The seasons are changing— I’m glad. I sorta need it. I’m hungry for a good thunderstorm and the shiver of a brisk wind pointing me in the direction of Autumn. Mostly, I long for an outward sign marking the inward and subtle changing of seasons within—and everywhere as far as I can see. Good changes. But slow.
With the heat of summer and a life-altering trip behind me, it’s not surprising that some things have come loose and undone in my life and there’s no putting them back where they were before. Nothing major— in fact, only those closest to me and my heart could sense my frustration as I wonder what still fits and where it all leads. Right now? It’s here.
In this HERE place I’m sensing God’s question: “Am I your enough?”
And He wants….deserves… an answer.
Precariously straddling the chasm between the “already” and the “not yet”, I’m realizing with a sense of shame that while my heart and mouth may cry out “Yes Lord!”, my flesh and attitude may tell a different story. Prone to wander, Lord… I feel it.
Oh bless me and my fickle, adulterous heart.
It’s a different sort of wandering each time and fortunately, as I grow older I don’t get far before He reins me back in!
I came home from Africa with a reignited passion and sense of “what I wanna do when I grow up”— overflowing with the good things being done in His name. I just want— need— desire to be a part of that Something bigger than me. But even these desires (good and from God as they are) must be inspected more closely lest they become idols.
I’ve discovered the best way to navigate these times of frustration and uncertainty is to go back to the last, most definite place of “Yes” I know I heard from God— something I learned through the teachings of Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God, and it’s been right on the money every time.
It’s being completely present to His voice here and now.
To write these words and any others He gives me…and to speak them if I’m asked.
Living with heart, mind and eyes wide open, working cheerfully without complaint
…….. even if I don’t want to.
To seek serving HERE the way I would ANYWHERE God sends me.
It’s teaching His word to whomever He sends my way and I’m so grateful to have that privilege now. I’m facilitating Set Apart, Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s study on the Beatitudes, and it’s PERFECT because I certainly needed a “Beatitude adjustment!”
I’d forgotten how to be “Blessed”.
While preparing, I stumbled again across Mark’s account of the “Rich Young Ruler/Man” and the truth of God found here pierced my heart.
In this brief encounter, Jesus and his disciples have been traveling place to place shaking up the status quo; teaching, healing and leaving some unsettled religious folks in their wake. As they head out, this RulerMan runs in fully believing he’ll receive the affirmation and blessing he’s gotten from everyone else and will surely receive from Jesus.
He asks, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” From all outward appearances, this guy’s got it nailed. But Jesus doesn’t look on the outside, He sees the heart and what’s really going on even if no one else does. This man has NO idea Who he’s dealing with although Jesus drops the hint reminding him that only God is good.
He misses it.
Gently, Jesus answers that it’s keeping the commandments. The poor guy is so full of himself that he tells Jesus (God!) he’s kept them…ALL….since his youth. Seriously. But wow— Mark records that: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing:………”
I gotta stop.
Here’s where it got me.
Jesus looked at this poor, selfie-deluded man…..with LOVE saying— “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Take up your cross (be crucified of attachments, status, reputation, etc.)
It’s easy to camp on how this guy went away sad because he couldn’t do it. Personally, I think he was dumfounded and slightly embarrassed because he’d never considered his need before. He didn’t know how to be poor in spirit.
Me? I’m hung up on the phrase, “You lack one thing”
I’ve been there — thinking I’m on the “right” path doing the “right” things, coming expectantly before Jesus —like I’ve got what it takes to make His grade 101%. Then He looks at me with love and says,
“Sweetie, you lack one thing…”
I’ve lacked a variety of “ one things” through the years. This study is revealing how I’ve lacked being poor in spirit (humble and needy), mournful over my sins and the sins of others and how I’ve lacked meekness, often choosing “mouthiness” instead. I’ve lacked consistently hungering and thirsting after righteousness, neglecting to be merciful— which is as much about action as behavior.
People… it seems like I’ll always lack “one thing.”
Somtimes… I’m missing it.
The good news? Jesus looks at me with love, and becomes that “one thing” I lack— whatever it is. That rich man couldn’t see it…not simply because he was rich, but because, blinded by himself he only saw a “good teacher”—he couldn’t see our “Teaching God.”
Yes, God’s asking, through my desires, “Am I your enough?”
Even here, I can honestly answer, “Yes”.
No matter what I lack, He is enough.
Despite my flawed ways and fickle desires, He’s guiding me across the chasm spanning the “already” and the “not yet”. As I learn the deeper meaning and practice of these Beatitudes, I’m also receiving their deeper promises, finally beginning to understand what it means to be “Blessed”.
What’s God saying to you these days? I invite you to share.