Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mostly Awesome

I heard something the other day that hit me between the eyes and has haunted me ever since. For quite some time I have had a sense that I'm missing something in my personal spiritual journey. Check this out:

"The threshold of your willingness to sacrifice on God's behalf will also be the threshold of your capacity for spiritual growth."

Hm. So, if I'm not growing spiritually, perhaps I haven't had to sacrifice enough lately.

Just like that, the challenge is laid down for me. My life is generally pretty good. Most of my problems are the kind of problems people have when they don't really have problems. Does that make sense? I find myself griping about whiny kids, fatigue, and housework. I struggle with escapism through too much reading, TV, and time spent on Facebook. Those aren't real problems, those are small chances to ask God for help. But since I can mostly handle those things under my own power, I don't ask.

From an early age, I have had a pretty good opinion of myself. I know I am not perfect, but I am okay with my flaws. Usually when I make mistakes, they are either honest mistakes or I had a good reason for doing it the way I did. Not so often do I acknowledge that I was simply wrong.

Recently I came to identify this feeling as a sense of being mostly awesome. A few months ago, I found myself sitting on the couch confessing to my parents that I had lost my secret belief in my mostly awesomeness, and it has left me confused, lost, and discouraged. I have missed feeling mostly awesome, because it's the thing that helps me get through all the other challenging stuff that life has sent my way.

When you have a good reason for everything you do, it is hard for God to fit into your life. Even if, like me, you have mapped your life according to God's directives. If you live in the belief in your constant right-ness, you become your own highest authority. In the end, my mostly awesomeness left me still feeling empty. Then it just left me.

This is the truth: I am not mostly awesome. I am not actually awesome at all. On my best day, when I feel good about all I have done and said, I am still a small-minded human stumbling through the world.

But other words also echo in my ears.

"Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
was blind, but now I see."

I realize the awesomeness I've been missing is not my imagination. Nor is it inappropriate to claim. Nor is it gone. I have simply lost sight of its source.

Apart from God, I have no good thing.
Apart from God, I do no good thing.
Apart from God, I am no good thing.

Every good thing I have and do is the result of God working in and through me. By the grace of God, the awesome feeling comes from being in right relationship with God, from being content that I am where I should be, doing what I have been created to do.

"The threshold of your willingness to sacrifice on God's behalf will also be the threshold of your capacity for spiritual growth."

This statement, ricocheting around my brain, offers me a key to growth: willingness to sacrifice on God's behalf. My action plan becomes to search through my life for areas in which God is asking me to sacrifice, to trust him beyond where I can reach. It's a little scary, but I'd rather have the awesome back than continue to live the comfortable, vaguely directionless life.

Dear Lord, please help me work through my fog, my funk. Show me where I need to sacrifice more. I miss the awesome feeling of being right with you, and I am ready to reclaim it again.

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