It’s been a long day, and I came home to pass out Halloween candy already rather tired. It was one of those days were you don’t really want to be rebellious and complaining in your heart, but you are. With extra work that I haven’t yet gotten to, it is easy for me to forget what is really important.
I really like the song “Hard to Love” by Lee Brice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtFwuPnzidE). Although he sings it to whom I assume is his wife, I can easily imagine singing this to God on a day like today. When I’m not exhausted, the line where he says that his wife is “like a Sunday morning / Full of grace, and full of Jesus” usually makes me smile. I really love this song because on days were my authority issues and complaining reach critical mass, taking a step back to recognize that God hasn’t given up on me yet is a game-changer. It is so continuously mind blowing to me how much he would arrange on my behalf even though as a human, I really don’t have much to offer him. God loves us as if he needs us, but he totally doesn’t. What does that mean about love? About need in the first place? Maybe the presence of God is one of those cravings that runs so deep in us that it transcends simple definitions of “need”. I certainly think so.
When I get tired, I think less and less that other people understand what I’m going through. As humans, I don’t think we actually get to know other people all that well. In college, you meet so many people who will never become a permanent fixture in your life. Sometimes the fleeting nature of this life feels like vanity because there is no real resting place. You can’t decide who you are once or what you care about, but you constantly have to keep cycling through the same processes, and the pressure to live up to all that changes makes you inevitably pretty vain. It is really hard to break outside of oneself. You have to actually try. I am so grateful that God is mighty enough to be the sense of understanding that each of us is seeking in tandem isolation. Even if many daily interactions are somewhat shallow, humans are more like the frosting on a God-is-good cupcake. All of creation really isn’t about us. Given all that is good in this life, the vast majority is him. What a waste to miss out on all that.
What if the lives we as individuals are meant to live is not like the lives that so many of us want? What if the place that God can most use us is to reveal his goodness from the depths of suffering? What if we aren’t the ones who get pleasant company? What if investing in matters of expanding your own personal influence really isn’t for us? What if the path most traveled even among Christians isn’t what God wants for you in particular? What if you’d actually be more blessed having to work hard and being taken for granted by those around you than the fame and the fortune and whatever else everyone seems to think of as blessing? What if God needs some people to live absolutely un-glamorous lives? Would you still want that, knowing it came from God, even if it didn’t appeal to you? What if Christianity as it was meant to be in your experience was kind of repulsive, hard, and somewhat hard to understand? Would you do the work God asked of you if no one else thought it was a valuable use of your time? Would you let literally all of your pride and worldly acknowledgement come from God? If there was no status associated with ministry, would you do it?
When we say that we need God, do we mean it? Part of what is making me tired this week is feeling like I alone am carrying around this sense of “enough”. I don’t care if I get married. I don’t care if I have kids. I don’t care if I’m famous, although my ego flirts with the thought. I couldn’t buy the peace I’ve been given with anything I would ever otherwise run into, scrambling across the face of the earth. What I have in Jesus is more meaningful and valuable than anything else I will ever find on this earth. What exactly can that job, relationship, income, or prestige afford me that would be as helpful to buy? I’m looking out nearing graduation over a sea of frivolous and fleeting possibilities that pale in comparison to the peace and Holy Spirit I have inside. The glamour is worthless. Picking a direction seems shallow in comparison to all that has been freely given to me. I have nothing to prove. I could die this way.
Following Jesus is either to come to terms with how much you’ve always needed, or to give yourself permission to need all that you’d ever wanted and be surprised when those things aren’t what you expected. Out of my selfish desire to be understood, I wish more people understood being satisfied in who God is. Truth be told, I don’t even know that I want the freedom for them, I just don’t want to be alone. It’s like inviting people to church not for their salvation, but so you don’t have to walk in and out of those doors alone. Ironically, I think God can use even that blatant scrap of selfishness, because it’s true that his goodness is so much beyond even the most selfish of our intentions. Now is a good time to check my heart.