Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Enough is enough.

I try so hard, spend so much effort, trying to prove that I'm enough for this work here in Dublin.  Strong enough.  Smart enough.  Spiritual enough.  Compassionate enough.  Perceptive enough.  Praying enough.  Open enough.  All so that I can love enough.  Witness enough.  Be enough.  Do enough. 

But no matter what I do, it's never enough.  Success through enough is impossible.

Luckily, God doesn't call me to be enough.  He doesn't even call me to be successful.  He calls me to be faithful.  He calls me to love.  "Since God so loved us, so we ought to love one another; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (1 John 4:11-12).

At the not-so-recent IBI retreat, we talked about faith, hope, and love.  During the last session, we looked at the impact vulnerability has on our capacity to love.  Not just any vulnerability either.  The "it might rain outside, but I'm gonna chance it and not take a jacket" kind of vulnerability won't cut it here.  We're talking about the "I know a hurricane is coming, but I'm gonna go stand on the beach and left my arms to heaven" kind of vulnerability.  The kind of vulnerability that leaves you totally exposed.  Totally helpless. Totally dependent.  We're talking about excruciating vulnerability.

Excruciating vulnerability means embracing all the things I've been trying so hard to fight with enough.  I embrace weakness instead of strength.  Not knowing instead of wisdom.  Failure instead of success.  Confusion instead of perception.  I embrace embarrassment.  Pain.  Loneliness.  Misunderstanding.  I embrace everything that brings fear.  A complete upheaval of my self.  Excruciating vulnerability allows God's "perfect love to cast out fear."  His "love is perfected within me, so that I may have confidence... for as he is, so also am I" (1 John 4:17-18).

He doesn't call me to be perfect.  He calls me to have confidence in His perfection within me.  He doesn't call me to be enough.  He calls me to abide in Him.  I don't know how to do that.  I don't know how to quit trying and just love.  But He is a patient Teacher.  And my heart will learn.

Note: Jars of Clay's song Faith Enough highlights how God uses our weakness to show His love and faithfulness.  It's pretty-much-literally-exactly what I'm trying to say here...  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hope: Round Two

A few months ago, I wrote this post on the things I hope for.  But after the IBI retreat, and a slightly-too-close-to-home assignment on "singleness", it seems that there is more to be said about the nature of my hope. 

"What do you hope for?"  That was the question we were asked.  It wasn't hard to come up with lots of answers.  They range from completely superfluous to completely genuine.

I hope that...
*the Rangers win the World Series this year.
*I can go home for Christmas.
*Mooly and Daddy come visit me in Dublin.
*I eventually run into Liam McAwesome.
*my wings stay as strong as my roots are deep.
*I can let go of myself and surrender everything to Christ... for real.
*God is proud of me.
*my Daddy is proud of me.
*when people look at me, they see Jesus.
*my work and my passion will always have something in common.
*I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
*I won't always be so far away from Home.
*and so on...

(Several of my "hopes" had something to do with Sonic Happy Hour and/or Mexican food.  They were too ridiculous to properly mention.)

Family.  Faith.  Future.  Health.  Happiness.  Love.  Success.  It all went through my mind.  Then I found it.  The core of what I hope for.  The one thing that I want most: To know and be known by my Creator.  To be of one mind and one heart with Yahweh.  To pursue Him as passionately as He pursues me. 

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  --Romans 5:2