Monday, October 5, 2015

True Life, True Love

I realized while trying to sleep last night... I can't even picture what the blog looks like anymore.

In the midst of moving and major life changes, this blog has fallen by the wayside and in the meantime I have been unsure as to whether or not to continue. In the back of my mind I think "Would anyone care anyway? It's not like you are an Ann Voskamp or Lysa TerKeurst. It's not like you have been signed to a book deal and been endorsed by the rad Jen Hatmaker."

I won't pretend none of that is true. But lately I have been questioning God seriously about purpose. He's opened my eyes to the areas in life where I lack spiritual maturity, and reassured me that He has it all in His control. While I feel like He is scrambling to find a niche for me, He has a plan. He has a place for me. He has a place for each of us and His grace is sufficient. In fact, it is all grace. Grace upon grace.

Plus, I physically feel better when I have worked things out in words.

This morning I intended to visit my own blog and remember the format and ambience once again. The funny thing is I saw this draft waiting in the wings and it's not too far off from how I am feeling. So I am posting it. It's incomplete, but I can fix that. It is my prayer that it speaks to you.

We're all a little too eager to define. Too quick on the draw to place our plastic cutout versions of self on the vehicles of life and add up the sum of our parts to create a version of ourselves that makes sense. So when we hit a bump in the road or a pop-up storm and the sticker starts to peel, fade, crumble, we stare in disbelief.

Really?

Is that all it takes?

And I've abandoned the truth of who I am in Christ for a stick version that shows one face, while I all the time fosters an ugly side, nurturing it toward independence.

I do not need to be independent.

I do not need to be co-dependent either.

But inter-dependent, that is the plan. It always has been.

And self-empowerment is a lie. The worst kind actually. The kind that smacks of truth, but skirts it because it doesn't want to step in the puddle of muddy honesty. Because truth is often simple, and almost always messy.

It is easy to say the words, to chug along life singing the "I can do it" mantra.

Until you can't.

Until your kids will not obey, no matter how you threaten and bribe.

Until you can't tie your hair into a ponytail, or open a cereal bag, or do VBS song motions, because your muscles and joints refuse to cooperate and "I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13) seems like a verse made for the truly exceptional. Not for the common struggling straggler. To those in the pit of chronic illness, pain, depression, parenthood, sinfulness, the strength isn't always as apparent and potent as we would like.

It could be the humbling that hurts the worst. Because then we admit that the standard we have set is too high (and way off base) even for ourselves.

It isn't that we can't do things, it is that we read "I can do all things" and assume the responsibility of defining "all" as, well, all. Anything. Everything. And that was never the plan. Adam needed a helper. He could do some things. He could do many things and he did them perfectly, which is more than any of us can hope for in this world. But it was still not good for him to be alone.

The temptation is to read the context of our life into the text of the scripture, instead of the other way around. Paul's situation was dire, but he was speaking of contentedness in all situations. In the face of abundance and need He found He had more than enough to sustain Him and His faith. He had Christ.

And the "all things" no longer means American Dream self-sufficiency.

Paul had Savior Sufficiency.

Then on top of that God gifted Paul with the church in Philippi to meet his needs of body and mind.

There were a lot of things Paul couldn't do, especially while sitting in prison. "All things" couldn't possibly mean self-sufficiency because he was so incredibly limited physically speaking. So you shouldn't be surprised when I say: You can't do it all. You just can't. No one can. And while that means you are limited, it also is evidence of even greater truths.

It is evidence of a God who created you uniquely and who is not content to leave you alone.

It is evidence of a servant God who wants to bestow His love on you in new and exciting ways, often through flawed and lacking people.

It is evidence that God doesn't want to put you or your life in a neat box, but wants to add depth within the mess.

It is evidence that God doesn't do cookie cutter relationships, and His interest in you is the most personal thing in your life.

It is evidence that God has prepared good works for you in the lives of others and He has a purpose tailored for you, struggles and all. And those good works are far beyond anything you can imagine.

It is evidence that you are fully known, and God seeks to meet your weakness with His strength so you can enjoy the grace and fully abundant love He has for you. He loves you so very much.