Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life With a Capital L

My favorite bible verse is John 10:10 which states, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." 

Since college I've been fascinated by the concept that Jesus came, not just to give us eternal life in heaven, but to give us abundant life here on earth. Knowing that has enabled me to life my life so free and full, not getting bogged down by the mundane but being able to enjoy all the wonders around me both big and small.

But sometimes I get stuck. 

Bad things happen and I wonder, 'how in the world is this life abundant and full when there is so much tragedy in the world and here at home?' Sometimes I get to the end of a day and wonder, 'did I really do anything today that mattered?' I'll feel like I'm just existing, not truly living. I get caught up in the daily, the rote, the routine and I want to break out of the rut.

'Life with a capital L' has been a call to return to that abundant life, and a guidebook. 

This year I've been on a journey to understand myself more and to appreciate my humanity. I've been learning to give myself grace and freely experiencing my emotions. I've been so good at holding it all together and being strong and in control. But this year with such difficulties as we've experienced, I've learned that God is in control and that I can fall apart and He is still with me.

So I was intrigued by the book's tagline: 'Embracing your God-given Humanity.' He explains that our life is to be lavishly lived, not because of a health, wealth, prosperity gospel, but with the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is good and gives us ways to appreciate and to enjoy life (freedom, beauty, worship, love, etc).

The first part of the book focuses on reclaiming our humanity. He explains that God doesn't want us to become less human, but more so. To do this we must engage with God's original purpose for humanity, to be thinking, feeling, creative beings, reflecting His image to the world. Many Christians think that in order to become more like Christ they must strive to be more spiritual and eschew their humanity. Heard shows that Christ came to redeem humanity to it's original state in the garden and we are called to embrace our humanity and become more fully alive.

The second part of the book takes a deeper look into ten areas where the everyday life can become Life with a capital L: Freedom, Heart, Beauty, Illumination, Story, Worship, Love, Time, Brokenness, Heaven.

It's evident Heard has steeped his mind in scripture, literature, poetry and art. He is able to make his points by pulling examples from a variety of different sources. The end notes are filled with scriptures and the regulars like CS Lewis and Tolkien, but so many more. It's evident that he loves poetry and but is not so out of touch that he can't weave in modern day pop culture references to Star Trek and the Matrix. 

Taking his life changing experience of the painting by Nikolai Yaroshenko, "There is Life Everywhere," Heard is able to explain how the darkest experiences of this life cannot hide the invitation to the Life that Jesus is calling us to.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a deeper experience of life and who sometimes is frustrated wondering, 'there has got to be more than this.' I can't wait to read it again.

I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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