“I can mistake the flow of my adrenaline for the moving of the Holy Spirit; I can live in the illusion that I am ultimately in control of my destiny and my daily affairs . . .most of our human problems come because we don’t know how to sit still in our room for an hour.” -Leighton Ford
I sat thumbing through my recent notifications, wondering what in the world I am doing wrong. We sit on our phones, measuring ourselves with the next blogger, the next stay-at-home mom, the next small business owner, the next wife, the next Pinterest-er. We look at those Likes as our measuring sticks for whether or not we are living life well. Maybe you don’t, maybe you have your head on straight, but lately, mine has been sitting pretty in the dark clouds of comparison.
We just want to be our best, right? Be successful, be attractive, be the best possible version of who God created us to be. Live well.
Something about our weak selves convinces us that our movement and performance is the key indicator of our success. Maybe I am alone, but I don’t think so. If you’re like me you want to live well, you really do. You try and try to learn what a godly life look likes and you try . . . and try . . . and try to attain it. You even know that it is by God’s grace alone that He provides it, so you do your best to try to allow Him to work. But all your effort does is leaves you feeling alone … and tired. Oh so tired. We are nothing but flat on our faces tired.
You know it is by grace. That it all is by grace. That life and laughter and love and longing and light is all because of God’s movement. Yet, like me, you fight for abundance, you long for joy, and you still continue to work towards some semblance of holiness.
Why do I just want to chuck something across the room and cry at the same time? Why can’t we just get it, once and for all? Why can’t we just sit still, accept His movement and His grace over us, for today and forever?
Because we, like the first mother, Eve, still have that aching doubt that if we don’t act, we might miss out on it. We might miss our well-lived lives. We might miss what God laid out for us, we might fail.
Or even more oppressively, we fear that what God has for us isn’t as exciting as we’ve hoped. Maybe God’s plans for us will take us to places that we don’t want to go, to things we don’t want to give up. Maybe it will not feel like a life-lived well, but rather a life of desperate dependence on Creator God. Maybe we just don’t want God’s grace, because that seems like an out; like a cheat for the game.
Maybe we want to do it on our own, because maybe deep down, we want the glory for ourselves. We want to hear people tell us that we are good mothers, loving wives, helpful friends, interesting people . . .
Maybe we’re dizzy from the high of feeling liked, disoriented from the addiction of being important, drunk on the feeling of collecting respect.
Do you feel the movement of God in your life? Or, like me, are you not quiet enough to even notice it if it was there?
Maybe there is a God-sized earthquake all around us, but we are simply too busy and are moving too much to notice the shifting of the plates. Maybe our adrenaline is too high, our muscles wound too tight, our minds too fragmented and distracted to see the subtle work of God in the pieces of our lives. Maybe God is moving a whole lot, but we can’t make it fifteen seconds into prayer before we are distracted with something our minds demand as urgent.
How do we stop? How do we sit in silence and listen for the movement of God when the neighbors next door are yelling again, the baby needs a change, the toddler won’t nap, the dishes are starting to smell, the carpet under our knees is full of crumbs and is beginning to itch, the phone is dinging, the fan is humming, the fly keep buzzing near our heads, our hair needs a wash -and did we forget to start the dryer? close the baby’s window? lock the front door? turn off the oven? have enough clean diapers? tell hubby about that bill? email that client? -and . . . oh dear. The noise of day is nothing compared to the noise of our minds.
I have not been still for God’s voice this week -have you? I have tried and failed and felt miserable for it and blew it off and forgotten and tossed my Bible in frustration. I have eaten the apple, believed that God’s plans are not good enough, planned my own days, forsaken His grace and all I can think to remember in this moment of my greatest need is . . .
it is by grace it is by grace it is by grace it is by grace it is by grace . . . it is ALL by grace.
Jesus came to save us from this noise, this mess of life, this frustration, this sin, this great effort that we pour into trying to reach Him. He came to give grace; to grace us with His presence. To teach us to be still with Him. Enjoying Him. To teach us to stop. To stop. trying. TO. SAVE. OURSELVES. TO. AN. ABUNDANT. LIFE.
Why can’t we get that? Why can’t we understand that we are nothing without His stepping into our world? Why can’t we get over our own desires, to see the God who both provides and fills our deepest desire?
And then I think about a quote I once heard, “If you’re not giving yourself grace, how can you pass it onto them?” And I think of how my constant need for movement and noise is affecting my children, changing my household, building my reputation.
Maybe our constant need for moving and shifting and growing stems from pride. Maybe, in our striving to live well, we are actually striving our way out of grace. It is in our depravity that we can rest, because we don’t even know the half of just how much we are depraved, and we can rest because God meets us in our depravity. It is in our weakness that we can feel God.
Stop trying. Stop pushing so hard to live life well –and let’s let HIM live it, regardless of us, despite us, and, incredibly, through us.
Instead of the bombarding we allow ourselves to be exposed to, let’s bombard one another with the truth of GRACE. Instead of the guilt and fear and comparisons that we bury ourselves under, let’s bury each other and ourselves in compliments -in truth, in goodness. Instead of letting ourselves hear lies, let’s let ourselves hear things like this: you are daughter. you are made with reason. you are full. you are enough. you are saved by grace. Instead of throwing around insecurities and fears, let’s throw around nice words like confetti -celebrating ourselves and one another for the pure reason that our Great God DIED FOR THAT. For me. For you. For it all. Instead of living in this filthy death, let us live in Life Himself.
It is by grace that we live in the first place. If God is life and love and light Himself, and life without Him is no life at all, and if we want a life of love and light, then we really have no choice but to give our lives over to Him. Because if we don’t let Him in and give Him our lives, then we can’t live life at all, and we sure as Hell can’t live it well.