Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Soft Rain

Like the beginning of a soft rain...I feel the gentle wet. God's truth touching my soul.

To "be", simply "be"...an instrument of Him...is about understanding His grace...abundant grace lavished upon us, even us.

Are we worthy?
Am I worthy?

Thankfully, it isn't about me or how much I can accomplish for Him. It is about Him...being available...willing...for Him to use me...when... as...He chooses.

I have lived a lifetime of striving...wanting to be good enough...sports, academics, writing, marriage, parenting...even striving to be the best friend I can be...fearing rejection...fearing failure...trying to earn acceptance, love, value...

Not surprisingly, I never measured up.My standard was illusive....just beyond my grasp...but I'd continue to try...strain...persevere.

No one can be the best at everything. What does 'being the best', mean?

In sports 'being the best' is clearly defined...medals...trophies...ribbons. I have boxes of those.

I have learned that victory,in this area is short-lived. You fight to stay on top but there are many skilled athletes...striving to achieve a better score, rank, position...just as you worked to earn the position that someone else achieved before you.

Academic success is also clearly prescribed. The first letter of the alphabet is a clear standard. A specific number is attainable...over 80...pretty good...over 90...even better. "Honour rolls" and words like "with distinction" printed on a certificate marks achievement.I worked hard to accomplish this as well.

To achieve excellence in other pursuits was more difficult. The goal became harder to define. There are not always governing bodies with clear standards for things like...career,writing, parenting,and friendships. Often, excellence in these areas are subjective. To achieve superiority,I'd pick someone I felt was 'tops'- based on their reputation or my observations.

Off I'd go...I'd hit the starting gate,running...a racehorse...trained to go 'all out'...blinders on, focussed only on the finish line.

Sometimes I'd attain it..."All-round athlete of the year",in high school...to find I'd have to do it all over again the next ...

Sometimes I failed...and the cost was high. A marriage that had no hope for success...shattered dreams, broken promises...

My standards were set by myself...others...not God.

Pursuing excellence is worthwhile...noble...admirable. However, it is important to find out "who you are", before you allow what "you do" define who you are. "Being" must come before "doing". Somewhere on my journey I let "what I do" define me. I recently heard it said that we are "human beings" not "human doings". Humorous insight...thought-provoking.

While I was "doing", God was loving. Unrecognized, His grace sustained me.He waited while I pressed on...in my strength...yearning for all God gives...longing for His peace...knowing something was missing...pressing into God but missing the truth...for years...

It's not about me. It's about Him. It isn't my works. It's His work. I am a part of that...by His abundant grace. I am His child, because of the riches of His grace.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-9

This marathon of pursuits, this striving...doesn't work in the light of His grace...His truth.

I long to learn "unforced rhythms of grace...to live freely and lightly" as Magda Wills shared from her study of the Message in Matthew 11. Those words resonate deep in my soul. I weep. Beautiful.

When I think of the power of the cross...Christ's death, His resurrection...I realize now...it is so much more than I will ever know. He lives in me and it is He who does His work as I yield to the power of Him in me. A beautiful mystery.

This is a journey...begun...

I am a work...in progress...

Like the beginning of a soft rain...I feel the gentle wet. God's truth touching my soul...

3 comments:

Belinda said...

Dear Joyful,
What a beautifully written expose of "vain pursuits" as you labeled the post.

Thank you for sharing your writing and your insight. I'm so thrilled that you are finding a greater peace than ever before. Praise God.

Susan said...

Wow. I love it. This is the third time I've read this today and I think I'll read it about a hundred more times this week.

I think I'll take a deep breath and walk a little slower tomorrow into the day...

Thanks Joyful, for the blessing of your vulnerability... The grace of the Lord Jesus shines through.

Angcat said...

I agree Joyful! with what Belinda and Susan said. The pouring out of your heart is beautiful in words and in message. Thank you, for this has touched my day and heart deeply as well. The pace is slowing, our eyes opening to His grace...it's visible.
Praise His Name.
Love Angcat