If you’re anything like me, you rolled around our prompt in your mind this week.
And then you rolled it some more,
And then you felt…tired.
The word has such a “goal oriented” feeling to it, like it’s going to rattle off a bulleted to-do list. Now, Lord knows, I’m a list maker, an achiever of goals (or at least a believer in goals), but I have a hunch that the last thing that either you or I need right now is a to-do list.
I know I’m not preaching to a bunch of slouches here. Rather, I think “strive” is written in our DNA. We’re a can-do kind of group. And so we do, and do, and do some more. And somewhere along the line my identity and perhaps yours becomes wrapped up, woven as one into what we DO.
Have you ever had a time in your life when what you DO is stripped away from you? You’re suddenly left floundering, asking, “Wait, now who am I?”
Yeah, been there.
There was that time I left everything I ever knew as a barely 18 year-old for the mountains of Ecuador. No longer the student leader.
Or the time I had to let go of teaching and that master’s degree. Gah, the classroom was my place!
And then all the days of sending my husband off to do the big important things, the things we used to do together, as I stay home to scrape dried jelly off the counter.
Yep, there have been tears for all of these.
But go back and change it?
No, no I wouldn’t.
It’s been this stripping down and away that’s brought me to my knees, helped me find myself in Him.
You know, we all may wrestle with the purpose, the plan, the calling of our lives, but deep, deep down, I think we know. We know. We feel the whispers in our soul.
Be with Me… Walk with Me… Live in love with Me…
For I am Immanuel, the God who died to be with you.
If I sink myself down and in to this, then I remember:
More than God wants to use me, more than He wants to work through me, He wants to BE WITH me, make His home in me.
Do we know that? Really, truly?
Do we live like He is more concerned with our attachment to the Vine than with the fruit we produce?
Do we fully grasp that without that attached intimacy, it’s all fruitless striving?
When what I DO is who I AM, then I’m forever doing more, because I’m never enough. I strive to prove, to please, to impress with what I do, because if I don’t, then what am I?
But if who I am is defined by the Vine and not the fruit, then, then…
I am complete, today and forever enough.
I live freely and lightly in the unforced rhythms of grace.
What I do flows out of who I already am. Perfectly loved. Secure. Whole.
God says, “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” (John 15:8 MSG)
When we’re intimate with Him, we’ll “live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” (1 John 2:6 MSG)
But here’s the thing … We can talk circles around intimacy. We can all nod and murmur and raise our hands with closed eyes. But how often do we actually open up and talk about our personal relationship, our day-to-day interaction with our Jesus? It’s presumed too private a matter, too sacred to pry into, too pious if you share, or too cliched to sound genuine.
But I wonder if it’s something else. I wonder if we are actually hiding from each other the fact that we don’t really know how to be intimate with Him. And what if in building these walls of privacy we actually end up robbing one another of the very thing we need, the gift of modeling? To see and hear loved lived out is the only way to learn it.
We can hide behind our propped up identities as women serving overseas, or we can step out bare and brave and say, “My purpose is to be with Jesus, and here’s how that’s going.”
So let’s do it here today. Yes, really. Let’s actually do it. Let’s ask the question: “How is your intimacy with Jesus?” And let’s see what unfolds…
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