Church.

Most dreams die, he said. But they don’t have to.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 10:16 pm

    Great to see you blogging again. Bev. Hope this is the first of many more!

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