I Do What I Want

I do what I want www.stevieswift.com

Years ago, I took a last minute trip to Iraq. It was two weeks away from my two year-old and it was traveling to a country perceived as dangerous, which made the trip selfish in the eyes of some.

In hindsight, it is easy to see God’s hand in the entire process, but in the middle, as I prepared to leave, I worried whether I was doing the right thing and acting with the right motives. 

I wanted to go.  I wanted it badly. 

I wanted to travel back to the country I last saw as a soldier. I wanted to be a part of something positive there.  I wanted to meet the people under different circumstances. I also wanted adventure.  I wanted to get on an airplane and do something exciting. I wanted to do this thing – go to this place.

I told a friend what I was feeling, how I was scared this was a selfish act, a selfish decision. He responded, “How many people do you know who ‘want’ to do this?”  

And something clicked for me.  A big something.

A life-giving, freedom-giving something.

Wanting to do a thing, wanting to be a thing, wanting to go to a place – these do not poison an action.  They are a part of every poisonous action, which is why I was confused, but wanting is not the poison.

If I am walking with God, abiding in Him, listening to the Holy Spirit – if I am ready and willing to stop when He says to stop, to go when He says to go, to stay when He says to stay – I don’t need to be afraid of my own desires.

If I am seeing Him for who He is, if I am daily giving my life to Him, I don’t need to stress, to strive, to stumble over every decision.  

For six years, I have been doing more and more of what I want to do. Mostly, I avoid doing things because I think I should. Mostly, I avoid doing things because other people think I should.  

I do what makes sense based on my circumstances, my strengths, my weaknesses. I walk closely with my God, so that my desires align with Him and I do the things I want to do.  

I am a servant, but I am a servant to a freedom-giving God. I’m not a slave to my own expectations, nor a slave to the expectations of others. I’m not a slave to God’s expectations either – I could never meet them, they’ve already been met for me, and there is new grace and mercy for me every single day. 

And for you, too.

You are free. Are you living free?

I Used To Hate Valentine's Day

I Used To Hate Valentine’s Day

February 14th was a cursed day for me.  For nearly a decade, unfortunate events befell me on this day. Every. Single. Year.  So when I volunteered for a trip from Mosul to Baghdad during my deployment to Iraq and later realized we would be flying on February 14th, I was fully convinced it would be the day of my death.  

Call me melodramatic, but I was going to be in a helicopter, in a war zone, on the day where terrible circumstances unfolded nearly every year of my adult life.  You would have been unnerved too.  Don't lie.  

Clearly I survived, but the curse was nowhere near broken.  I spent the evening of February 14th, 2008 alternating between being frozen by the winter winds of the desert whipping through the Chinook, and standing outside during multiple landings waiting to re-board the flying freezer.  We didn't make it to Baghdad either - we ended up stranded for 14 days in Taji (which actually wasn't all bad, but more stories for another time).  The point is - the day sucked - the curse survived.  

Red quote_V day.JPG

Until it didn't.

I don't know when it happened (which is unfortunate because I'm trying to craft an essay here and I could use a better segue), it just happened.  The day of hearts came and went, came and went, came and went without a single unlucky event.

And when I realized the day of love embraced me, I embraced it back.  

After all, I'm pretty into love.  Love saved me.  Love sustains me.  Love knows me wholly and embraces me fully.  Love lifts me up where I belong (sorry not sorry.) So this day I once thought would be the day I died is now a day to celebrate the reason I live.  Love is awesome, and I'm cool with a day set aside to celebrate awesome things.  I'm also cool with an excuse to eat cupcakes.