Doing Life Together Exploring the Unknown

In Praise of the Impractical


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I don’t know that I’ll ever write a practical post again.

How-To Make Money While You Sleep

How-To Discipline Your Children

How-To Make Friends

How-To Be Creative

These make catchy titles and spark our interest, but they cannot follow through on their promise.

I don’t think God designed any aspect of life to be fit neatly into a thick paged how-to manual.

The recipes can stay in the kitchen.

The formulas are only for math class.

The easy steps and quick tips serve their purpose on the back of a microwave dinner.

We praise and promote the practical though.

We all want to know what to do and how to do it. We want it laid out in black and white, listed neatly on a piece of a paper or a blog post.

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We are attracted to practical because it gives the appearance of ease and answers and clarity.

But lately I feel like I’m wearing life like a pair of clunky high heel shoes that don’t fit right and make me walk funny or a saggy swimsuit that’s uncomfortable and embarrassing.

I keep having to stop. To readjust. I feel like I’m walking slowly trying not to trip, and constantly having to check myself in the mirror to make sure I don’t look too awkward.

Life doesn’t feel particularly comfortable right now. I lay awake at night and I no matter how I look at things I can’t make sense of what I or other people are experiencing.

Still I try everyday to bring understanding to my life. To squish my days into a frame and make it beautiful enough to hang on the wall. In fact, the more I try the more of a mess it becomes. Life hangs out rough and jagged from the frame; it looks sloppy and unworthy to be looked at, and definitely not displayed.

But what if God designed life to be impractical?

Impractical defined as: not adapted for use or action; not sensible or realistic, impossible to do

Can we all admit that we like practical people and things? We like people who can get things done, who put ideas into action, and move beyond mere theory to actual real-life. We don’t enjoy being around people who waste our time.

We’d rather not get into a project that is unrealistic, concoction of disjointed, frivolous ideas. We don’t buy things for ourselves unless they are useful in some way.

We desire our lives to be practical, but they aren’t, and so we struggle with anxiety, fear, worry, and confusion to name a few.

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We are ever-seeking to make sense of all that we experience.

We are constantly searching for answers to our problems.

We don’t naturally delight in difficulties or challenges because they slow us down, make us feel unproductive.

We aren’t about to take the backroads unless we make time for it and plan accordingly.

We drift toward the practical book titles and blog posts, just like we drift toward practicality in our lives. We want stream-lined, smooth, and intentional living.

Ugh. Just looking at my room, the past 24 hours, the past 10 years. None of it could be defined as practical. Surprising, messy, and unplanned- YES.

What if we quit pushing life into a cute frame for the wall and instead held in our hands like wiggly jello?

What if we decided to be more impractical, like wasting time on loving people and God or quietly writing or painting when no one is watching, when we could be doing more productive things like marketing or making a profit?

I’m not going to write another how-to or practical post because I’m tired of misleading myself or other into thinking that life can be rolled up and shaped into a pan.

Instead, I will fling messy words and share my ragged life to point people to the God of the impossible and the impractical and the non-sensible.

I’m going to start walking confidently in my clunky heels. I’m going to choose to wear the saggy swimsuit because stopping, slowing down, readjusting, fixing the mess, is a never-ending part of life.

God is impractical too. You know how I know? Because He chooses to waste time on me every day and before the world was created, He decided the impractical was beautiful, worthwhile, and useful.

 

What do you fear most about the impractical people and things of life? 
What underlies those fears?
What is one way you can embrace the impractical today?

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