I should know better than to tell you what the next post is going to be. That never actually happens. Something always interrupts that train of thought, replaces it, and becomes the place of learning.
So “distractions vs. interruptions” just got interrupted…or I was distracted…and instead we’re going back to that question: What has God entrusted to me?
I have been thinking about this for an entire month. The question kept drawing me back in, begging for substantial consideration. At first it was the basics: I’ve been entrusted with my family–my marriage and kids. I’ve been entrusted with the stories and lives of those at church. I’ve been entrusted with representing Jesus to one of my children who struggles to understand His acceptance. I’ve been entrusted with writing projects and teaching opportunities. I’ve been entrusted with living in a country that allows for incredible economic opportunity. Thus I’ve been entrusted with caring and providing for others. I’ve been entrusted with the people on my street. I’ve been entrusted with my friends.
And all those things sounded wonderful and made me tired at the same time. There was so much expected of me. Where was I supposed to start?
I started to lose sleep.
This is when I knew something was wrong. Normally, I take great pride in the fact that I can fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. My husband will be lying in bed next to me and his leg is twitching and he’s flip-flopping like a fish out of water and I barely notice because dreamland comes so quickly. He hates it. I secretly find joy in it.
Until suddenly I stopped sleeping for three weeks. I would lie in bed for hours, tormented by his rhythmic breathing. Sometimes I’d flop around just to try to disturb him. Nothing. I threw a pillow over my head to see if I could suffocate my reeling thoughts. Nothing.
It was three weeks of insomnia and I have fresh empathy for you who deal with this all the time. You’re still so nice and function so well.
On that third week I sat up in bed and cried out to God in anger: Why am I not sleeping? What is the deal here?
It wasn’t until I asked that I received an answer.
You’re been entrusted with the gospel.
Nothing more. Nothing less. And yet it is everything.
It was as if all the pieces in my life–all the responsibilities that seemed disjointed and unconnected, all the appointments, which seemed to wear me out and stretch me thin–came together. Their edges which had worn me ragged for years fit perfectly when placed alongside each other. Together, they didn’t form a portrait or a mosaic, but a foundation.
Start here, is what I felt the Lord was showing me.
And it made so. much. sense.
Of course. We have been entrusted with the secret of the kingdom of God (Mk. 4.11); we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2.16). Does this make anyone else want to shout?
I am so hungry to live a life larger than myself. I am so eager to figure out what it means to be all in this kingdom of God. I’m so tired of living so that I have one foot in my kingdom and one foot in his. And here is God telling me, “Child, then you just have to start with the gospel.”
Suddenly, my marriage isn’t dependent upon happiness or security or the ability to work through conflict. It becomes about refinement. It becomes about acceptance. It becomes about service. And it’s all rooted in love.
Raising children stops being about maintaining the chaos of schedules and cleanliness and meals and it becomes about clearing the path for them. It becomes about making it easy for them to come to Christ (Acts 15.19). It becomes about unveiling the truth that God’s Spirit is available to them–not in miniature portions–but in full high def. They have the real deal and all the gifts are working in them and through them and I only need to help them look in mirror and see God looking back.
Serving in the church becomes less about programs and pleasing and creating something attractive. It becomes the environment in which we are able to make attractive the doctrine of Christ (Titus 2.9-10). It’s where people feel so welcome and so accepted and so connected and so embraced that wounds carried for ages are healed. It’s where transformation both initiates and completes. It’s where we learn that not everyone is going to come to us. So it’s where we come together to go to them. It’s where the gospel’s power in our lives becomes uncontainable and we don’t walk, but run out the front doors in order to live out love.
And our gifts?
For ages I imagined that I would know I have arrived when certain standards of success could be found in my portfolio. It was then I would know that I really possessed these gifts. It was then I’d believe I wasn’t making it all up. It was then I’d stop wondering if it was all wishful thinking.
Could I have been anymore self-focused?
When my gifts and passions are built upon the foundation of the gospel, freedom comes. Rather than having my own journey marked by standards of success, I have found something much more precious than anything I could ever put onto paper.
It seems that, when God gives you a passion for something, he also brings others across your path who share your same passion. It also appears that, when God wants you to recognize how much you’ve learned and where He has taken you, these individuals who cross you path become the reflection of yourself 10 years ago.
And I want to take these women, these aspiring writers and teachers, and I just want to wrap them up in God’s furious love for them so that they realize the power of their voice. How far their words will carry the gospel. And I listen and I talk and I encourage and I’m in awe of these others who are on this same journey.
And something will happen as we talk passion and dreams and possibilities. I see a spark ignite when she suddenly dares to believe she can.
And it is her spark–not my success–that becomes the measure of my journey.
What have I been entrusted with?
It’s where I’m rooted and everything else grows from there.
This is freedom. I am free. The drive to perform has subsided. The emptiness has been refilled. I’m no longer stretched thin; I am transparent. And that light you see is all Christ, I pray.