This G.K. Chesterton quote sums up the completion of my twenties: “And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”
As a mother, I have to teach my 10-month-old son what is good/bad, right/wrong, safe/unsafe, etc. For example, I often say (and at times scream) “No!” to him when he places small or dirty objects in his mouth (he’s teething). Why? Because I love my son dearly and deeply– and I also love my son pragmatically. I care for him and I know what will hurt him, so I call him out on it.
In a similar way, God teaches us what is good/bad, right/wrong, safe/unsafe, etc…. for our spirits, for our souls. Not because God wants us to be tied down in some boring, repressed manner. On the contrary, God wants us to be set free into an exciting, abundantly fulfilling life!
As a Catholic twenty-something, I was very thirsty to know “why?,” particularly in regards to moral issues. A lot of this questioning, exploring, and discovering was my way of challenging that “rule and order” that the majority of my highly secular world deemed superfluous, narrow, closed-mind, old fashion, “too traditional” and/or “too conservative”… and even dangerous to humanity.
Yet in my personal experience, Catholicism, I found, was none of the above. Yes, it had a “rule and order,” but behind that all was God’s great LOVE for me and all of His children.
God wants the best for us, and THAT is why the “rule and order” even exists. Yes, God loves us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for us and to show us the way, the truth, and the life– not just a “rule and order,” but as a PERSON who will set us free. (His name is Jesus.)
My religion “lived out” became much more than simply a set of lived morals. As Chesterton also put it, my religion started to blossom into a “love affair.”
This is how I want to worship in my thirties: with a whole heart. One that is passionate and compassionate. A heart that is on fire for God and for others in His name.
“God, how can I love you more? How can I love others more? How can I love myself more, when I feel I am unworthy of love?” I hope to ask myself these questions more daily, so that I can mature more in my faith. I may have “sprung up” in my twenties, so to speak. But during my thirties, perhaps I should focus on growing my roots in the faith.
I so desire “good things to run wild” not only in my life, but in the lives of everyone that I know and love, and in the lives of every person that I meet. The challenge awaits.