Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Are You Full Of?

I'll be honest.  I didn't even want to publish this post today.  It's humbling when you have to follow up a chirpy "Yeah, God!" post with one that's a little more "God, I'm having second thoughts". But I feel in order to keep things authentic, I have to do it.  This journey doesn't always follow the most direct path, but there's things to see and learn from the scenic route with all its hills and valleys.

Just in case anyone has ever come away from one of my blog posts thinking, “That girl’s right on, she’s just cruising down the straight and narrow, just receiving what God has to offer” (not that anyone has ever thought that, but even if there’s a .001% chance, I have to present this evidence to the exact opposite of that statement) I submit to you an excerpt from my life, yesterday:

Shawn came home and I certainly wasn’t a fount of positive reinforcement or joy.  I was miserable and glum and nitpicky, slumped over a bowl of Butternut Squash Soup (rather tasty, I might add--recipe to come at a later date) and scowling. Not even food could cheer me up. I’d just had too much: too much basement living, too much homeschooling, too much refereeing children arguing, too much enduring temper tantrums (and not my own this time), too much heaviness in my heart, and too much “fog in front of our headlights”. So after I cried and ranted while loading the dishwasher, Shawn suggested I leave the basement and take a little time for myself by holing up in his parents’ loft upstairs.

Talk about a gift. I realized straight away, as soon as I had a few moments of protected quiet (you moms out there know what I’m talking about) that while I had no qualms with believing  that God was good, I did have a sneaking suspicion that He was rather impotent. You know, the sweet guy in all the rom-com’s that comes through with the kleenexes and a good pep-talk just when the heroine’s about to give up.  But he’s not dependable in the big ways because two scenes later she’s saving his life when he chokes on a meatball sub, sauce all over his cheeks and purple-faced. 

That’s the God I was beginning to envision: big and loveable but not a game-changer. Because how else could I explain the things that hurt in my life the most, areas where He could have swooped in and changed everything. He could have and He didn’t. So in order for me to cling to the “God is good” theology, I have to sacrifice His ability to actually do anything about the bad things in my life.

But that verse from Psalm 62 kept coming to mind. It said:
“One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
That you, O God, are STRONG [emphasis obviously mine].
And that you, O Lord, are loving.”

Yep, he’s loving and good, but he’s also strong; he’s powerful. Believe me, it’s not fun following a God who’s a weakling. You feel unprotected, you feel vulnerable, you feel weak yourself, left out in the elements (think Sandy) with no visible protection. Don’t get me wrong; the peace I’ve felt lately wasn’t counterfeit.  It’s still there. I feel it as I’m writing this. And I feel as confident as ever of His love. I have no doubt that heaven will be spectacular and glorious and beyond everything my measly little mind can imagine. But I guess now I’m just questioning His abilities here on earth.

Because living only to experience glory in heaven isn’t buying it right now.  It’s not depositing in my account, and I have some transactions that I need to make IMMEDIATELY-and not just financial ones; emotional ones, ones that are linked to my purpose here on earth, TODAY. And I don’t think I’m out of line in raising the bar here. In fact, Christ himself set the bar there. In John 10:10, Jesus said:

“I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what life to the full looks like.  I know what it isn’t. It’s not life with a full house or life with a full bank account or even life with full booster seats in your minivan.  Those things aren’t bad; they just aren’t the “life to the full” that Christ promised, at least not from my experience. I have or have had all those things in my life. And I wasn’t full the way Christ talks about it. I was full of envy, I was full of worry, I was full of frustration, I was full of fear, and I was full of bitterness.

At the moment, I’m grappling with these two concepts, holding these two puzzle pieces: God’s strength and God’s promise of fullness HERE ON EARTH and trying to figure out how they fit into my relationship with God today.

What are your thoughts about God’s strength and His promise of fullness? Do you think "life to the full" is the same for everyone?


  1. Hey Mai. I'll have to put some more thought in to your question...but your post did bring to mind an excellent book that we're studying at our chapel this fall. Phil Ryken's "Loving the Way Jesus Loves" is a gentle, but powerful book about the truth and depth of God's love for us...and therefore, the love that He has for us to share with those in our lives. It's a good read and something I've really been blessed by during this season of life.

  2. Thanks so much for the suggestion and I'll be sure to look up that book; I think exploring my perception of God's love might be a good track for me to take. Thanks again!

  3. I hopped over here through a round about way (no brakes, I think) and I LOVE the way you articulate this struggle. Right now, for me, the fullness comes from emptying ... and I just wrote about that today and posted it in trepidation (just like the way you begin your blog) and thinking, what am I doing posting this non-post? No story line, just a bunch of wandering in the dark. So. There's that. But I am glad I found you!

  4. Now I still have to find your version of the no brake story!