For the past decade, I’ve been reflecting on how much life experience, information, news, culture, sights, sounds, faces, names, voices, hurts, pain, joy, relationships with my family, and other personal and professional tasks I’ve taken on throughout the last 56 years of my life. It’s a lot! I was exhausted! Are you tired of all the input? I was and I am.
The Holy Spirit began to open my heart to a new way of life about five years ago. As I read through the book of Romans, I was captivated by the invitation to die to self. Meditating on Romans 6:1-11, I was blown away by how much this passage talks about death. Dead, death, die, died, and buried is used 15 times. Jesus’ love and sacrifice for me gives me the opportunity to live dead. Yet, I still didn’t understand the live-dead concept. God knows my limitations, so He helps me through repetition.
As I read through the book of Romans, I was captivated by the invitation to die to self.
In January 2019, I attended a Mission ConneXion Northwest conference, and the keynote speaker was missionary and author Dick Brogden. We were gifted his book Live/Dead, which I read. I read his book with an open mind because I was captivated by his life as a missionary to the Middle East. Because I was still in need of help, in November 2019, after a week of onboarding classes with Kelly Sandford at Africa Inland Mission (AIM) headquarters, they gave the mission candidates the Live/Dead journal, and it began to make sense.
The questions I had were simple: “What, LORD? and How LORD?” It took me some time to process how to live dead, but I knew it was an invitation I could not resist. I prayed over the next few months asking God what to do and how to do it to achieve this dead living.
It took me some time to process how to live dead, but I knew it was an invitation I could not resist.
The way living dead made sense to me was to live “empty.” The posture is to live empty and let everything go each and every day. Release! The Pause App calls it “benevolent detachment.”
What was I trying to prove by carrying everything on my two shoulders anyway?
Paul talks about being poured out like a drink offering in Philippians and the result being gladness and rejoicing. I wanted that kind of life.
Jesus chose to empty Himself, which included His glory not being visible to those around Him. Accepting the narrow limitations of being human, He set aside His omniscience—His all-knowing, all-powerful, present-everywhere abilities—so that He could relate to the condition of the humans He created as part of the triune Godhead (Genesis 1:26-27).
Now, when I tell people with a big smile that I try my best to manage a marriage of 35 years, a husband with type 2 diabetes, three adult kids, one grandchild, a full-time career, caring for my aging mom, and life in general – EMPTY, I can tell they are a bit confused. How do I show up to all the things that require my presence or attention? – empty! Only through Christ is this way of life possible. It’s a daily decision that takes intentionality and lots of prayer.
“How then must we live?” asked Frances Shaeffer. The answer is EMPTY.
In pursuit of living empty, God has taught me to truly listen to the unspoken, have vision for the unseen, and live simply as a human BE-ing versus doing. Granted, I do a lot, however, the blessing is that because I don’t carry all the burdens and worries of life, I can take on more and I get the joy of casting it all at the feet of Jesus (1 Peter 5:7).