I sit late at night staring at the blinking cursor. Wondering what help the blog browsing and pinning and otherwise-avoiding-the-issue was to me in writing this down. None, I suppose. So here I sit, my night-time herbal tea long since finished, my husband yawning and heading to bed and my words are still jarring me from the inside waiting to be poured out.
I have been trying so hard lately. To be “good enough”. I add quotation marks with irritation because I don’t even understand what that really means, let alone find success at it, and it’s all just a bit heavy and burdensome after a while.
Patient enough. Healthy enough. Spiritual enough. For my kids, for my husband, for myself. For Him. And always failure. Hot shameful failure that courses through my veins with a rhythmic beat that tears me up inside and leaves me desperate for a do-over. And when it’s only 9:15am.
It’s an out-of-body experience as I watch myself yelling and slamming doors and indulging in my hot-tempered mess of humanity. And all over a pair of boots which are a thin veil for the gritty reality which is that in that moment I lacked gratitude. It’s a cosmic battle waging in the inmost parts of me, and I snap to myself to get a grip but I don’t and I pout and rant and give in to weakness. I think that the problems are happening to me and I ignore the fact that the problem is me. I lose perspective and I am not enough.
I’m not enough on my own. And in that, inexplicably, I find… grace? Yes – and joy. And thanksgiving…
In the first chapter of One Thousand Gifts, Ann writes “I wonder too… if the rent in the canvas of our own life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave… But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places?”.
And now I realize that this is exactly the problem: my pathetic attempts to rid myself of the “thin, open places”. To try harder and be better at it all and to finally overcome my struggles. My own emptiness is uncomfortable to me because it is such a precise demonstration of my weakness. My flesh struggles with all its might to resist and yet somehow, strangely, I am drawn to embrace the emptiness, that I might be filled with something other-worldly, something beautiful and poetic and so much more than what the flesh can offer. Because it’s obvious that my way isn’t working and so why not try the crazy upside-down way?
And how, I ask? How can this be that I could dare to hope for more? That I might dare to say yes to embracing my torn-open holes and weak spots, and break bread and drink the wine in thanksgiving for those very weaknesses. Believing that they lead me to the One who is strong and who loves with an unquenchable desire for my heart, and gives unspeakable joy…
Dare I believe that I can revel in that joy? Really and honestly that I can live with such thanksgiving in my heart?
My heart is pounding and I fear hitting the publish button. My gut is wrenching me in that uncomfortable-God-speaking kind of way and my eyes are tired but alive with hope and dare I say containing a hint of joy.
Oh! That I may stop trying to be enough and start living in gratitude for what I am today! Gratitude for all of it. The growing pains, the desires, the hard and mundane. The God who is there in all of it, real and raw and close. Oh so close.
Lord, let it be so.