If you asked me what I was about, that’s what I would tell you. I don’t always live up to these values, but I seek to live out of them.
The values help me to live out the core purpose of my life: to be a committed and passionate disciple of Jesus Christ.
Availability is about being available to God and to others. I make myself available to God in prayer, intercession, mission. I make myself available to others to share life and to share Christ.
Vulnerability is about being teachable, living in touch with my own humanity and wounds, and opening my heart and life to God and others in such a way as I’m accessible, and that hopefully God’s presence is accessible in and through.
Creativity is about expressing the ‘me’ God has made and is making, through all sorts of pursuits, whether it’s art, music, poetry, preaching, making stuff or creating ideas, ways forward, leading, strategising or ‘inspiring’. We are creations of a Creator who are invited to continue re-creating!
Authenticity, for me, is about being true to Christ, true to myself and open to others…refusing and resisting the temptation to mask up, close down, play a part or be squeezed into corners.
I’ve been living with these friends for some years, two in particular (availability and vulnerability) are part of a new monastic vow I keep with my brothers and sisters in the Northumbria Community. Creativity and Authenticity appear in that rule too, but more subtly than I’d like….they’re as important to me as Availability and Vulnerability.
These are not boxes, but springboards into life. They’re not limits, but they do frame the outcome of some decisions. They are not fixed, but flow through life with me into each season and as life changes. And, they are my way of trying to understand who God made Andrew Clark to be. They’re only ever partly realised, and are aspirational. However, I work on these things through the discipling of prayer, learning, study, reflection and action.
Basically, I prefer not to leave my own discipleship to chance. I firmly believe that we have to be intentional disciples – knowing whose we are and what we’re about. I don’t want to waste this one precious life and I want it to count for eternity, and for God’s Kingdom. Many of my years were shaped by my Salvation Army soldier and officer’s covenants, too, and much of that charism – that spirit, if you like – is an integral part too.
It is my favourite poet, Mary Oliver, in a lovely one-liner, who asks
And what will you do with your one wild and precious life?
Great question Mary. But she wasn’t the first to ask it. That first asking was by the God who called and saved me for his purposes. The wild God stands before us and questions us in the same way. You don’t have to have it all neatly constructed like I have…that just helps me.
But have you allowed the question to be asked of you?
Are you still moving towards him in deeper relationship and intimacy?
Do you know what God has made you for?
And, more importantly, have you submitted it all to him again and again?
If I can every be any help in assisting you to work through these questions, never hesitate to ask. But, seek after God’s purposes for your life – walk in them.