One of my favorite things in this life is sitting around a campfire with family or good friends. There is something about the cool or even chilly stillness of the night when darkness surrounds everything and when people choose to gather around a simple fire. There is conversation and laughter and maybe even some singing.
Looking back, I realize that almost all of my major life decisions have been made sitting by a fire and staring into the wonder of the dancing flames.
My family had a lake cabin growing up and a campfire in the woods was a nightly tradition. I learned early to be cautious around the fire. Small burns and singed hair taught me this lesson repeatedly as I grew.
Fire can be dangerous. But it can also be beautiful, a simple tool for the relational work of community building.
What I have learned along the way is that I have a fire inside my soul, a passion for relational community, truth, justice, hope, and love. A passion for God. There is a fire inside us all. That is how God created us.
Some fear the fire inside them. Others tend to their God-given fire as the gift that it is and use it to light up their hearts and the world.
I have lived too long fearing the fire inside me. I have believed a lie, fed by fear, that the passion I have for theology and Christian life issues and controversial topics will be too much for people. I have feared that if state my opinions too fiercely or too strongly that people will reject me entirely. This kind of fear is paralyzing. This fear is suffocating. I have felt like I am wrestling the lion of my passion into submission, rather than letting it roar.
I am done living this way. I will be brave. I will not fear the fire inside me. I will fan the flames and let it burn for God and the world around me that is hurting and desperately needs hope, light, and warmth.
God, please grow this fire in me as only you can. Make me brave. Help us all to recognize the flame you have put in our hearts.
Let the fire grow.