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A bad case of the “not-enoughs”

 

Dana was a girl in my class at church.

Her family had five kids too, same as ours. And it’s funny, the things you remember; funny that I remember a day of learning about Christ, when Dana’s mom walked me out to the car to whisper something in my ear.

“I want my kids to be just like you,” she told me, admiration glowing in her eyes.

My hungry little heart ate those words.

I was starving. Any kind of acceptance is food for an approval-seeking soul.

Somehow, I learned it very early in life, that people like good girls. Parents like them, teachers like them, church folk like them, and those were the kinds of folks I hung around.

So I was the good girl. I was the teacher’s pet, the “Character Award” winner, the child other parents wanted their kids to be like.

But there is one secret a good girl carries deep inside—the stain of sin. ‘

The good girl can’t escape the knowledge that she will never really be good enough. No matter how much performance, no matter the approval and acceptance she earns, there is still the lusty hunger for more.

And Jesus, He has a way of exposing the lack. He knows how to awaken soul hunger. He knows just how to bring you to the end of yourself.

He did it to the crowds in John 6. He led them to a “solitary place” where there was no food, no provision, no resources.

There was no goodness.

There they remained until their hunger growled and their need hissed and they tasted deep their utter desperation. The Savior’s way is always to bring his beloved face to face with their longing and lack, and yes, especially their sin. If we could just get that, maybe we could move to the miracle part. But the painful exposure is hard for a good girl.

At the moment the crowd was near faint for lack of provision, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, You give them something to eat.”

The disciples not only had nothing for themselves, but now the responsibility to nourish others fell square on their shoulders. How many days have I been in that very spot? I’ve felt sucked dry, empty? Yet the children are there, the husband, the people I’ve come here to serve, and Jesus turns and says day after day, “You give them something to eat.”

The true disciple of Christ comes to the place, again and again, where she lacks, she thirsts, and she has nothing. She has responsibilities but no resources. She longs for adequacy, approval, goodness—but there is only want. There is simply all this growling emptiness, us face to face with our inability to ever be enough.

Then the Messiah speaks, “Have the people sit down.”

Christ makes His intentions clear. He never intended for us to be good enough. He intends for us to sit down, cease our labors,  stop striving and trying while attempting to meet our own needs.

Elyse Fitzpatrick says:

“We too have nothing. We have no innate goodness, no righteousness, no wisdom, no strength, no miraculous power to enable us to work hard enough to meet the overwhelming need of our souls. We are completely bankrupt; we’re devoid of the power we need to conquer our sin, to change our nature. We have exhausted all our supplies, and although we are willing to work, there is just nothing that we can do that will satisfy such a wretchedness. We are starving for true righteousness, hungering to be able to meet God’s standards, languishing as we try to satisfy the ever-growing needs of those around us. But our Savior calls to us, “Sit down.”

 

We can hear the call and we can believe it. When faced with our gaping need and unrighteousness, we can sit down and cease striving and trust that He’s got us covered. He’s handling lunch. He’s got our sin taken care of. He’s got all of eternity handled. All we need to do is sit down and let Him serve us.

The liberating truth for the not-good-enough is that God never intended us to be good. He intends for us to believe.

“For Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). This is the work God has for us, to believe in Him whom He has sent. (John 6:29)

We need not be afraid of our hungers, our cravings, our desperation. We need only train ourselves in this, the sitting down and believing.

And as we do, there are leftovers. Baskets of abundance.

 

**Excerpt from Trust Without Borders

 

31 days of trust without borders

 

 Day 30

 

1. The Bread: Read John 17:1-19

2. The Devo: Read Day 30 in Trust Without Borders

3. The Plunge: This one’s for all the good girls who don’t measure up. In what ways are you faced with your lack today? Hear Jesus’ invitation to “sit down.” Take some time to literally sit down, stop working, and believe that for all your lack, He’s got it covered. In fact, He has abundance for every good deed!

Trust Him for it today.

For all the days in this series, visit the Trust Experience home page. 

Vultures and Trust {Day 29}

 

I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t want to read today’s devotional.

I am pressed and worn and I don’t want to live open handedly with those who are pressing me today.

Some press in demanding ways, in un-lovely ways. Some in more subtle, deceptive ways. Some are wolves in sheeps clothing, waiting to devour.

I want to hold tightly to my family, not share them with strangers. I want to hold tightly to my time, not give it to those who could care less about the sacrifice. I want to hold tightly to my resources, not give them away to those who seem to have far more than I do anyway.

I don’t want to be a maximist, giving away as much as I possibly can.

But I can’t get by with living that way; so somehow the Lord and I have to process through it… and quick! If you are struggling with living open-handedly, I’m with you and today’s plunge is for the both of us.

 

31 days of trust without borders

 

Day 29

 

1. The Bread: Read John 16

2. The Devo: Read Day 29 in Trust Without Borders

3. The Plunge:  So today I’m in murky waters. Maybe I should wait to blog about it until I’m “fixed” of my attitude, ha! But bottom line, I don’t want to keep reaching out, inviting others in, sharing, giving away. My heart is bruised from rejection. It is raw from being transparent. It hurts from being misunderstood. It’s insecure from being judged by strangers.

But I know I can’t stay in this place. I know the biggest fight of the day is the fight to believe. 

So right now, on the blog, I’m processing through this.

First, I’m going to Isaiah 58.

 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 

And I’m counseling my soul with the Word. It comes down to a matter of trust. Do I really trust God will do what He clearly stated?

Will I believe He will satisfy me and strengthen me and be my glory? That He will be far more to me than what I ever “give away?”

Trust isn’t mental assent. Trust is an action. It is taking the risk. It is acting on what I believe to be true. Will I believe to the point of taking action? And not tomorrow, but today

Friends, I am making the choice to trust God. I am, today, sending out an invite, opening my home to strangers, in a deliberate choice of trust. I am asking others to come into my space so that I can bestow on them a blessing.

I just sent out the invites. Done.

What are you going to do today? How can you give today? In what ways can you be a maximist, giving away as much as you possibly can? I would love to hear!

If you would like to take a step of trust and open your heart to the hungry and oppressed, please consider Nicolae? He is an orphan who needs others to love him like Jesus. I’ve included ways you can help him below.

 

 Our family is trying to provide Nicolae with a much needed surgery so that he can stop wearing diapers and use the bathroom like a normal boy. 

All proceeds from Trust Without Borders are going to fund his surgery. Additionally, you can give directly to his fund below.

Your gift means so much to him! He is believing God for a miracle!

 

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