Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm making plans to waste my life on You.
"Breaking Down," John Mark McMillan

The above is currently one of my favorite lyrics. I like to listen to that song as soon as I get up to start my blood pumping and my heart beating toward eternity. There's not enough dignity to keep me away from You.

Recently, however, there has been a change in morning routine, one than I agonize over and lament and abhor. It brings me such grief because I know the cause: Christmas.

Christmas is an incredible season, as illustrated by the fact that my mother sent me candied almonds by post. I am munching the nuts happily (or merrily, as the case may be) as I type this entry. Even better, advent and the observation of the Incarnation bring the person of Jesus to the forefront of countless minds. There's a spring to the steps of the mobs of shoppers; exiting the grocery store, one is followed by cries of, "Merry Christmas!"

Living in this culture--the internship, accountability, discipleship culture--adds another dynamic to the season: Christmas break. Christmas break in theFurnace is different from Christmas break in school. In school, break is a welcome respite from intellectual overload and the bearing of burdensome packs, a time to reflect and celebrate, to see loved ones and rejoice in the great Lover. In theFurnace, break can easily become the altar on which we sacrifice momentum and discipline to engage in revelry.

After a whirlwind of prayer meetings, hours in the prayer room, and weekly accountability meetings, we find ourselves suddenly--if temporarily--stranded to navigate the spiritual waters on our own. The people we are paying to hold us to our daily commitments are out of town drinking eggnog, and we are left to ourselves. Too often, we disappoint.

I experienced roughly a month of sleeplessness and illness that only just ended before break began. In the week since sesmester's end, I have been dogged by an instinct I rarely face: to sleep and sleep and sleep. I crash for hours as my body attempts to recover from the strain it has been through of late, and when I awake, I power through the tasks I need to accomplish, only to crash once again.

God times have been sparse.

It dawned on me today, "I am setting myself up to go to my first accountability of the year and say, in typical fashion, 'I didn't do well on break.'"

That is unacceptable. Am I not on break to remember the massive King who chose inexpressable humility that I might know Him? He is worth more than this.

Though my holidays are sure to include cups of cocoa, snow angels (if this bipolar city sees any precipitation), and the consumption of many more candied almonds, I am still on mission. The call still stands. "Draw near to God."

How will you stay steady through the break?