Every once in a while I awaken to the realization that Jesus wants more for me. Not more from me. This difference is huge.
He wants more for me than me just being a good Bible student or teacher. More for me than just attendance at my quiet times or church activities. More for me than just hands raised high in an emotionally stirring worship event. More for me than just sin-impulse control or conformity to a noble standard of behavior.
Not that there is anything wrong with the above activities. In fact, those are wonderful things in and of themselves…and they open the door to the things I’m about to describe. It is just that…every once in a while, usually in a beautiful moment of experience and joy…usually in a moment of connectedness with my body, emotions or the people around me…I realize that He also wants me to be a human being.
Not just a task-performing robot – which unfortunately is the functional definition of a disciple that many of us have internalized. He wants me to be a real person. With a body and emotions and preferences. Not a cardboard cutout who looks good on the front but is 1/2 inch thick. Not someone who is afraid of the things He’s created…or of deeply enjoying those things He’s created. He wants to meet me in my humanity in a way that is so deeply spiritual, soul-satisfying and transcendently beautiful, that the stuff of this earth becomes divine.
I think He loves it when I dial back my compulsive drive to achieve, conquer, accumulate and compare that I know isn’t healthy…that I so easily translate into my relationship with Him…and I just relax. I think He loves it when I am just a human being. A wife. A mom. A lover of buffalo chicken, orange, the sound of leaves rustling and a good back scratching. I think He cheers me on when I enjoy a really good cup of coffee across the table from a friend and we talk, with no agenda other than connecting. I suspect He smiles when I put my Bible down and snuggle on the couch with one of my babies, after eating a lot of popcorn, and laughing at Phineas and Ferb. I think He’s a fan of my man and I holding hands, of our family eating slow, and us going to the pool on a warm summer day to play. I bet, as much as I enjoy a walk through a beautiful place in nature or a European city, He enjoys watching me enjoying it more. Because in these simple and very human things, in my senses, relationships and experiences…I discover these beautiful previously unknown facets of Him and His character, that are not available to me through just Bible study, just organized worship and just a nose-t0-the-grindstone discipline.
It makes me sad to realize I have spent much of my life hiding from Him behind His stuff and blessings and disciplines…thinking that denying how I was made was pleasing to Him.
My humanity is not something I must run from in order to obey Him, but something I can run into in order to find Him.
God wants me to love life here on earth. Because He wants Himself for me. Nothing less.