People are funny. We try so hard. We make so many plans and have such high expectations. But at the same time we doubt and waiver and fail.
I think it comes down to three things. And what we choose to do with them.
Faith. Hope. Love.
Maybe if we had an understanding of these three we wouldn’t struggle so hard. The fights we engaged in would maybe be worthy of our time and energy. We would win more and be more content and secure, even when we failed. Failure would not mean the end. It would not be conclusive. But instead it would push and prod us away from the despair of not trying or changing at all, and closer to the discipline of using failure as a catalyst to greatness.
I have feared failure my whole life. It has stopped me and robbed me and paralysed me. It has lied to me countless times and in countless ways. Yes it has been powerful – gripping me even in my strengths and assurances and intelligence and gifts. But only because I let it. Only because I said it was OK. It had all the power I gave it.
Faith, hope and love. Words I have always heard and known about. Scripture quoted… and these three remain… But I really didn’t have a clue. And I needed a clue! I had to stop and be still. Not just for a moment, or a day. But indefinitely. I had to stop and breathe and live in that stillness for a long time – until I could be shut up enough to hear Him speak to me. About me. To learn the ancient things for me today. Of faith and hope and love… and not of fear. But I was busy. Busy doing ‘important’ things – for others and for Him. I didn’t know how to be still.
To have real faith in the Unseen but Ever-present I had to be without anything I could muster up myself. I’m really good at getting by, scraping the barrel and making it look like I’m nailing it, loving life. After awhile I believed I was and that all was well.
But I discovered my soul was dying inside. Doing so much; being so many things; working so hard to make sure I never failed; always saying ‘yes’ so I never disappointed; never admitting weakness or shedding a tear for fear of being frail or vulnerable. Frailty and vulnerability equalled weakness to me, residue of growing up in a nation that refused me. Never let them see how you really feel; never let them know how it hurts; don’t you dare let on how much you really are not nailing this. Weakness meant failure to me – and I was afraid.
Funny how we think if we hide it from ‘them’ and pretend long enough that God Himself will be fooled. Funny and utterly ridiculous. He knew. He knew me. And although I had served Him vigorously for decades, and I had loved Him since I was a child, He began to earnestly call my name as 2015 began. Or maybe He had been calling me all along and I had just become desperate enough to hear His whisper. “Come to Me Shans… Get away with Me. I will give you rest.”
Over and over He called me to Him. And I heard Him. But for months I didn’t listen. Until one night in a broken, messy act of worship I asked Him to take a real good look at me. I stood there with all my tears and my arms wide open and inwardly shouted to Him. “Here I am. This is me. Search me out. And if you still want me, tell me what to do.”
He said, “Stop. Stop doing and just be. You are so very much more than what you do or what you bring. I cannot love you more. You cannot win my heart – it’s already yours.”
I was undone. So I stopped.
I ignored my mind that was screaming, “You can’t stop! That’s failure! What about everyone? What will they think? You’re letting everyone down! You can’t stop serving! What will you do? Who will you be?!”
I listened to my heart and the Lover of my soul; He is Love. I stepped off and I stepped down and I put all my faith and trust in the One who is already in my future. And it was easy. Surrender to the Love and the Hope that is in Him was easy, no matter the steps that were to follow. I don’t know what tomorrow looks like – will I ever live the life I have dreamed of and pursued since childhood? I don’t know and that’s OK with me. Because I feel like up until now I’ve been living my version of events. His is far superior. I think I’ll enjoy His more.
A year has passed and I can breathe all the way in. Rest is a beautiful thing. With rest there is space to hope again – to really live and be – without fear.
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise
All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord
None But Jesus (Hillsong United 2006).