the sermon on sunday at church talked about despair that comes about when we worship anything other than God. and there i was, wearing my brightly colored sweater, sinking into a dark despair. i had felt it creep in these last few weeks after i became physically unable to keep up with our busy schedule. i have been sprinting, sprinting, sprinting, ever since penelope was born. i know that because i have always wanted to go back to "before penelope"when it wasn't busy (except i'd want penelope there, even in these fantasies of pre-penelope days).
that might not make sense to you.
but for me it makes perfect sense. somehow, 18 months ago, i stopped saying no and started saying yes to everything. i would think, it's good to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of others. that's in the bible after all. and i'm helping people. who will do all of this if i don't?
and that's where it got gross. a nasty little bud growing in my heart saying that God needs me.
the God who came to serve and NOT TO BE SERVED, needs me.
the God who is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives life and breath and everything... needs me right? to do his work! there's a lot to be done, God!
and so there i sat in church on sunday listening to the same sermon they preach every sunday, to flee from idols. and i wanted to cry. under my bright sweater, i had a whole jacket full of little idols i worshipped. the god of self sufficiency. the god of being needed. the god of busyness, to the point where i don't know who i am if i'm not doing something for others and for God.
who am i if i am not needed like that?
and so for a month now i've been learning how to rest. we've been learning, me and nato. we don't know how to rest. it sounds so silly to say that out loud. but i'm looking at nato and he's looking at me and we're thinking, how'd we get here and what in the world do we do with us?
it's very awkward to cry in a restaurant and say that across a table to your best friend.
i'm having a hard time knowing who i am right now.
as i've asked myself about my value, i have been weary with despair. weary even in my resting because i am now stuck looking at myself asking God where my value is. i have heard lies and listened to them. i believed them whole heartedly and have let them wash over me every night as i try to go to sleep.
and truly, i am in the dark. alone. it's just me and God and i have nothing to bring him but a bag of trash.
God will you love me even though this is all i have to offer you?
i am asking, are you good?
this is what it is to be human and in need of a savior. to be at the end of oneself, at the bottom with no place to look but up.
and seeing what i have to offer God-- this trash-- presents to me an immense amount of hope.
praise God that it is not on my own merit that he saved me. praise God that he sees me through the lens of the blood of Jesus Christ. my sister, audrey, said it best. praise God that my identity is not in how good of a mother i am.
yes, i thought. or wife. or friend. or daughter. or sister. or employee. or artist. or whatever.
i am perfect when He sees me. and the truth is, that i have nothing to bring to God.
BUT He has everything to bring to me.
life. and freedom. burdens lifted.
and it feels like relief, but it looks like light shooting into the darkness where i've lived for so long.
the opposite of despair is actually death. death to working to make myself right before God. death to being needed by God to do anything for Him. death to living for others and death to idols that pretend to offer freedom but enslave me.
believe with me that God does not need you. believe that you need God. you need him in the worst way. believe today that you are nothing apart from Him! everything that you have built to give yourself a name...everything that you have done to make people believe a certain way about you. your reputation is nothing when holiness shines on it.
it's very freeing to be nothing without God.
when we see the greatness of our sin, we see the greatness of our need for the cross. and although it is tempting for us to wallow in shame, God made it so that there is no condemnation in christ. the cross bears it for us. he died for you and me in the heaps of trash we live in.
the gospel is real.
and it offers real rest.
i feel like i can breath again.