Thursday, May 3, 2012

Measured. Stored.

I like watching One Tree Hill. I admit it. I enjoy the writing.

“You gotta open up your heart to somebody. You gotta let someone discover how staggering you are.”

I think we all deserve to be told that at least once in our lives. We spend so much time trying to make ourselves better, improving upon what we are, that we don’t see how fabulous we currently are. We are quite often small and insignificant, a little overweight, clumsy, and forgetful, but we were made by flawless hands. We were created in the depths of perfection, in the shadow of unspoiled eyes.

You are staggering.

It doesn’t matter if you can name your faults or claim your failures. That’s beside the point. David was just a kid going up against a 9-foot tall sack of muscle and hair, and look what he did. He owned his place with his Creator, saying, “Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:46b-47). I’m guessing he said it rather loudly. I would. I mean, that is a well-phrased group of words. If you got something good to say, be loud with it.

The battle is the Lord’s. That insurmountable guilt, the fear, the melancholy, the grime between your toes, the dusty floorboards; eh, it’s just a little housework to the one who made it all. I’m not a big fan of housework. And I’m not sure why dust exists, I mean, really, gross. I guess dust exists to remind us of our vice and folly, and that even as we continue to wipe the shelves and chair legs, so our Father wipes away our tears. Wipes away our scandals, wipes away our fears.

But He made us, he keeps us, and maintains our presence if only we stay. And I think we need to quit reminding ourselves that we aren’t worth it, that we have to keep improving. Because it’s not really up to our abilities. We can’t earn the privilege of being staggering. Jaw-dropping. On fire. Compelling. We are God’s workmanship, created to do the good works he prepared for us to do. The good works may not always feel like fun works or easy works, and they may not be in the place where you want your work to be, but they are prepared specifically for you. Very often I wonder about my work and if I’m doing any good at all. Because sometimes as your toddler pushes the power button on the computer as you are completing an order and you just want to yell, or when the husband leaves his shoes in the middle of the room even though you specifically put a basket for shoes by the door and you trip over them while carrying hot coffee, or when you notice you are saying something obnoxious and don’t stop yourself in time, it feels like pointless failure. That’s when we need some kind of reminder that this world around us isn’t the last word.

Pick up a rock and throw it. God will aim it and finish the task.
I need to make myself a sticky note and write that on it. As a stay at home mom, there are a lot of quiet moments when the daunting tasks easily overwhelm. So I put quotes or Bible verses around where I will see them when I need them the most.

“All of your toil is ever before him.” ~ Beth Moore

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:26

“But all this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:9

(Apparently the Corinthians speak to me.)

But here’s another one that applies just as well, courtesy of One Tree Hill:
“The greatest rewards come from doing the things you fear most.”

Sometimes those imaginary monsters like The Laundry Pile or Vacuuming or Asking For Forgiveness or Losing Weight or Getting Out Of Bed need to be told who’s boss. It doesn’t matter how tall our adversary; it doesn’t matter how musty, ponderous, or devastating it may seem. It is all incredibly small compared to the Lord of Hosts. You know, a synonym for “host” is “master of ceremonies.” The person with that job knows the show inside and out, front to back, and has a backup plan if there are technical difficulties or someone isn’t in place at the right time.

David also said, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies – you have defied him…The Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, cut your head off… Then all the world will know that Israel has a God… He will hand you over to us” (1 Samuel 17:45-46). Take that, toilet grime. Take it and eat it, clumsiness, ache, hunger, rejection, despondency, and loss.

Remember it, wear it in your heart, and do not lose grip on the most powerful weapon that we will ever have to face the day, to continue on; he is our Creator, our great love. 
He is staggering. And he made you, just the way you are.

There’s a song that I heard (probably on One Tree Hill) that the lyrics apply here:

Anything to make you smile
You are the ever-living ghost of what once was
I never want to hear you say
That you'd be better off
Or you liked it that way

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do

No one's gonna love you more than I do
(Band of Horses)

And shouldn’t we remember that. Our great Host, our Maker, our Only One; no one is going to love you more than the one who designed you.  If you are caught between a grassy field and a desert, drowning under the waves, or wedged into a dark hole, look up. Pick up a rock and throw it.

You are, after all, staggering.

Take the hand of the one who made you and walk in his steady stride, until the giants fall away.