Okay… here’s my long overdue introduction post. I started this blog back in March, but somehow Life pushed actually starting it farther into the future, while convincing me that I had to create the most clever introduction known to mankind. But, disregarding that, I’m simply going to start with the reason I’m even writing this odd-titled blog in the first place.

   When I was a little girl, my family read “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R.Tolkein, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, going on to read it on my own. My sister and I would act out sequences from the book with our babysitters. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy became an all time favorite, and I would watch them in our annual marathon every Christmas break. I loved writing down inspiration quotes as I read through the books– using them as examples or quoting them in my writing.

Anyhow, a few years ago I became less interested in the plot and excitement of the story itself, and more in the metaphors, examples, and inspirations in the story. At that point I was really struggling with stepping outside my comfort zone, and the idea of “being in the world but not of it”. During this time, God gave me the phrase, “Leaving Bag End”.

“Leaving Bag End” is the truth that made Bilbo Baggins rush out his front door, experience adventures, save 13 dwarves, start a war, gain a treasure, reconcile tribes, and come home laden with riches. It’s the same thing that shoved his nephew Frodo out of his home to gain the deadliest treasure, bear it away from the grasp of ghostly Nazgul, battle Orcs, separate from his company to enter danger alone, tame a wicked villain, and eventually save the entire world with one fatal decision. It’s the idea that in order to accomplish anything good, inspiring, life-changing, or beneficial, we must first simply venture out of our safe hobbit holes.We have to forsake the quaking fear that shackles the feet of most “hobbits”, and just step out that door.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way many times.In the past couple years, through difficult and deep relationships, dual enrollment at my local college and working at an amazing summer camp, God has gradually broken my proud fear and given me the humble fear of him that makes me put a foot out that door. Leaving Bag End is not a single event, or an occasional action: for me, God is making it a lifestyle. And it is the only way to truly live, know God, and advance his kingdom. It’s painful yet beautiful, full of defeats, victories, and fellowship with Jesus. It’s what Jesus himself did: leaving all comfort, happiness, potential, and glory, to reach out to us. And it’s what he calls us to follow him in.

So, welcome to the daily journey of leaving bag end.

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