If you’ve been following my life over these last 2 weeks/hung out with me at all/had a conversation lasting more than about 7 seconds, you will know…. It’s two days to my essay deadline.
That’s two days.
2880 minutes. I think. (Maths was never my strong point…)
Yeah, I know, I’m like a stuck record. I’ve only been mentioning it about a catrillion times in the hope that saying the words out loud will cause some kind of cosmic shift to occur that enables me to awaken from a deep sleep and find my essay magically and perfectly written on my desk in front of me.
Which has sadly not happened.
And I am learning that I can be the world’s biggest procrastinator.
The thing is, we’ve all been there. You have an urgent deadline for that essay/tender/business plan/dissertation, and yet you are suddenly and inexplicably filled with an overwhelming and uncontrollable urge to clean the house/wash the dog/organise the filing/anything BUT write said essay/tender/business plan/dissertation.
Only… I really want to write this essay. I really do. Not just because I hands-down win the title of ‘World’s Biggest Super Nerd’, but because I love, love, LOVE the topic that I am writing about. It is relevant and challenging and filled with the stunning truth of God’s most awesome-and-magnificent heart for the world, and this city that I love so much.
And here’s the but…
Life here is filled with distractions.
And please don’t understand me. These are not bad, unwanted distractions. They are wonderful, very-much-wanted-distractions.
Which is the problem.
Like when my Japanese-Mum wants to teach me how to make her legendary beef stew… I want to do that with her and give her quality, undistracted time. When my friend has so many questions about the Bible that our one hour coffee turns into four… That’s some precious, beautiful moments. And when the 5 year old from next door comes and knocks on my study window and says in Japanese something that translates as ‘Big sister, will you please come and eat yakisoba with me?’, my heart melts into a pile of mush that pretty much means he could ask me for a million yen and I would give it to him.
Because I love people.
Quality time with people.
Pouring time and love and energy into people out of the overflow of the time and love and energy that Jesus has first poured into me.
So, this week I’ve had to make some difficult calls about what is really distraction. And what is really procrastination. And what is actually just the real reason that I’m really here.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my studies. I want to do my best in them and honour God through them and learn everything I possibily can for life and ministry and application.
But I also want to remember that the reason for this whole deal is a life lived trying to figure out what it looks like to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and love my neighbour as myself. And that means that (within procrastinating reason) time with people has to be where this whole theology thing gets lived out. In real time.
I guess that’s actually the conclusion that this whole urban theology paper is taking me too.
There are a couple of points coming out of all of my reading and interviews and wrestling with texts.
The first one is about hope. About being a prophet of beauty. About believing, really believing that the Gospel beautifies. And about knowing that this kind of mentality has to be rooted from the place of prayer. The second one is about community. Real community. About spiritual giftings that are not just for the church but for the world. About the Holy Spirit liberating us to dream dreams and imagine His reality.
To quote Gutierrez:
Love of neighbour is an essential component of Christian existence. But while I consider my neighbour the ‘near’ one, the one I find on my way, the one who comes ot me asking for help, my world remains the same… If, on the contrary, I consider my neighbour the one to whom I move… the ‘far away’ neighbour in the streets… then my world changes.
Now, that being said. I do have to finish this essay. I have 10,000 words to edit down to the required word limit and a whole lot of garbage to get rid of.
So I’m going to leave you with a few of my procrastinating highlights of the last few days… Otherwise known as beautiful time well spent with beautiful people who I love so much.
1. A Sunday afternoon and evening spent with some of my precious church family.
2. A delivery of tea that obviously HAD to be tested and tried.
3. A lunch-date with a future heart-breaker!!
4. A breakfast that should take 30 minutes turning into a two hour conversation about life and hopes and heartbreak.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you friends.
Your prayers are SO appreciated! Love you all.