Sitting among strewn clothes and crumpled up hankies laden with the aftermath of a most disgusting cold, I am reminded of the last time I allowed myself to lie here and watch tv endlessly – when the Lord began to kill the Striving within me.
This time last year, I was leaving a job I thought for sure was going to be “The Job.” The role in society that would give me meaning and purpose. I don’t think Jesus is very fond of that concept. The one where we phrase our grammar in English to say “I am” something; a carpenter, a doctor instead of “I am a child of God who is serving the Lord in this way for this time.”
It’s not about finding the right person to fill the right seat and twenty self-evaluation tests later you’ll come to know your perfect calling. Our calling from the Lord has been pretty clear since the Epistles and had feet put on it with the Gospels. “Follow Me.” Christ didn’t elaborate to the disciples, why do we feel the right to badger Him with questions?
“But who is my neighbor?” or “What shall I do to inherit the kingdom of heaven?”
My favorite part of Bonhoeffer’s book “Cost of Discipleship” is how much he calls humanity out on their incessant need to argue their moral dilemma. He reminds us that it is in fact sin because the focus is inward and for the self. The excuses we make are to feed our self will. We don’t want to hear what “Follow Me” is really calling us to:
Get over yourself and get into Jesus.
So what does Jesus do? Does He leave us in the mire? No. He strips us of our sin and it is usually painful but has a tenderness to it towards the end once we’ve seen where we began and how sweet He is to not leave us in the muck.
Jesus in His sweetness gave me this year to do nothing but bake in the middle of the night and watch Gilmore girls in the middle of the day, to accept the indignation that my only job was to smile and serve people coffee. At first I fought this round of humility. I wasn’t above pleading: “But Jesus Starbucks will pay for my college education! Just give me something to study. I have to be somebody!”
Silence. Silence. And more precious silence.
Then I turned to His word, something I should have done a lot sooner and there it was, so beautiful, full of freedom:
Lord, my heart is not proud. My eyes are not haughty. I do not go after things too difficult and wondrous for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child on its mother. Like a weaned child on me is my soul. Israel, hope in the Lord now and forever always. Psalm 131
Being His daughter, the one He chose to adopt before the beginning of time out of His unfailing love and deep enriching grace is enough. It is the only identity I will ever need. And learning how to calm and quiet my soul this year means I have taken the focus off me and turned my eyes to Jesus. It is a daily calling. A constant following. But it is the greatest job I will ever live out.