I am enough.
Three little words.
Have you ever “stepped outside” of yourself unexpectedly — and seen something you’ve missed all along?
As if seeing the Little Dipper for the first time as a butcher’s cleaver? I mean, it was always there, but for some reason suddenly you see it.
I think of those times — the stepping outside of ourselves — as grace moments; those moments when God alters our perspective on a thing, a thing perhaps not helpful or even harmful.
An act of much-grace, it comes to us, gently boring through calcified habits and habituated ways of thinking, feeling, doing — so we can partake of His life-giving freedom a little further.
A little more deeply.
It’s very personal. It can be uncomfortable.
I pause and wonder, “Do I really want to allow that? To have that sort of naked knowing?”
Well, in a word, yes. (I mean, No! Well, I mean yes.)
Yes, yes, I do.
The conflict begins within my own stubborn, inscrutable kardia — to the extent my heart knows somehow that to go where the Lord leads will require an opening of the self, a laying flat on the table the playing cards held closely, the unfolding of the hands curled-tight — around the things I think that I am faithfully and neatly maintaining.
After all, the things I maintain on a given day are typically arranged for my own comfort or pleasure. I mean, let’s be honest.
It takes an effort to think about a favorite meal for my husband when it is my least favorite. And more effort to be willing to prepare it. It takes effort to make space for him when he’s so very busy and suddenly wants intimacy. It’s not that I don’t desire closeness with him — it’s just that we are inclined to prefer things on our own terms. (Am I the only one?)
I like quite spaces. I crave solitude some days like the broken earth in August craves a summer rain.
Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” attests to the longing of introverts and mentions scientific data supporting it.
Sacred space. Occupying it. Life-giving.
I had a friend recently who knows me well share with me a Cain quote via Twitter: “Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.” (I hear angels singing. Glory, amen.)
Quietude is for some of us how we tap into deeper resources to offer our gifts to the world.
It’s quite simple: We introverts just do our best when we dwell within the quiet margins of our lives, moving fluidly in and out of them, to meet the loud, noisy, busy, boisterous world around us, regularly — with acts of service and love.
But here’s the thing: Jesus says something to us all — to introverts and extroverts alike.
“Come to Me.”
That stops me.
“Come, all you little introverts, to Me. You extroverts are doing just fine.”
No. Not that. You see, His call to us bores right into our ways of being no matter what our modus operandi.
It altogether is a VERY different thing — coming to Him, the Fountain of all of life as opposed to ME arranging an optimal existence around the ideal of quietude. (Yes, the monastic lifestyle strangely appeals to me, but maybe you prefer a faster tempo, louder music, brighter lights? He calls us both, you see, from our own creations to partake of Himself.)
I wonder if I stopped being so concerned and focused on staying comfortable, maintaining peace and harmony in my days, if I took that same energy and fixed them upon Jesus who is Peace — what would that mean?
I mean in practice.
Jesus, who is my Peace, who walks with me always, whose nearness is a constancy akin to breathing each breath — breaths I don’t notice until, well, until I do notice.
Inhale. Exhale. inhale. exhale. (Tempo lento affettuoso)
I’ve never counted my breaths in a single minute.
But He is present.
I don’t need to arrange for peace when Peace dwells within me — He is the Lord of glory.
It’s not that I need not ever arrange for those quiet spaces and places to be alone with the One Person who adores me (I don’t even know what that means, actually, but I’ve been told it’s true and think since He died for me, well, it must be true) …
To be with the One Who gives me strength,
who helps me see what the world rushes past but
desperately needs to see
from time to time — as often
as the sun rises and sets.
It’s the same thing I desperately need — un-calcified perspective.
The quietude and the stillness that occurs in such solitary spaces becomes transferrable and is sustained within a heart pliable and at rest.
Yes, pliable or softened. The messages we receive from our experiences suggest otherwise. We are given toward self-preservations. But Jesus calls us to live a different sort of life. A living-given Life. It’s what Ann Voskamp tells us in her new book The Broken Way.
Paradoxes abound in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that dwells within us — because in the dying there is life.
When we respond to the request for a cup of cold water, we can serve it in peace. Is your heart at rest? Is my heart peaceful?
Is it not more refreshing for the child receiving the cup to touch a hand extended, gentle and peaceful, from a heart tender and so governed?
But we are so sure that if we extend a thing or two — or a life given — freely, there won’t be anything left of us. Yet, the research suggests otherwise. Brene Brown brilliantly describes this in her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
Her telling, without intention, beautifully explores the reality of this truth:
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)
Jesus is enough for the fullness (and emptiness) of our days.
I suspect something.
My busy heart strains and thumps its way through doing laundry, running errands, cooking meals, dusting and vacuuming in order to get to the next quiet time — hoping to find rest by measured chunks of quiet. Yet …
If I act on the truth of this — Jesus is enough — will HE not by His very essence, His sustainable presence provide essential life-giving peace — on-the-go? Yes …
Will not even this happen? With each action undertaken from a place of enough rest, enough joy, enough resources, enough beauty (yes, even enough beauty!) become an act of peace-filled happiness, like plucking cherries from laden trees in July?
You can’t rush it. Messy things will occur.
Even when we don’t rush, our fingers still will get sticky. (Here’s the thing: There’s time to wash them with soap bubbles and trickling water, plenty of time for it. Time to heal the sticky spots in our souls and on our hands.)
When we do rush, as souls compelled, we miss the beauty, the tender juicy breaking of its cherry skin between our teeth. Or …
The sharing of one with a child. Or a friend. And their smiles in reply.
There is so much rest lost in that manner of doing life — in a frenzied hurry.
When we need not ever hurry, not in that mode or manner.
If Jesus is enough, then abundance — not scarcity — occupies our storehouse.
We invite you to think about whether Jesus is enough in your life — and how this matters. We hope to continue the chat in the next Heart Working Women newsletter.
We welcome you!
Photo Credits – Jill Leppert (Dog & Cat, Rose) ~ others by Julie
Story by Julie Leppert ~ She lives in rural south central Pennsylvania with her husband where they’ve raised their three children. Her best “nest” is in the attic where she dreams, prays, studies and writes for Heart Working Women and the Humbles who are her next of kin just beyond the creek.