God does things in peculiar ways much of the time. They are always the best ways, no matter how odd. He is trying to show this nearsighted and occasionally cross-eyed son how to see like a big picture person, like Him, in Spirit. My eyes are sensitive to the light, so I squint a lot. When I do, everything is a little obscured. But these squishy, jelly balls in my eye holes are what I got to work with right now.
I had a wonderful conversation in Arkansas with a man named Simon on his family’s back porch on the fourth of July. We talked about something he was learning – “It’s not what you can do, it’s who you become.” I am like most humans who want to be “effective” and feel like my presence makes a visible difference. But whether I like it or not, these seven months are an investment in what I am becoming. It is the most ferociously humbling thing. To be continuously poured into, while feeling like the output isn’t there.
Truth is, I feel useless most of the time because I don’t have gifts that I can willing use. People sometimes ask the three of us, “What can you do?” We go down the line listing our spiritual gifts and when it comes to me, I’m just like, “Uhhhh…. I’m still trying to figure that out.” People just give me an unsympathetic smile and they move on. I can almost hear their next thought, “What? I thought you were an evangelistic missionary sharing the gospel everywhere you go?” I know they mean well, but I end up feeling like a spiritual paraplegic. Like I am disabled because I can’t do the things I wish I could.
“I’ve confused patience as a lack of will and activity as purpose.” // Bob Goff
It is incredibly humbling to meet and befriend the most amazing people from all over that have lovingly invested in me. Conversations on back porches, shorelines, city streets, anywhere and everywhere, the locations change, but the love doesn’t. The best way to love people is to be the self God placed inside you. It’s also the way to tell if you are loving people well – they have the freedom to be themselves around you. Their wonderful, messy selves.
I am honored to have shared some air with them. But I must confess, I feel my lungs are a let down. I take in deep breaths of fresh air from these wonderful brothers and sister, but what I exhale – what comes out from me – is just enough to steam up the glass where I try to write in the warmth before it vaporizes. Before I finish writing my thought for them – my contribution – it vanishes. Like smoke in the wind.
I am not qualified to be here. We have met numerous people who would be far more “capable” at ministry. Those who are operating in the Spirit, attentively using their gifts, and making the most of every opportunity. But this is how the Master has coordinated things. The only way what is inside me is incubated is by staying in the middle of the warmth from other people. I just stay thankful and blessed to be a part of this.
“There’s not one area of my life that is healthy or fruitful that doesn’t have the best of others poured into it…” // Banning Liebscher
There’s a Psalm talking about waterfalls and all the Lord’s waves and billows washing over us. But it turned out to be more like when Jonah says it – not as romantic and sitting inside a fish:
Jonah 2:3-6 NKJV
For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.
There’s isn’t much to show for all this time I’ve spent alone, being birthed inside some bizarre, giant fish. I’ve sailed around the States, submerged in the belly of this thing, confused and in the dark. But I am assured whatever I am when I’m finally vomited out onto dry land, will stand the test of eternity.
So, fam, even though it feels like I have a tomahawk stuck in the back of my head, preventing certain neurons from firing and making proper connections, hope remains. I just have to remain still. “It will all make sense. And you will look and think and act and be like Me.” Your loving presence is everywhere, all the time. Even when I’m lost in the unknown, it’s just You showing Yourself to me because, really, I’m lost in You. “But I’m the most found I’ve ever been. You bring me in and call me deeper.”