the Spirit is here

Sometimes it takes $11.08, six tacos delicious tacos, a variety of salsas, and a simple question for it to click. It didn’t happen in my attempt at meditation earlier that morning, or my reading of the gospel of Luke, or in the devotional book sitting on my coffee table. It happened at Mony’s, the little Mexican restaurant down the street from where I work.

“It” was the recognition of God’s movement in my own life: in the life that I sometimes feel confused and unsettled by: the life I want to live fully, but am not always sure how.

My friend asked me a simple question and my response was a retelling of a series of life events that has led me to this particular point in my life: a trip to Guatemala, deciding my major, studying abroad in Costa Rica, taking a trip to San Diego my senior year before graduating, …and now living in my own apartment downtown with two girlfriends.

I listened to my own life — I know that’s a quote from a book title (Parker Palmer), and I don’t mean to steal it, but I think that’s truly what happened in that moment. In between bites of chips and salsa and chicken mole tacos, I listened to my self tell a story that weaved people and places together that conveyed purpose and direction.

“I guess God knows what he’s doing with me,” I thought to myself.

But perhaps more important than God knowing what he is doing is a willingness on my part to follow wherever the spirit leads. And if I’m being honest here, I’m not always very willing. Fear gets in the way of willingness, so does pride and anger and doubt.

Wesleyans believe in something called “prevenient grace”. Over the past few years since college, I have become more appreciative of and identified myself as a Wesleyan in my theological convictions. Prevenient grace is one of my “favorites” (if you can have a theological favorite) — it means God’s extension of grace and favor is available for all of us, entering into our lives at all times and places. It’s not just for me, but is available to me should I choose it. Prevenient grace to me means that God is active and alive right now — in the coffee shop conversations, the community gatherings, the sleeping-eating-working-breathing-living day to day, the meditation practices, the shared laughter and shared tears. Prevenient grace means that God is working in the midst of us, longing for us to choose closeness with him so he can redeem us.

I see grace in my life: it invades into the crevices I am eager for it to touch, and it breathes over the places I want to hide. And this conversation over tacos — that was a significant example to me of God’s grace. It reminded me, encouraged me, prompted me, to remain close to Jesus, to listen to where the Spirit is leading, to engage with God’s ongoing process of redemption and healing.

Thanks be to God for teaching and sending grace through $11.08 tacos.

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