The Perfect Storm: Finding Liberty in Simplicity

I went running this morning in my shoeless shoes, pondering the fresh health I’m enjoying in my running because I’ve been liberated from the belief that the foot needs something other than itself to run well.  It’s not the point of this post, but if you’re interested, you can read about it here.

The morning offered a bed of leaves through which to run because last night there was a wind storm, the kind that makes a howling sound in our attic bedroom, the kind that strips trees of leaves, reducing them to a shadowy stick figures of their former selves.  They cling, the dead leaves do – until the wind is strong enough.  Finally, some gust wins, and they’re gone.

I ponder Jesus words about the wind of the spirit blowing wherever it wants, and realize that sometimes the wind blows hard so that the things in our life that are enslaving us, weighing us down, and filling us with anxiety, can be untethered and float away.  The wind can be painful, but it leaves spaciousness and liberty in its wake.  “What is cluttering my world?”, I ponder, as my nearly naked feet touch the forest floor.

We cling to much that is needless, and as a result are too often, like that woman in the Bible, “concerned about many things”.  Because of this we worry, we’re weary, and we’re prone to comfort ourselves by escaping from the mess we’ve made by hiding in our big and little addictions.  Sometimes we look for you to bless our messes and our complexities, when what we really need is a good storm, a good gust of Spirit wind to whirl through our souls, stripping us of illusions.  Only when the last dead leaf has been stripped away will we be truly free.  And so I pray, as I prepare for an exceptionally busy day, which kicks off the fullest of weeks, and leads into what is, for many of us, the busiest of seasons:

Blow, wind of the spirit; blow!  Strip my life of all that enslaves.  Blow through my possessions, and give me the capacity to release. Blow your wind through my shopping habits so that I don’t buy needlessly, in some vain attempt to fill a void.  Blow your wind through the use of my time, that I might not be enslaved to meaningless pursuits, that I might invest in the things that matter – loving God, loving people, sharing my gifts and celebrating Yours.  As I’m hanging on to destructive comforts, or petty bitterness, or shallow greed and fear, blow wind, blow.  Release me.

Life comes to us, and pours through us, when the wind of your spirit liberates us from all that enslaves.  Blow through my soul, blow through our church, freeing us from that which detracts from your purposes.  Blow wind, blow.  Forgive us for trying to preserve lifeless forms, when you long to free us so that new life can form.  Blow.  Blow.  Blow.  And when the wind stops, you will be there to cradle us in your love – and that will be life enough.

The wind blows friends – through loss, dead ends, illness, accidents, solitude, silence, weeping in the arms of Jesus, pouring our hearts out to God, listening for God’s voice, cleaning the office, doing the dishes, sitting with your aging parents, quiet music on a cloudy day as your read God’s words.  And when the wind does its job, you’re released, lighter, liberated – may the wind of God’s spirit blow through our souls this day, and every day.  Amen.

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • http://literaryitinerary.wordpress.com Josh Hake

    amen.

  • http://literaryitinerary.wordpress.com Josh Hake

    amen.

  • Michael

    i like the way you write like a Native. Natives sees the Spirit of the Wind just like what you wrote. Many thanks. Are you sure your not Native ? you have the eyes of a Native Brother.

  • Michael

    i like the way you write like a Native. Natives sees the Spirit of the Wind just like what you wrote. Many thanks. Are you sure your not Native ? you have the eyes of a Native Brother.

  • Douglas Ray

    Thanks Richard, I receive that.

  • http://www.christsinstrument.blogspot.com Sheila

    So good. So encouraging. Thank you, brother.

  • http://www.christsinstrument.blogspot.com Sheila

    So good. So encouraging. Thank you, brother.

  • Ruby

    This hit me hard this morning. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://seekingoutsimplicity.typepad.com/seekingoutsimplicity/ Mandy

    Beautiful imagery, Richard! I love it! Life is complicated enough trying to find balance in so many different natural areas of paradox & tension, without us complicating it even more with excess possessions and meaningless pursuits. And I love that you linked to Becoming Minimalist- I subscribe to that blog & am so often encouraged by it! Hope your busy week goes well! Thanks again for sharing God’s words to you with us! Your blog is a constant source of encouragement.

  • http://seekingoutsimplicity.typepad.com/seekingoutsimplicity/ Mandy

    Beautiful imagery, Richard! I love it! Life is complicated enough trying to find balance in so many different natural areas of paradox & tension, without us complicating it even more with excess possessions and meaningless pursuits. And I love that you linked to Becoming Minimalist- I subscribe to that blog & am so often encouraged by it! Hope your busy week goes well! Thanks again for sharing God’s words to you with us! Your blog is a constant source of encouragement.

  • Jim Boyd

    Thank you so much Lord.

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  • http://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Joshua Becker

    Beautifully written Richard. Best of luck on your week ahead and keeping possessions in their proper perspective.

    • raincitypastor

      Thanks for visiting Josh…and thanks for the shout out too!

  • http://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Joshua Becker

    Beautifully written Richard. Best of luck on your week ahead and keeping possessions in their proper perspective.

  • http://www.urbanmayberry.net Laura :)

    Beautiful!! I found you through Becoming Minimalist and what an encouraging post to start with!! Such a peaceful picture your words paint!! Thank you!!! :)

    • raincitypastor

      Thanks for visiting – and best wishes, as we journey together towards simplicity

  • http://seekingoutsimplicity.typepad.com/seekingoutsimplicity/ Mandy

    Just saw you featured on Becoming Minimalist today – :)
    http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2010/11/19/offering-encouragement-from-mile-one/

  • http://seekingoutsimplicity.typepad.com/seekingoutsimplicity/ Mandy

    Just saw you featured on Becoming Minimalist today – :)
    http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2010/11/19/offering-encouragement-from-mile-one/

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  • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

    Here from Serving Strong. This is just how God has been speaking to me. You’ve expressed it so beautifully. There’s such freedom in the stripping.

    And that’s an awesome photo!

  • http://sandraheskaking.com Sandra Heska King

    Here from Serving Strong. This is just how God has been speaking to me. You’ve expressed it so beautifully. There’s such freedom in the stripping.

    And that’s an awesome photo!

  • http://www.chasenight.net Chase Night

    Beautiful post, Richard. I’m not religious any longer, but it still warms me to know there are Christians taking the words of Jesus seriously. I was always confused in my religious community by the importance placed on living the American Dream that contrasts so sharply with Jesus’ instructions to the rich young ruler.

  • Jenny Miller

    Amen. A simple and beautiful expression.

  • http://rousingrowena.blogspot.com/ Renee Quail

    Poignantly beautiful! Keep up the good work!

  • http://rousingrowena.blogspot.com/ Renee Quail

    Poignantly beautiful! Keep up the good work!

  • Barb

    I just came across you this morning. What a beautiful comparison – God’s winds blowing away the dead leaves in our lives. I’m eager to read past posts ( and future ones) to discover who you are. May God bless you in this upcome “busy season”.

    • raincitypastor

      thanks so much for visiting, and for your encouragement. The blog’s about the thought that God is in the business of changing everything, and that we’re invited to step into the story too, becoming people who love, bless, serve, live generously, forgive, and heal. I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

  • http://www.sharonandtyler.wordpress.com Sharon

    in god’s perfect timing, we’ve had a couple of tremendous windstorms way down here in buenos aires. i usually hate the wind when i’m it, but love it when i’m inside. this post inspires me to embrace it. thanks for continuing the encouragement – i’m so thankful i can still feel a part of bcc from so far away.

  • raincitypastor

    Thanks for visiting – and best wishes, as we journey together towards simplicity

  • raincitypastor

    thanks so much for visiting, and for your encouragement. The blog’s about the thought that God is in the business of changing everything, and that we’re invited to step into the story too, becoming people who love, bless, serve, live generously, forgive, and heal. I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


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