Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine?
How often do we get weighted down by the realities of life? Even when we’re happy and all is mostly going well, there is still grocery shopping to be done, children to be watched, businesses to run, bookkeeping to finish, bathrooms to clean, mail to be sorted, lawns to be mowed.
You know, the stuff of life.
Imagine, just for a moment, that you released all that. Imagine yourself as a citizen of heaven, freed from the bondage of “necessary” tasks, unencumbered by worry or fear. What would that look like for you?
At first, my list looked like this —
“Living as a citizen of heaven, I would:
Pause. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Read: Jane Austen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Be Free Or Die.
Experience joy in every action.
Run. I’d run. Everywhere.
Know I have a purpose. Live it.
Hold gratitude in my heart.
Smile. Laugh. Sing. Dance. Sigh.
Savor hugs from my children and husband. Appreciate that these people are mine. Understand, also, that they are not.”
It was, I thought, a good start. But then I stopped and really considered the phrase “citizens of heaven”.
Citizenship is more than living in a place. Citizenship means you belong there. Citizenship means you have all the rights afforded to people of that country, correct? But also all the responsibilities. You owe that place your allegiance.
Paul spells that out a bit: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. … Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.”
Heavenly citizenship isn’t about bonbons on the beach. (Although I do hope heaven itself includes my Earthly favorites … beaches, mountains, chocolate and ABBA.)
But living on Earth as citizens of heaven, which we are, is about spiritually connecting to all humanity, living as vessels of God’s love, being the doors through which that love passes.
If that responsibility, however, feels like a prison sentence, it’s not. That ability, to fully embrace the love God has for all humanity and to live in that love every moment, that is our joy. THAT IS HEAVEN.
“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people,” Paul wrote.
So, while I left all those other things on my list, I added these:
Feel connected to every other soul.
Listen without distraction. Respond.
Heal. Accept. Let go. Volunteer. Give. Share. Offer.
Forgive everyone everything.
Be the light.
As I’ve noted before, You’re already a star; Shine.
But our light is only useful if it brightens a path.
I’m going to focus hard his week on acting more like a citizen of heaven, starting with a toughie: “Forgive everyone everything.”
I challenge you this week to ask yourself, “How am I going to use my light?” And then please let me know how it goes.